June 19th, picking marigolds, river pool, Latoya’s last day

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Yesterday was Latoya’s last day here. The night before we picked up a new intern, Kayla, so I will still have some one to room and roam around with. After a breakfast of plantains and sauteed greens a few of us went to pick marigolds to distill into essential oil. Joshua, Kayla and I walked down the road and into a big meadow on the side of a hill that overlooks the ocean. Picking 2 buckets of marigolds takes about a million years, especially with only three people.

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Joshua taking a break

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When we got home (with one bucket) we went down to the sea to revive. Kayla and I watched hermit crabs switching out their shells. She is a zoology major and is fascinated by all the creatures here. It’s fun being around someone who notices things I miss. We had lunch and Agape gave us a brief lesson on patois, the language of Jamaica. Agape described patois as “Old English, Spanish and West African languages all got simplified”. She also said that it has an African grammar structure with English vocabulary. Then the boys took us out to the river pool.

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This idyllic scene was soon interrupted by 5 boys jumping into it

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When we got home Kayla, the older boys and I helped Kwao lay cement for the new house they are building at the bottom of the hill. We had to fill in the cracks for the stone patio he is building. I felt like I could become someone very handy. Walking into the kitchen for dinner we found it filled with all the children in the village getting their faces painted. Claudia, a new Swiss tourist staying here, is a face painter. After dinner everyone else distilled marigolds while I escaped to my room to read and be alone. It’s strange and unusual for me to be around this many people, this much of the time. A test of my introvert boundaries and needs. I am surprised by how much I don’t mind it, aside from the boys screaming at each other which is awful and makes me even less sentimental about having children. Being with others doesn’t make me long to be alone as much as to be with the people I already love. I want to go home and tell all my friends I love them, that they are the essential part of my feeling at home where I am.

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