Happy October! Time is flying on our humanitarian projects in Jamaica and we have so much to report… For now, we’ll provide a few quickie joy moments below and an update on the Chikungunya virus – If you don’t read any farther, you at least need to know you should bring extra mosquito repellant w/ DEET if you’re volunteering in Jamaica this year.
SuperKids literacy project:
All the spots are filled; the project directors and coordinators are ready to roll. The school supplies and computers have arrived and our partner schools and students can hardly wait to meet you!
The leadership team will welcome our SuperKids volunteers November, 7/8th and November 15th.
iCARE vision project:
During the first week we examined 1760 people in Seafort Town, it’s extremely rural with great food and a loving community. Volunteers worked late and served every last person in line.
An historical first for Great Shape! Inc., our iCARE ophthalmologists are providing vision saving surgeries. In the past, volunteers made referrals to the local hospital. Now our volunteer doctors are providing the actual surgeries at Cornwall Regional Hospital.
1000 Smiles dental project:
Thousands of Jamaicans have already been served in our free dental clinics, plus we’re excited that our radiograph capabilities have been running beautifully (the equipment is brand new this year). And, for the first time ever on Great Shape! Inc.’s project, there are opportunities for dentures!
We want to draw your attention to a flu-like virus that’s been confirmed in Jamaica along with 34 other countries in the Western Hemisphere including the USA. You’ll need to bring mosquito spray with a high level of DEET. The flu-like virus is called Chikungunya or Chick-V and is spread by mosquitoes. Although there are only 33 confirmed cases in Jamaica as of October 4th, there are more suspected cases in communities near Kingston. So far, there are no confirmed cases in the areas in which we volunteer. Chikungunya can cause a high fever, joint pain, headache and sometimes a rash. There is no vaccine; treatment just includes pain medicine (Acetaminophen is recommended). The flu-like virus runs its course over 3-7 days.
The CDC and US Embassy websites have not issued any travel warnings for Jamaica and thousands of visitors come and go daily – happy and healthy. However, both the US Embassy and CDC advise travelers to Jamaica to take extra precaution to prevent mosquito bites. Therefore we recommend volunteers bring 2 to 3 bottles of 20% or higher DEET mosquito spray and use it daily. When possible, wear long pants and longsleeved shirts. Chikungunya is spread by “day time” mosquitoes so use most caution from dawn to dusk.
Here’s a CDC fact sheet on Chikungunya: Information on Chikungunya
Remember your extra mosquito repellant and protect yourself with long clothing. We look forward to seeing you in Jamaica in the coming weeks and look forward to a fun, healthy, fulfilling trip.
Papa Joe (AKA, Joseph Wright, Great Shape! Inc. Executive Director) & the Great Shape! Inc. leadership team