Visit a Volunteer: Beeston Springs, Westmoreland

IMG_1849 Last weekend, Whitney and I traveled to Patrick's site in Beeston Springs to lend our hands for a few days. Beeston Springs is a small community located in southeastern Westmoreland. The community has footpaths carved through the bush that create shortcuts from the main road, a friendly and relaxed atmosphere of the community members, and a sense of peace and quiet. An occasional swim in the ocean is two short taxis away, but transportation can be slow-moving/hard to catch without prior planning.

Patrick’s host dad was a favorite character of mine. Hard-ass jokester on the outside, but warm and giving host on the inside, he made sure we were well fed and slept comfortably after our workdays. He even turned on the hot water, which was a heavenly surprise. Whitney and I are looking forward to having him come visit our area so we can return the same hospitality, or attempt to on our Peace Corps budget.

Patrick has many projects going on, but his main focus is helping out the Beeston Springs farmers. He assists in maintaining a nursery, that is already looking spunky underneath a shade cloth greenhouse. We helped weed out vegetable rows, seedlings, and did a general cleanup of the plot.

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On our walk home from the nursery to Patrick’s house, a farmer shared red bananas with us, and then we came upon his berry tree. They called it ribena, but I am having trouble finding any information on this blackcurrant like berry-producing tree! Does anyone know anything about this plant? After trying it, I know it would make a terrific wine.

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During our stay, we also stopped by a Harvest (church) event for some table cane, performed karaoke by the ocean, and had some good ol’ jerk chicken. This "working vacation" was a great time and it is always a pleasure to help a friend out, meet new people, and experience different parts of the island.