Why volunteer overseas in Jamaica?
Frequently Asked Questions
November 8 - 15, 2008
There is a need for passionate and motivated volunteers in countries all over the world. Not only do overseas volunteers have the chance to interact with other culture''''s and people, and exchange and share ideas, but also get to contribute something meaningful to the world. Each pair of hands is creating a positive change one step at a time. With Karma Yoga and the path of selfless service, extending compassion and removing the borders that divide self from others is a life-changing experience for everyone involved. Giving of oneself is a path toward greater social engagement and leads to more connected and enriched global communities.
Many programs charge fees for international volunteering. For our Karma Yoga Journeys trip to Jamaica, the package includes all accommodations, vegetarian meals, twice daily yoga & meditation classes, several excursions to cultural, historical and fun destinations, as well as all local transportation.
What kind of excursions will we be going on?
Monday - A trip to Harmony Hall Art Gallery (http://www.harmonyhall.com/index.htm) and Reggae Beach where you can rent snorkeling equipment, lounge chairs and umbrellas.
Tuesday- A trip to Mt. Plenty, a neighboring estate and artist residence (http://www.jnht.com/heritage_site.php?id=119) where we will enjoy a property tour, cool river bath and afternoon tea
Wednesday- A trip to Island Village, Ocho Rios (http://www.islandjamaica.com/) for shoppings and beach time
Thursday - Walkerswood Factory tour (http://www.walkerswood.com/ww_village.htm) and Coyaba Gardens (http://www.coyabagardens.com/about.htm)
The factory makes local sauces and jerk seasoning for export. They use local produce grown in the community. The gardens are stunning with natural waterfall pools where you can soak and relax
Friday - A night out on the town! Dinner and dancing - note transportation is included dinner, drinks, etc. is not
How do I get there?
For our Jamaica program you should fly into the Montego Bay International Airport. A program representative will meet you at the airport and take you to Bromley. It is approximately a 2 hour drive. For more information regarding this extra service please inquire with us.
What about visa requirements for entering Jamaica?
Passports are required for all of our program sites. Most, if not all, international airports will not allow you to leave your originating country with out a passport. You will also need to have proof of a return flight. Please verify that your passport is not only current but will not expire for at least six months after your program is scheduled to end. If you do not currently have a passport, please consult with the appropriate agency to obtain your government's requirements for obtaining one. Processing time needed to obtain a passport varies but can take up to two months to receive.
Immigration officials require most visitors to Jamaica to present a valid passport on arrival. All need to show a return ticket and some need to have a visa. United States, Canadian and UK citizens do not require a visa. Other nationals may need apply for tourist visa at a Jamaican High Commission, Jamaican embassy or Consulate.
What is the time difference to the USA?
Standard time zone: GMT -5. The time zone in Jamaica is the same as central time in the US.
How is the weather? What to wear and bring?
The tropical climate and warm temperatures of Jamaica essentially guarantee beautiful weather during your vacation. Average temperatures in Jamaica range between 80 degrees Fahrenheit and 90 degrees Fahrenheit (27 degrees Celsius-2 degrees Celsius). Nevertheless, you should be prepared for cool evenings, especially at the higher altitudes.
The following items are suggested: money belt, camera and film, toiletries and personal hygiene, travel towel, sunscreen, sunglasses, flashlight, day pack, water bottle, watch, journal, hiking/tennis shoes, sandals, pants, jeans, short-sleeve shirts, long-sleeve shirt, swimsuit, light jacket, rain jacket.
What is the standard of the accommodation?
The main house at Bromely offers 3 bedrooms upstairs, each with a private bath, a "Spanish Fort" ground level accommodating up to 8 single beds in 4 separate rooms with 2 shared bathrooms as well as a self contained cottage with a private bedroom and space for up to two single beds in a separate room. Accommodations will be selected on a first come, first serve basis with shared and couple occupancy rates listed as the basic package price and a $500 single occupancy supplement option.
Where is the closest Internet café?
There are several in Ocho Rios - about 15 minutes from Bromely.
Is there laundry service?
Laundry service is available at Bromely
What will the food be like?
You can expect lots of substantial and traditionally prepared vegetarian meals served family style. Meals incorporate the frech local produce available in the area. Breakfasts will include plenty of fresh fruit, eggs, cassava pancakes, and steaming cups of Blue Mountain coffee. Lunches will feature fresh baked breads and a wide variety of salads. Dinners will offer a taste of traditional Jamaica fare including "rice and peas" - a delicious Jamaica dish made with rice, beans and coconut milk
What experience is needed to join?
The program is available for individuals over 18 (unless accompanied by a parent or guardian) from any country with an adventurous spirit and a true desire to help others. In terms of yoga, practitioners of all levels are welcome. The asana class will be taught as a mixed level class. The actual karma yoga can usually be adapted to participant''''s abilities, skills and strengths. We encourage each and every one to share their interests and skills so bring along any musical instrument, games or tools needed to express and share your passion. We strongly suggest you have a genuine will to help and a liking toward children.
As we are very careful not to do more harm than good and to emphasize the need to protect the integrity of these children, we will make sure no participant has previously been registered with inappropriate behavior with children. We are confident you can understand our caution in doing so.
Will I have to be able to speak another language?
No, a background in another language is not necessary for the trip. English is the official language of Jamaica. However, Patois (Creole), a combination of English and some African languages, is spoken in rural areas and is used increasingly in urban areas. Most Jamaicans can speak or understand Patois, but it is not a written language. Jamaican speech, even in English, has a distinctive rhythmic and melodic quality. A project coordinator will be available throughout the volunteering projects and trip excursions as a cultural liaison providing both language translation as well as information on the culture and history of the area.
Who is the yoga teacher and group leader for the trip?
Patricia Perkins will be the group leader for the trip. Patricia first started practicing yoga 15 years ago. She has experience with Hatha,Kundalini, Bikram, Iyengar and Ashtanga.
She has a Masters in Teaching and is also Scuba Instructor and Yoga Instructor. Patricia has resided in the Caribbean since 2001.
What does the itinerary and daily schedule look like?
Am I insured?
Karma Yoga Journeys will pay for basic health insurance and medical emergency evacuation. World Nomad.com (http://www.tropicalescapes.biz/travel_insurance.html) offers cancellation and health trip insurance if your medical policy does not cover it.