So this time I want to give y'all some details on what camp life is like for me as Nel's assistant and what I get to do besides interacting with the campers. It's really fun but I'm kept very busy.
I start my days pretty early, sometimes leaving to pick up the cooks at 6:00 so (believe it or not) Im up and awake before then. As soon as the cooks arrive I join them in the kitchen to assist with meal prep for the day, or if Nel picks them up I go down and start getting ready before they arrive!
Now this may seam un-glamorous, but anyone who knows about my past experiences in Jamaica knows that Mrs. Barbara, the main cook is top notch and my kitchen idol!
Spending time working under Mrs Barbara is possibly one of the best things of being here. She is wise and just a blessing to be around. Being in her kitchen is always a Mary moment because its constant absorption and building up! I've learned many new things to make and ways of doing things to take home from her in these short weeks, and it is so valuable in every sense of the word!!!
My favorite things to do in the kitchen are make all of the traditional Jamaican meals like dumplings and fritters and calaloo with salt fish, stewpeas with turkey neck, and all f the fresh fruits and veggies we use! Mrs Barbara even grows her own pumpkins here at camp and she is so proud of them! Lots of vegetables are common at home like sweet potatoes, tomatoes, yams and carrots, but some are native to Jamaica like cho cho, a sticky, green thing that leaves a glue over your hands that you spend the rest of the afternoon peeling off.
My least favorite thing in the kitchen is peeling papayas at breakfast. Not only does it taste horrible, in my opinion but it smells absolutely awful! Basically it smells rotten and I can't see how they eat it and love it so much.. As for fruits I love the mangos and oranges, which aren't actually orange on the outside here. Also bananas and plantains are so plentiful here. We have many banana trees at the campsite.
I also do a lot of driving for Nel, going into town to the supermarket or wholesale, hardware store or the market to pick up this and that. Driving on the wrong (left) side of the road and car isn't so bad and I'm used to it. The worst thing is I'm just slow compared to everyone else and they're always passing me (overtaking as they say here) and the road to camp is horrible so it takes about 10-15 minutes to travel the 2.5 miles up from the main road.
Sometimes I'll go to Salem or Priory or St. Ann's Bay or Ocho Rios to pick up this or that and I am amazingly so comfortable remembering where to go and how to do what I need to. I don't feel one bit foreign. Today I picked up a staff member from the bus stop in Ochie and not only did he say I fit in perfectly as a Jamaican driver, apparently I'm a natural, but he also said I don't even drive like a woman! This is said to be a sincerely high complement!!!!
One thing about driving that I don't get though, is that nobody takes one-way streets seriously. Even Aunty Nel, occasionally defies the warning if it looks all clear. I guess its just another way of life on the island!
That's all for now!! Love and miss you all!!!
In Grace's Amazing Hands,