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

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