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South Dakotans Get Warm Welcome In Jamaica

September 24, 2012, 9:59 PM by Erich Schaffhauser

South Dakotans Get Warm Welcome In Jamaica

A team of South Dakota business people is in Jamaica this week providing shoes to deaf kids throughout the country.

It's part of the Dispatch Project, which works to connect the South Dakota business community with service opportunities around the world.

Reasons for participating in a service project can be as numerous as the number of people involved. You're likely to find 15 reasons on this trip.

"I've always wanted to serve others in some way and didn't know the right way. So when I was approached with this opportunity, I jumped in feet first. So really excited about it," Jen Schaefer said.

"This is kind of a soul-searching trip for me so. I'm going to start crying," Peggy McGuire said. "This is something I hope my daughter will learn from and appreciate."

When she goes home, McGuire can tell her daughter stories about cleaning deaf kids' feet and giving them shoes.  And she can add a lot more to it too.

Like the sound of worship at a church Jamaican style and the sight of signing at a church Jamaican style too.

"It's surreal to actually be here," Schaefer said.

The team will visit and distribute shoes at three different deaf schools throughout the island. A bulk of the team members don't know how to sign. But that hasn't stopped them from enjoying the experience so far. McGuire has been to Jamaica three times in the past, but as a tourist.

"Already in the one, two days that we've been here, a lot more that I'll remember and cherish than the last three trips," McGuire said.

"It's awesome; it's a beautiful country. People have been welcoming," Schaefer said. "I can't wait to see and do more."

Which this team of mostly Dakotans will do throughout the rest of the week before coming home with any number of experiences, times 15.

The team has been staying at a deaf school in a community near Montego Bay. They'll pack up and move to their next location on Tuesday.

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