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highlights from home leave October 9, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — sarahcmarshall10 @ 11:26 am

Sorry if I forget anybody.  Its hard to remember an entire month.  Below are just some of the things I’ve done in the last 26 days. In no particular order. I:Sold my laptop and bought a tablet.

Ate chili.

Mama's homemade chili...yum!!!

Mama’s homemade chili…yum!!!

Went roller skating.

Kissed on these babies.

Finleigh Ann...2 days after birth.

Finleigh Ann…2 days after birth.

Beth and her three babies..yes, we are at Target.  Ben, Abby and Claire.  Can you believe she had twins 5 weeks ago?  And yes, she had them, like pushed them out.

Beth and her three babies…yes, we are at Target. Ben, Abby and Claire. Can you believe she had twins 5 weeks ago? And yes, she had them, like pushed them out.

Playing with Amelia.  What a fun little girl.

Playing with Amelia. What a fun little girl.



Bought shoes. And clothes. And bags. And jewelry. And makeup. Etc.

Got clothes, shoes, bags, jewelry, and makeup from my amazing friends and family. Free is for me…yay!

Baked birthday cakes.

Two birthday cakes for my bestie!

Two birthday cakes for my bestie!

Dad's German chocolate birthday cake!

Dad’s German chocolate birthday cake!


Watched lots of pointless television.

Became addicted to pinterest, making this earring holder.

DIY project! getting organized.

DIY project! getting organized.

Took a day trip with dad.

Watched a man play a box at Hoedown in the Holler.

It was a family affair....seriously,  saw a lot of cousins.

It was a family affair….seriously, saw a lot of cousins.

Gained a few extra pounds.

Drank coffee with friends.

Instant at Deena's.  Its not a kuerig but its still tasty.

Instant at Deena’s. Its not a kuerig but its still tasty.

Played with mom’s dog.

Minnie has drove me insane.

Minnie has drove me insane.

Played rook with friends.

Found Ferg an awesome lamp for her yellow and gray room.

goodwill shopping!

goodwill shopping!

Drank a blue drink.

see blue. drink blue. Go CATS!!!

see blue. drink blue. Go CATS!!

Missed Jamaica.

Saw lots of family ad friends who made my visit happy and fun-filled.  I am blessed.  Thanks for loving me!!!


six months later…

Filed under: Uncategorized — sarahcmarshall10 @ 10:05 am

I know it’s been too long between posts.  Fairly certain this time lapse is a record.  Hush, as Jamaicans would say when they want to give condolences.

I didn’t realize how badly my blog had been missed until I came home on this mandatory vacation.  So I am vowing right now to try and post at least once a month over the course of the next year.

By now, those of you who know me personally, know that I have made the decision to extend my Peace Corps service for another year.  For those who only follow me electronically, I’ll explain.  I am still a Peace Corps Volunteer….that means I am still technically working for free.  Let me explain the new job.

Per my request, Peace Corps partnered with an organization called ACDI/VOCA, to offer me a third year extension.  I work as a volunteer project assistant for ACDI/VOCA on a project funded by the United States Agency for International Development, US AID.  The project is called JA REEACH (Jamaica Rural Economy and Ecosystems Adapting to Climate Change) and it has many components but the overall goal is to educate Jamaicans about climate change and encourage mitigation and adaptation practices.  My primary work within the project is on a program called CCAT, Climate Change Action Training.  It targets one of the most vulnerable populations on the island, youth ages 14-28, encouraging them to implement action projects in their home communities after their group completes the 16 module, 32 hour training.

In one of my first experiences with the organization, I was sent to Browns Town, St. Ann where the 4-H Parish Manager and a good friend of mine, Tedroy, and I facilitated a 7 day summer camp to a 4-H Youth Club.  We had a great time keeping the learning fun and the vybes enjoyable.  Our hard work paid off when the data showed that there had been an 84% increase in knowledge as a result of our camp, the highest rate of improvement thus far.  I was so proud. 

With my new assignment comes a move.  I packed up what few belongings I own and left Somerset on September 1.  New home:  Kingston, JA, uptown I might add. I’m almost neighbors with the U.S. Ambassador but I don’t think she’ll be inviting me over for dinner parties or anything.  Ha.  I just love my new place.  I have a very nice landlord who furnished my apartment, and neighbors who have taken me under their wings. I feel incredibly comfortable and SAFE so do not worry too much about me. 

I began work on September 2, that was Labor Day for you American employees but ACDI/VOCA no longer gets American holidays so I reported for duty at 8 am, right after my amazing program manager, Dan, took me for breakfast at Café Blue.  Yum….best coffee ever!  I didn’t stop working until I left Jamaica two weeks later for my 30 day mandatory leave, what PC considers a gift to those of us extending, but what I refer to the longest month on earth.  Don’t get me wrong people, I love my country, I love my family and friends, and I love food.  But there’s only so much baby kissing, shopping, visiting and eating that a person can do until they’re bored and ready to get back to their own life.  I am not taking this time for granted.  I have enjoyed every minute, however, after 3.5 weeks, I am ready to get back on the rock and hit the ground running at work, excited for my adjustment to living in “town” and all the people I care about there, not to mention all the new ones I’m going to meet this upcoming year.  YAY!

So that’s it for an update, for now. I promise to write again soon. 

Another thought:  I have been wondering if my blog is fulfilling its original purpose, questioning if it really had a purpose to begin with.  I feel like I’m supposed to do a better job of describing the many plights facing Jamaicans and all the cultural differences.  I think one of my duties is to reflect on the things people say to me and my responses, my experiences, both positive and negative, but sometimes I just want to talk about a party or a beach trip or my life.  My life isn’t solving all Jamaica’s problems or doing anthropological studies on her people.  My life is about living and that’s what my blog has been about.  It’s more of a dairy of events but if my readers would like more personal reflections and opinions, rather than my anecdotes and stories, please let me know.  Without feedback, I can’t improve. 

As always, thanks for reading.  Take care!


the last couple of months…. April 4, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — sarahcmarshall10 @ 3:30 pm

Apologies!!  I know it’s a been a couple of months and for that I am sorry.  It has been very busy lately and I haven’t had the time or patience to update you faithful followers.  Because of my carelessness with my blogging, I have attempted to keep you updated through facebook.  You can check my photo albums for new photos. This post will be long and will serve only as an update on daily activities, not reflection on Peace Corps service, although I have so much reflecting to do, I just don’t have the energy to type it all out in a way that makes sense.  So here’s the news:

I visited Westphalia in early February.  Remember that was Liz’s site.  We had car trouble the entire weekend.  My friends Fitzroy and Chris came to get me and we spent the entire night traveling through the bush stopping by parties.  I slept all day Saturday and we missed the party that night due to the car trouble.  See me here with my friends, stuck in a hole.

Car trouble in Westphalia.

Car trouble in Westphalia.

For Valentine’s Day the Youth Club in Somerset had a party as a fundraiser.  The theme was red and white so see me below, all dressed up.

This outfit won me a best dressed contest at the Valentine's Dance!

This outfit won me a best dressed contest at the Valentine’s Dance!

I got word on March 2 that my Mamaw Pickle, my dad’s mom passed away.  She had been under Hospice of Hope care so it was very expected.  I flew out of the country on Tuesday, March 5, Ty’s birthday, and landing in Nashville.  I didn’t even have my passport to travel because I was already in Kingston on business.  I called my neighbor and begged him to go to my house and get my passport and a sweatshirt and send them on the early morning bus.  I am sooo thankful that I have so many great friends who take care of me and look out for me in this country.

When I arrived in Nashville, Shel and Bradley picked me up.  It was 11:00 pm and snowing.  I had on a dress and slippers.  Brrrrrr.  The next day, I chopped off all my hair and forwarded to Flemingsburg where no one recognized me due to the haircut.  I spent the week doing the family thing.  It was especially good to see everyone even though it was under bad circumstances.

And I got to fly back to the rock with all thew trainees in Group 83.  Two of the new environment volunteers are fellow Kentuckians.  The world is so small….can you believe one of them was a freshman in the UK College of Ag when I was a senior?  The next one went to Louisville but I’ll forgive her of it.

With my brother, showing off my new hairstyle.

With my brother, showing off my new hairstyle.

SNOW!!!  It was so cold in farrin.

SNOW!!! It was so cold in farrin.

Since reaching back, its been lots of work.  We’ve been building the final check dam of the reforestation project and working up the hill, creating the fire boundary that will hopefully protect the trees planted for soil erosion prevention.

Vernal showing me the fire boundary.

Vernal showing me the fire boundary.

Claearing land for the fire boundary on the hillside.  Notice the smoke in the background as the other hill was blazing.

Claearing land for the fire boundary on the hillside. Notice the smoke in the background as the other hill was blazing.

Posing on the hill....see Somerset below me there.

Posing on the hill….see Somerset below me there.

Picture 006

Posing! This is obviously not work. See work in the picture below!

Working hard at the check dam!

Working hard at the check dam!

I’ve been helping the 4-H club at the Robert Lightbourne High School prepare for competitions.  This year’s produce product for value added products is breadfruit so we’ve been baking and creating all kinds of products using breadfruit.  In addition, the meat for the meal preparation contest is rabbit so the other Wednesday we practiced making a rabbit meal.  It was delicious.  I am most excited about helping my favorite 4-Her win the Boy of the Year Award.  Wish us luck!

My favourite schooler, Rushine, with his rabbit dish.

My favourite schooler, Rushine, with his rabbit dish.

St. Thomas Carnival was March 23. Doug,the new response volunteer, here in JA for a short term 8 months working with the St. Thomas Football Association, went with me and we danced the night away.  When going to Carnival one must wear short shorts and sneakers.  I will say that it is much easier to dance in shoes versus my normal slippers.

Ready to go out to CARNIVAL in Morant Bay!

Ready to go out to CARNIVAL in Morant Bay!

After Carnival, I left the next afternoon to go to Kingston with members of the Somerset Youth Club to the Youth Empowerment Awards.  This event was at Emancipation Park and was really neat because we were able to see young people be awarded for their excellence in different categories and there was lots of performances by Jamaican bands and singers.

Concert time at Emancipation Park.

Concert time at Emancipation Park.

Nady and Suzie enjoying the Youth Empowerment Awards

Nady and Suzie enjoying the Youth Empowerment Awards

I was in Kingston last week Monday and Tuesday to attend Pre-service Training for the new group.  I participated in a panel about volunteer life in Jamaica.  All the volunteers seem cool and its so sweet the way they are so excited and ready to learn everything.  I’ll actually have the opportunity to host one this coming Monday-Wednesday just like I did for Adri and Jackie last year this same time.

The Easter Holidcay was fun.  The Wednesday before Easter I spent the day baking Easter Buns with the JAS farmer’s group women.  This serves as a fundraiser for the JAS group and is an annual event.

The ladies of JAS baking buns

The ladies of JAS baking buns

Easter Buns!!!

Easter Buns!!!

This last Friday my girlfriends and I went to the Heels On party at the club.  I know how much you all love party photos so here we are all dressed up and ready to go.  I got those heels on sale in America for $13.  Yay!

Ready for the Heels On Party!!

Ready for the Heels On Party!!

I spent Easter Sunday at church praising the Lord and Monday I went to a play in Kingston with the Basic School.  Trip included Devon House ice cream and a stop by KFC for fried chicken.  That’s a big deal for us country bumpkins.

I told you I’ve been busy lately.  Apologies for not keeping you all up to date and for not calling if I haven’t called you in a while.  Its important for you to know that I am very happy and healthy and loving my life.  Until next time….and remember, patience is a vitue!



Me a Enjoy Myself! January 10, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — sarahcmarshall10 @ 11:14 am

I’m Alive!  You guys saw the guest post from Kacie and Lacey’s trip to JamRock, and know that we had a blasty blast!  I’m sorry it seems as if I have dropped from the face of the earth but I am here, in the bush, living it up.  Jamaica, no problem, right?

So, some updates:

-We finally got the new computers for the community centre.  We don’t have internet yet, but soon, and that’s good news for me since I need to start a jog search.

The new computers and desks!  YAY!

The new computers and desks! YAY!

-Sharlon and I left, as they say in JA, meaning we broke up. Relationships are complicated, nuff said.  So, right now I’m happily living single life, I only wish the boys in my community would stop telling me about how I must be lonely and in search of a good buddy, as the penis is often called.  I’m not taking them up on the offer, however, I live in a small town, and as any small town goes, people love to chat and gossip so I’ve heard all kinds of cRaZy rumors about myself.  Oh well, I’m stronger than people think and I’m a gwan and hold my head up high.

-Jackie Marshall, my non-cousin from Idaho, and I rode our bicycles to Mount Charles (approx. 10 miles, mostly hills) to check my friend whom I met through Liz, Den Den, for her baby’s christening.  That was fun!

Picture 019

Jackie, Den Den and I in Mount Charles!

-Val and I spent a day with my friend Chris and Allison, from OK State, in Ochi in December.  They were on a cruise ship and docked for a day so we took them shopping and introduced them to some fine Jamaican cuisine.  We came back through town and crashed the basic school trip to Devon House and Hope Gardens.  Fun Times!

-PC bought me a new pair of glasses cause I lost mine bathing in the river one night.

-I partied my way through the holidays.  Lots of dancing and dressing up.  One night I fell in a gully, but the injuries weren’t significant!

Shanna and me!

Shanna and me!

Kadian, Yanique and me, before St. Thomas Link Up, a big Beach Party!

Kadian, Yanique and me, before St. Thomas Link Up, a big Beach Party!


-I brought in the NEW YEAR in my BED!  And spend the first day of 2013 cleaning my house.

More pictures of all these adventures can be found on facebook.

As always, thank for keeping up!  I’ll try better to keep you updated!  Likkle more!


A Long Weekend of Adventures with Friends from Foreign.! December 20, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — sarahcmarshall10 @ 7:07 pm
Sarah, Me, & Kacie

Sarah, Me, & Kacie

My name is Lacey Vedral, and I met Sarah while she attended graduate school at Oklahoma State University. Myself and another friend, Kacie George, whom each of us also met at OSU decided to go down to visit Sarah in Jamaica for Thanksgiving. Since Kacie and I both work in different states, we decided since we finally have money of our own and Thanksgiving off we would meet in Miami and head south!! I would now like to share a few stories from the trip as a “guest blogger.”

Wednesday- Kacie and I arrived at Kingston’s airport around 9:30pm. As we got to the customs line, we did not have an address for where we were staying with Sarah, all we knew was a town. The customs officers kicked us out of line and said call your friend and get an address or you can’t come in. We called Sarah and were told she doesn’t have an address, it’s just a town and a parish, so we went back to the officers, told them our findings, and they finally let us in. *I think they were just testing to see if we knew where we were going at all.* We were finally in Jamaica, and reunited with Sarah after about 1 ½ years, we were so excited. We then got in the car and drove about 2 ½ hours back to Somerset, Sarah’s town. Once here we sat and chatted, catching up on all the latest news with each of us, and before we knew it, it was 2 o’clock am and we decided to hit the beds.

Thursday- Today was beach day. We got up early, rented a car, and took off for adventure. We decided our first stop would be a lighthouse at Holland Bay, the most eastern point of the island. Well after about an hour and a half travelling through the sugar cane mazes, we found it! It was beautiful to see the old lighthouse on the coast. Next we decided we would travel north on towards Portland along the coastal highway, and stop along the way in Boston and grab some jerk chicken (Awesome), pork (Even more AWESOME), carnival (Delicious), and bag juice (Like Kool-Aid in a bag, wonderful). We then had a few miles left before Portland when we were suddenly stopped by an officer. We ended up getting a ticket for a “bald tire.” The officer had to find some reason to ticket us since he found no weed on three white American girls, but he definitely questioned us enough about having some. After getting aggravated with the cop, we decided to finish the rest of the way to Portland., and we stopped at the Port Antonio marina to eat our lunch, and grab a quick ice-cream. We then headed to the beach where we laid out and had a few beers. Once we were done waiting on the sun to stay out from behind the clouds, we headed back towards the house. Along the way, we stopped by and met another peace core volunteer, Jackie. After a short chat we headed back to Somerset where our rent car’s wheel was making a loud noise, and we got to experience our first set of COLD showers (you definitely got your business done quickly). Later this evening we sat around and talked to Sarah’s neighbor for a few hours before hitting the sack.

Friday- Sarah had a friend, Ryan, stop in to take a look at the wheel, seemed to be a loose lug-nut which we got sorted out just fine. We then decided we would walk up to the river and take advantage of the sun…so we laid in the sun and river for a few hours, and it was perfect serenity. We then walked down the road to another friend’s house where Kacie and I watched as Sarah and a few others got things ready for food items at the farmer’s fair, which was taking place on Saturday. Here the ladies were cooking rice, cracking, peeling, and grating coconuts, cutting goat, etc. We then decided it was time to head back to the house as we each needed to shower and get ready for a night at the club. We finished getting ready and took off for a house party along with Sarah’s friends Rasta and Kaneil, which was a totally different experience, but so much fun. We then went to the club, where we had a total blast dancing and such till 5:15 a.m. luckily some guys were nice enough to give us a lift back to Sarah’s in their car. We got home and still sat outside and talked till 6:15 or so…yes, the sun was on its way up! Bed sounded amazing by this time.

Saturday- We didn’t wake up as late as you would expect, about 10:30a.m….we got showered dressed and ready for the farmer’s fair. We walked down to the fair where we watched most of the local boys playing soccer, ate some fabulous fresh food, bought multiple treats and goodies made by the women from the night before, took lots of pictures, and met and talked to even more GREAT people. We also stopped over at Rasta’s house where Kacie and I both got a bowl of soup that had breadfruit, and chicken foot….yes CHICKEN FOOT! It was quite interesting… Kacie couldn’t do the texture and immediately spit it out; me on the other hand ate it slowly, made some awkward faces, and managed to keep it all in. It was fun to try, and like they say you can’t say you hate it unless you try it. Later that evening we decided to go take naps before another night on the town. The naps were fabulous! We got up and started getting ready when Kacie decided she was too tired and sore to go out tonight, but she didn’t want to keep us from going, so Sarah and I got ready met up with Stacy and walked down to the crossroads. Here we enjoyed some drinks and LOUD music. It was fun, but not nearly as exciting as the night before in the club! On the way home, I said most of my good-byes since I wouldn’t see most of them on Sunday. We got home and climbed in the bed.

Sunday- We got up, Kacie and I showered and packed our things, but didn’t want to leave! We then headed to the airport, and said our good-byes to Sarah. It was sad to go, but we had an absolute blast, and well needless to say are planning a return trip before Sarah hits the States!!!

Once again, I would like to say THANK YOU to Sarah for allowing us to come visit and showing us such an exciting and memorable time!! J Thanks again for allowing me to share my story on your blog, I hope each of you enjoy!!


Mosquitoes and Hurricanes! October 23, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — sarahcmarshall10 @ 5:44 pm

Ugh!  Damn mosquitos!  They gave me dengue fever;  That’s right folks, I spent 7 days in Kingston, 5 of which I was in the hospital for, and now I’m frightened anytime I have the slightest itch;  And the next time someone says that I’m not as legit as a volunteer serving in Africa, because I have as many health risks or whatever, I plan on telling them to shove it, because dengue is legit;  It’s very dangerous and it sucks your will to live;

Let me tell you about the hell that is dengue fever!  An infected mosquito bites you and then you feel like you are dying;  The effect isn’t immediate;  On the contrary, it takes about a week for the symptoms of dengue fever to hit; So I must’ve gotten bitten the moment I stepped off the plane from America;

They call it broke bone virus, because your body aches so bad;  I ran a fever of 104 degrees; I vomited everything I ate for an entire week;  It hit me all of a sudden on  Tuesday, October 9;  It started with a headache and then the fever came;  I came to Kingston on Wednesday for a doctor’s appointment;  They did bloodwork and determined that it was dengue;  I spent two days in a hotel, sweating out a fever and praying for it to end;  On Friday, I was still sick and severely dehydrated;  PC checked me into a hospital and they didn’t let me out until Wednesday;  By that point in time, I was better;  I had stopped vomiting, the fever was finished, my body had stopped hurting, and for three days I was ready to leave and get back to Somerset;  the doctor recommended that I stay in Kingston but I just couldn’t deal with it so PC took me home;

I stayed in doors until Saturday;  I was just so tired but I’ve been on the mend and everyone has been super supportive, taking good care of me, especially Sharlon;

So all was well, until yesterday, when PC called and told me I was being consolidated in Kingston for Hurricane Sandy;  So, this morning, I hopped on a bus and came back to town;  I wasn’t even home for a full week and heaven forbid I get to stay in Somerset and do work, or heck, just live my life;  I guess I shouldn’t complain because the US government is just taking care of me but I’m so tired of being away from site, away from my friends and Sharlon, and the work I’m supposed to be doing;  Even worse, this hotel doesn’t have a mosquito net and I’ve already killed two giant ones in the short three hours that I’ve been here;  You can get dengue up to 4 times because of the different types;  Fingers crossed I don’t catch dengue again;  And so, I’m here for the week, with nothing but rain and boredom;  Atleast this time I’m not sick, and I have to admit that I saved a lot of money last month due to the small amount of time I’ve spent taking care of myself;

As always, keep ya posted;



mi de yah October 1, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — sarahcmarshall10 @ 11:33 am

Mi de yah….I’m here!  Back on the rock.  And since I arrived on Friday, it has been raining almost non-stop.  Oh, the joys of island life.  I haven’t had running water since my arrival, so glad now that I filled all my water drums before departing.  It’s amazing to think that on Thursday I was showering with hot, unlimited water, and yesterday I bathed and washed my hair in the river.

And if that isn’t bad enough, last night a huge storm ravaged the country and I have lost current.  No idea when it will come back as I discovered this morning that a branch from a large cotton wood tree dropped and broke the power line in two.  Let’s hope JPS gets on that quickly, because my phone is on its last leg of battery.

Oh, the joys!  But, I wouldn’t trade it.  I’m feeling refreshed, rejuvenated, and ready to face the next year, bright eyed and bushy tailed, as my friend Deena would say.  I’m in Morant Bay at an internet cafe (they have electricity still) about to go grocery shopping because I have no food a yard, and really, what’s worse than no water, no light, and no food.  At least I have control over one of those things.

As always, I’ll keep ya posted.  It’s good to be back!  Loves!!!



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