Sunday, April 21
Day 2 featured an eye-opening trip to Riverton City, a trash dump town just West of Kingston. As soon as we got there, the children embraced us with open arms. Of course, they were already familiar with the game thanks to Joe, Harry and Kevin’s previous efforts in the community, but that didn’t stop them from showing extreme excitement for another opportunity to play.
As soon as we arrived, the kids took Chuck and I on a tour of the town which eventually led to a stop at a bridge that connects the town to the actual trash dump. Beneath the bridge, was a free flowing creek, providing the perfect jump off point for the kids to show off their stuff. I collected some video of the kids doing cannon balls and horsing around in the water, which I’ll share at a later time.
Afterwards, we headed back to the St. Patrick’s Foundation facility, where we attended a local church service featuring a guest pastor from Nigeria. Surprisingly to me, the locals quickly accepted our attendance at church, encouraging us to introduce ourselves, sing along, and interact fully throughout the service. The pastor’s sermon was incredibly powerful – he was so loud, animated, passionate that it was hard to notice the long length of his speech. Meanwhile the music at the service was unlike anything you’d ever hear at the churches most of us normally attend. Featuring an electric keyboard, lots of repetition, and constant interaction with those around us, it was a fun experience – certainly something I’ll never forget.
Following the church service, we headed to the storage unit (a large rail storage container) and started loading equipment into the van. From there we headed to the field, a nice empty space surrounded by local homes and a street where community members drove by and noticed the game regularly. Just as we arrived to the field and the guys started distributing equipment, a heavy rain began to fall. I waited the rain out under the cover of our van’s rear overhead door, which gave me time to get to know our drivers, TK and Kirk (two local Kingston guys).
As the rain slowed, a little girl named Nikoli I had met in church showed up to check out what we were doing. We didn’t have any girls sticks this time around, but that didn’t stop her from trying on equipment and asking me to teach her how to pass and catch. She’s a netball player, and from what I’ve learned so far this week, girls who play netball are incredibly athletic. Nikoli loved the game so much that she requested to join us at the event Fields of Growth is throwing on Saturday… We’ll be bussing the boys from Riverton to S-Corner, a field located a few miles East in the community of Oaklands, at which time kids from both communities will get to come together and scrimmage against each other for the first time ever.
After our time in Riverton, we packed up and headed to Oaklands for another session of coaching and introducing the game to new children in the community. Following that, we drove in to downtown Jamaica for patties, a Jamaican specialty similar to a calzone in looks, but much, much different… If I could eat a patty every day for the rest of my life, I’d be more than okay with that. After that, we headed back to Jamnesia, where we’re staying, to shower up, hit the ocean, and relax the rest of the evening.
Above you’ll see photos from both Riverton City and Oaklands, and I’ll have a ton of cool video content to share once I return to the Unitied States. We spent 4-6 hours at each location, so you can image how embedded we were able to get in each community. I look forward to seeing all the kids I met again on Saturday, and I’m hoping to snag some interviews with a few so I can show you how much our sport is truly catching on here in Jamaica.