Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Bauxite never had meaning to me before this!

We live in the parish of Manchester. Renee is an honor student at a school in the Manchester parish that was organized 40 years ago to fill the academic and social needs of expatriot children. These expatriots were brought to Jamaica to work in the bauxite mining production, the greatest export that Jamaica has. Third largest producer following Australia and Guinea.

Up till now, the bauxite mining industry was a significant source of employment. In 1956, the year I was born, the nation's take from bauxite went from US 2.2 million to US 11.7 million 2 years later. Imagine what the nations take was in most recent years. The 1950's figures are small potatoes compared to the nineties. I read in one article that right here in Mandeville there is US 300 million dollars worth of bauxite.

Aluminium is made from bauxite. The photo above is the field right here where we live. It has become increasingly quiet. Some of my friends husbands have been employed with Windalco. The company has 2 plants and the one pictured above is here in Manchester. They have now closed the plant due to declining global demand for aluminium. Chemists and engineers have now returned to their native countries.

It is always fascinating to me to follow the trucks that you know came from the field because although they may have been painted white, the only visible color is red. Bauxite red! Come to think of it, I haven't seen any of those trucks lately.

Another interesting fact about the bauxite field is that the dirt remaining has no value.In the process of extracting the bauxite, all vital nutrients are stripped as well and the dirt is absolutely worthless.

Now that the mining has stopped and foreigners have returned home, I wonder what will happen to these fields. In 50 years will Jamaicans look at photos and say, I remember when this development was just a red field. Look at what it is now!

Which brings me to my pondering, what will happen to Belair? The school initially began as an international school and eventually was governed by the Jamaicans. Today it is basically a Jamaican private school with a few whities interspersed like Renee! I sure hope just because the demand for aluminium has decreased that Belair won't go into decline because of the economic crisis.

Renee has had an incredible year in Belair. I am so grateful that we live in Manchester parish so that she can be an alumni of a great school.Funny the things that had no meaning even a year ago, today have tons of meaning and ramifications. So goes life!

Friday, June 5, 2009

One smart teenager!

My Renee turned 13 this week and just when her birthday came, a wisdom tooth broke through. Timing is everything isn't it!! It was kind of bizarre when she asked me what was going on in her mouth. She knew she was getting a tooth but was quite surprised when I said it was a wisdom tooth! What do you know, my teenager is one smart cookie!

Tonight we celebrated 3 June birthdays! Patrick and Nicholas are 2 of our wonderful students in the college. They are staying at the college for the summer so we brought them to the house for a fun birthday party! Renee's birthday was Wednesday, June 3, Nicholas's is today, June 5 and Patrick's is June 25.

Patrick is from Haiti. Playing Wii is a great way to learn English! Renee has had one year of French, it always neat to hear her communicate to Patrick.

Renee has had a great year in 7th grade. Just think, learning 3 languages at one time! She has French and Spanish in school and then she is learning Patois from her friends, the heart language here in Jamaica. Did I mention she is one smart cookie. Funny what a new tooth can do!!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

A month of Blessing!

Sometimes in ministry and in life, God lets you experience a season of rejoicing. The month of May was that for me. A wonderful CBC student came on May 2 for one month to experience missions firsthand. Sara attended our college classes, attended Renee's classes even her after school art sessions, Renee's violin lessons, AGBC graduation, field fellowship gatherings, and lots more. Sara is a Deaf Ministries major so we connected her to the deaf village ministries here in Jamaica and she was able to participate there quite often. She went to both of the A/G childrens home here on the island. She ran her little legs off with our crazy schedule. We were in different churches each Sunday and in the middle of all that Ryan came for 10 days and he too ministered in the church with his violin. It was so cool to have 2 college kids in the house! GO VFCC and CBC! Ryan attended 1 semester at CBC so we do have some loyalty there!

Today our wonderful month came to a close and the house seems so empty with just the 3 of us together again! Sometimes normal is not the normal you really want! We left for the airport at 6 this morning for Sara's flight. Since we were there so early we took advantage of the beach. Since we had to pull Renee from school for the 2 hour drive (one way) we decided to make it really worth it! Tonight we are crispy critters! But happy crispy critters! Lots of snorkeling and shell finding! That never grows old!

To everyone who made Sara and Ryan's time here so special, I thank you! A moment invested into the lives of students who are completely dedicated to entering full time ministry always has rewards and you my Jamaican friends made it a great month!