The Lydster, Part 95: A Good Heart, for Jamaica

The Moses Baker Basic School in Golden Grove, Jamaica is in one of the poorest communities in a poor country. My mother-in-law writes: “The previous building was a wooden structure which was in bad condition, made even worse each time it was blown apart by hurricanes.” Her church in Oneonta, NY “had been sending teams down each summer [since 2000] to do projects in the community,” first working on getting the health center up to snuff, then repairing the preschool for about 80 kids. “No sooner were the repairs completed each year a storm were blow through more than undoing all of the work. The residents picked up the pieces and put them back on as best they could.

Finally, the church decided to postpone the annual trips to save up some money to build a school strong enough to withstand severe storms, made of “rebar reinforced concrete… The old ‘building’ was torn down as soon as school ended in June, 2011.

“The new construction started immediately in order to be completed in time for school in September 2011.” Info about the construction can be seen here. The Oneonta church pastor and her husband, an RN, went down last month to dedicate the building. The church had “raised about $70,000 for the project and, as the community wanted, built a strong building which could have a second story added at some time in the future if needed. The people were ecstatic, not only for the building but that the [pastor] had come since they have no pastor at present. But there is more to the story.

Donations to the project came from all different sources including a generous, heartfelt gift from [her granddaughter, my daughter] Lydia who had saved several months of her spending money because she felt ‘all children should have a safe school’….” When she and my wife went to a clothing consignment shop to sell some clothes, Lydia was told that the money gleaned from the sale of her clothes could be spent by her. But she opted to donate this money to the Jamaica project as well.

Then, “the sugar company which has a monopoly on selling the area’s sugar had to return [some] money to Jamaica, and the decision-making group heard about this school. The company is giving $65,000 to build a needed retaining wall around the school and to further finish the school construction. In addition, they plan to give about $75,000 to the health center for community needs. Amazing! ”

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