Saturday, 25 February 2012

Goodbye Jamaica!!!

Well here we are at the end of our journey, and the reflection of our time here is starting to set in. There was a lot of great work done here band we were able to accomplish a lot. We have helped 3 small companies with their business and the feeling of completion is rewarding and satisfying. I am so glad we could help these amazing companies!

Strawberry Fields Together! was an amazing adventure and I personally got to experience most of the tours they had to offer. I took an ATV tour with DR. Dave, and experienced magnificent ocean views, grand cliffs, and flat tires....(cough...DR. Dave) we took a sort hike through the fantastic foliage until we reached the most beautiful waterfall I have ever seen. It was as if I had jumped in a postcard and I never wanted to leave.

The next day I took the same route again to the waterfall with all of the Nipissing team at strawberry. It was even better the second time.

Me, Leah, John Nadeau, and Ikram all spent one crazy weird night at Green Castle with cigars, beer, ghost stories, and much much more, this is a story I'll be telling my grandkids about.

I have had the most amazing experience here! I have learned so much and met such wonderful people, big shout out to Kristal!!!! I will never forget the times I spent here and the work we have created. Jamaica will always hold a special part in my heart with next to all the people on this amazing team! the greatest place, Jamaica!

-Jacquelyn Martini-

Green Castle Estates Real Estate Development

Working in Jamaica has been a challenging and eye opening experience.
Trying to understand the perspectives and experiences of our clients,
while working with other students with different strengths and
weaknesses, backgrounds and expectations has made for a steep learning
curve. I find working with others in foreign environments brings out
my passions but also shows me there are personality flaws in my own
behavior. I want to work on being more patient, and also draw out
people's ideas and encourage them to develop their thoughts into
feasible alternatives.

The other day, 'tall man' took us out on a tractor ride through the bush to see
where the real estate development will be at Green Castle Estate. The
first phase has 71 lots, with spectacular views, but currently very,
very bumpy roads! We tried to work on the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats analysis on the iPAD while we road around, but it was tricky!


As students,under the direction of John Nadeau , we are developing a marketing plan to determine who and how to best market this development. We've had a lot of laughs,
and a lot of scares ( maybe a bush rat siting stopped me from sleeping! ) while learning, discussing, growing,eating and living together. What an amazing experience we've had so far, and it's not over yet!

Yesterday, it was down to the wire to finish up the Marketing Report-I was feeling the pressure as we madly formatted and edited to get the report finished in time to leave with Elaine Russell, the General Manager! We continued to work late into the night after supper with some last minute edits and formatting, and finally sent a PDF file. It was really difficult to do, since we had been going back and forth from iPADs, Macs, and PC computers, but we did the best we could with what we had!

We had a blast at Green Castle, and I’m going to miss the people alot! Hopefully we’ll meet up again someday, maybe Elaine will come to Canada for a visit! I've been so blessed by the people here and our team-it's been a great experience so far and it's not over yet!

Be back at Nipissing on Tuesday!


Friday, 24 February 2012

Kwamen Falls


Ash Wednesday
Kwamen Falls

iLEAD team hikes along Jamaica’s beautiful north coast

Today we escaped from our work to explore Jamaica’s beautiful north coast on foot. We started out from Strawberry Fields Together with our local tour guide Trevor who led us into the tropical rain forest to explore its many wonders. To begin with we hiked down an old dirt road passing many friendly Jamaicans, than on into the large foliage that was so lush and green and kept us cool, all of us thankful to be in shorts instead of huge winter jackets.

The trails lead us up, down and around creeks along the ocean line where we got to explore glimpses of the sea. One hour into our hike we discovered an old church ruin, so we took a short break and had a quick photo shoot.:)

Finally we made it to the falls. Those of us brave enough jumped into the cold water that reminded me of Trout Lake in May, but it was worth every moment. When we made it back to Strawberry fields we ended our day with the best pizza in Jamaica, which was made in an old fashion wood oven. Jamaican me happy!

By: Juanita Muise

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Great Huts and Portland Rehab Center

Great Huts and Portland Rehab Center

          Today the Hotel Mocking Bird group split into two; one staying near Port Antonio with the other making the short trip to visit Great Huts. Kris and Jon were able to arrange some more client interviews and were able to continue discussions with the owners of Mocking Bird Hill.
           Meanwhile Linda, Natalya and the both of us were driving to Great Huts to interview the management team and survey tourists. On the way there we drove past a group of buildings with chefs cooking and preparing food inside, and then walking into the streets and becoming street vendors. Little did we know at the time, but jerk chicken originated from one of these buildings.

           Great Huts is a unique tourist destination in Jamaica.  Guests literally stay in huts. We probably should add that some of these huts have three levels, complete with indoor bathrooms, outdoor bathrooms and flat screen televisions. Management was more than happy to give us a tour and show us the breathtaking views of the ocean and beaches. We spoke to tourists from various places today. Belgium, Rome, Montreal, Ireland and Toronto,  just to name a few. From our previous research we knew that Canadians made up a large section of tourists in Jamaica. This was reinforced when we learnt eighty percent of tourists in attendance were Canadian. While we were waiting by the gates at the entrance, two women walked by and said to us “Nipissing University, eh?” We had our Nipissing shirts on and this again showcased the Canadian presence in Jamaica.
           Once we had completed our surveys and interviews with the staff and guests at Great Huts we headed off to Portland Rehab Management where Doctor Paul Rhodes has set up a facility to help Jamaicans who have mental disabilities and who would otherwise not have the support they need. The center provides beds and food for those who need them. It includes a bathroom, fully equipped with showers. The center also had a garden that was run and taken care of by the residents as well as some recreational rooms which are perfect for socializing or just relaxing. Nipissing University made a donation and plans on developing a stronger relationship with Doctor Rhodes’s center to help local Jamaicans and allow Nipissing students to enrich their degrees with an experience that would otherwise be unattainable.
         Tomorrow Jon, Kris and Natalya are off to Green Grotto Caves to conduct more research on eco-tourism. The remaining members of the group will remain at Hotel Mockingbird Hill and continue to work on a plan for the hotel.

-Sam & James

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

A Professor Perspective- Linda Piper

Another beautiful day at "the office" in Jamaica.  As we write,  the students are sitting at their computers working on marketing and promotion materials for Hotel Mocking Bird Hill ( as well as a customer service plan, an analysis of occupancy rates, and intercultural management issues.  Today, the faculty members at this Port Antonio location are working on gap analysis and customer opinion surveys.  On average, the work totals about ten hours a day as we continue to talk about the project during meals and at night.  

We are managing to have some fun and relaxation, too, with trips to the beach and walking the winding trails on the mountain, watching the amazing variety of bird species, swimming in the hotel pool, and relishing the spectacular views and tranquility afforded by the terrace of our villa. The delicious meals (a tantalizing combination of authentic local Jamaican cuisine and Canadian favourites) served at candlelit tables overlooking the jungle canopy are a treat served up at the award winning restaurant called Mille Fleurs owned by eco-conscious Hotel Mocking Bird Hill.  The food is locally sourced, with an emphasis on paying local farmers a fair wage and organic and sustainable production.  The hotel complex produces 65 percent of its own power supply through renewable energy.

Tomorrow a smaller group of us are heading to some other eco-resorts to continue with our interviews for research on ecolabels and ecocertification experiences of ecotourism entrepreneurs.

Try a recipe for a quick, easy and delicious dessert and get a taste of Jamaica:
3 large bananas
2 teaspoons lime juice
1 tablespoon rum

Peel a thin strip from each banana and scoop out the fruit from the skins, keeping the skins intact.  Put aside skins.  Mash bananas well, blending with the lime juice and rum.  Place the  mashed banana inside the skins, marking the top of the fruit mixture with a criss-cross pattern.  Bake at 425 degrees F for 7 minutes.


Monday, 20 February 2012

Hotel Mockingbird, Port Antonio, Jamaica

          Good afternoon from Jamaica! We continue to work very closely with our friends at Hotel Mockingbird. We are very grateful for their openness and willingness in helping us to help them. We have gathered a great deal of primary data and are now in the stages of compiling and analyzing it to formalize our plan.
            Today’s blog will however focus on our experience as tourists. Firstly, the aesthetics of this country are breath taking. From the villa we have rented I look out to my left and see the Blue Mountains; to my right at the Atlantic Ocean; and down below to the city of Port Antonio. Everyday has been sun-filled and the horizon of clean blue water continuously forces me to take a moment to appreciate being here. The view of the town is complied of beautiful pastel colored Spanish roofs and everywhere you look is very natural, tree filled and green. Yesterday while working at the Hotel I could hear a church service from down below, and it was impossible to ignore the joy and heart in the music and in the service.
            The people of Jamaica have been wonderful and very friendly. It feels like a very safe place to be. Although there are many who are perhaps less fortunate and therefore forced to try to sell tourists staple items, they are still extremely friendly, always polite and smiling; and in no way a threat anyone’s security or mood. We have been fortunate enough to get to talk/bond with the keeper of our villa, and her charm and story telling abilities have been among the highlights of our day. We have noticed as a group that Canadians love to laugh and enjoy themselves. The culture here is very kind hearted and certainly creates an atmosphere to engage in those behaviors.
          The other day we walked down to the renowned Frenchman’s Cove beach area for a swim. Although the walk involved a great decent to water level (and climb back up), everywhere we looked was a photo opportunity and it is impossible not to notice how naturally beautiful things can be. I had become very skeptical about Internet photographs and commercial/marketing material due to the expanding capabilities of Photoshop style editing. I can report that the pictures and commercials I saw before coming are highly accurate, and that those “million dollar” pictures/views exist in the exact way that were advertised. It is hard not to get lost in them.
Another highlight has been getting to sit and talk with other tourists. As we are not in the “cookie cutter,” all-inclusive style resort, we are able to meet/engage with diverse personality types. I have had wonderful conversations and learning opportunities about where they are from and what drew them to not only this destination, but also this type of vacation. 
Everyday we are here we become more accustomed to the country and all that it has to offer; and everyday our experience in absorbing these offerings make it harder to imagine leaving. It was a quick transition from coming to help our new friends for personal/educational reasons to coming to help them because they are wonderful people who we feel connections with and want to see succeed

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Beautiful Day in Paradise

It's hard for me to describe the views of sunrise and sunset. Every time I see sun struggling to come out from the clouds in the morning,I wonder how mesmerizing and fresh this place is. Often I sit beside the ocean on the beach and contemplate if this is not beauty then I don't know what is then. The kissing of the clouds and the mountain tops, chirping of humming birds, love hate relationship of the shore and the ocean and the free flowing and innocent and simple life of the resident describes the real beauty of Jamaica. Yesterday night our green castle group went out in town with Elaine who is one of our clients to enjoy the taste of local music, meet local people and get a better idea of our surroundings. It was a fun night where some of the students participated in the game of pool and local reggae was so nice of her to show us the local community and give us the chance to connect with them. It's been 3 days since we started our project in the full stride. Every thing is going to plan regarding our project and every one is so excited to be part of this great initiative. As of today, we are working in the development plan of Green Castle and Strawberry Fields Together. Some students are working in the  organization and re-evaluation of the  website for Strawberry Fields, while others are evaluating and analyzing the market strategy for the marketing plan which is directly related to Green Castle. Adios Ikram.