Update #7 ·

Update on January 02, 2013

I could not believe what I saw in Jamaica

Hi, my name is Tarik Ross, and I'm the U.S. based Project Coordinator for the Mind Gardens Project. For the past 20 years I've been involved in community work in Los Angeles and other cities in the U.S. None of this prepared me for what I witnessed during my trips to Jamaica this past year as I worked to establish Mind Gardens sites in Kingston. Our worst American ghettos don't even compare to the level of poverty I witnessed while in the neighborhoods of Trench Town and Tivoli Gardens.

In Tivoli Gardens I witnessed a girl collecting water from a rusty pipe that appeared to be one of the only sources of water for the entire community. I saw a man bathing in the street from what looked like a large trash can full of water. Working with Snoop on the Mind Gardens Project has truly opened my eyes to the lack of basic necessities, such as clean water and healthy food, in Jamaica. Becoming aware of these living conditions has reinforced my commitment to building Mind Gardens that will provide healthy food options to the children in these communities.

While in Trench Town, I had the opportunity to spend time with the youth who will be directly benefiting from the healthy food we'll harvest from the Mind Gardens sites. Being surrounded by the joyous smiles and playful nature of the children at National Baptist School and TivoliGardens High School almost made me forget about the impoverished neighborhoods that they return to after the last school bell rings. 

Yet, through all the hardship, the people of Tivoli Gardens and Trench Town remain resilient and strong-willed. These communities are as excited as we are about the benefits MindGardens will bring to the community. For example, in Tivoli Gardens when we could not locate an existing community garden, we met with the principal of Tivoli Gardens High School who volunteered to work with us to establish a teaching garden that will involve students and parents. In Trench Town we are coordinating with an existing garden that's managed by an experienced gardener. Through your support we are helping to expand the capabilities of his current garden; including the construction of a new 100 square foot greenhouse which will help to increase the gardens food production output. 

These communities are ready for Mind Gardens, and they are thankful for your support. With your continued help we'll be able to spread the word about the Mind Gardens Project and expand to neighborhoods throughout the US, and around the world.

Thank you for your continued support of Mind Gardens and the communities of Jamaica,

Tarik Ross

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