This spring break, a group of students from Cumberland University, along with Winfree Bryant Middle School teacher Jamie Hughes, will be headed to Jamaica for a mission trip.
Hughes, who teaches sixth grade language arts and math, is making her second trip to the island. She got connected with the Cumberland nursing students who will be traveling to Ocho Rios through her mother, who is a teacher in the nursing program.
“I went two years ago,” Hughes said. “We’re leaving first thing Saturday morning and we’ll be back next Friday.”
Hughes will be visiting some classrooms in Ocho Rios and discussing different topics related to health.
“One day will be physical education, one day will be hygiene, talking about proper hand washing,” said Hughes.
Dental health will also be addressed.
“I’m taking some nursing students with me (in the classrooms) to do some activities,” she said.
The trip is actually part of a course the nursing students are taking at Cumberland, said Hughes. The students will be divided into small groups that will go to different areas in Ocho Rios to serve the people there.
“Part of the students are going to go to the bus stations and feed the homeless. They will be doing assessments of health.”
Students at Winfree Bryant are also helping in this mission by collecting items for the nursing students to take with them on the trip.
Hughes said students have been collecting items “that we take advantage of that are luxuries to [the people in Jamaica].”
She mentioned things including sunglasses and even items as simple as flexible straws.
“The kids ask, ‘Why do they need straws?’ and I tell them that many of the people there are bed-ridden and need the straws to be able to drink properly.”
The nursing students will also be going to the local hospital to observe. Hughes said this is to give the students an idea of how the hospital system on the island works.
“Some students will walk around the neighborhoods and do home health visits,” Hughes said. “What we’re trying to do is connect them to resources for the long term. It’s not just about going for a day and putting a bandaid on it,” said Hughes.