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A vacation of a different kind

Miss Vi (with Pastor Derek) is overcome with joy and is crying as she inspects her new house for the first time.  - courtesy Jane Barton-Grieg
Miss Vi (with Pastor Derek) is overcome with joy and is crying as she inspects her new house for the first time.
— image credit: courtesy Jane Barton-Grieg

It was the vacation that changed Jane Barton-Greig’s life.

It was suppose to be a spontaneous family trip to Jamaica, but Barton-Greig brought back more than just a tan.

Instead, she was introduced to a small poor community in Westmoreland, Jamaica. She met Pastor Derek, head of the local church, who explained the community’s desperate situation.

“We talked to the pastor and his heart is in this tiny little community and it is poor — like worse than shacks. Then when we came back to Canada he started to phone me…and I learned more about this community.” Barton-Greig said.

A single mother of two girls, Barton-Grieg doesn’t have much money to spare. But during the past two years she has sent a few hundred dollars to the community. With it, Pastor Derek has attended to various needs in the community. He started by building Ms. Vi, an elderly woman, a new home.

“She lived in a disgusting hovel, half the walls were missing and the community doesn’t have the money to build her something better. So I started to send money and Pastor Derek got a work crew together and over a year we built her a new house.” Barton-Greig explained.

As her relationship to this community continues, Barton-Grieg has contacted a separate organization to oversee future projects. She has partnered with the International Rotary Club to ensure the money sent is accounted for.

“I’ve started to realize that if more money is going I need accountability. I’ve got in touch with the president of the Rotary club and asked them if they are willing to over see distribution of management and funds that goes into this little community,” she said.

Barton-Greig hopes to establish a relationship between the Cowichan Valley and this small area in Westmoreland, Jamaica. For more information contact janebg@seaside.net.

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