I am Sue, the creator and owner of the Judy House Cottages and Backpacker Hostel in Negril, Jamaica. I am also the owner of the developing Judy House Backpacker Hostel and Lewi's Tent Village in Brighton, Jamaica.
Born in Wales UK I have spent most my career, both as a volunteer and a paid worker, developing, designing, building and running Voluntary Projects in Liverpool and London UK. Projects such as locally based Pre-school Playgroup; Adventure Playground with play building; Learning and Childcare Centres; Community 'Clean Ups' such as local library gardens. I was made redundant from a Social Housing Company in London in 2000, where I worked as Community Services Manager on tenant involvement and management; training; creating community groups and projects.
Volunteers always played an integral part in most of these projects.
I am certified in Youth Work and Community Work: Community Development; Children's Play and Sports development. I have a Post Grad. in Housing Development , Management and Finance plus a Certificate in Education (Post 16)
I have been around Jamaica since 1989, arriving the first time as a musician exploring Jamaican music and rasatafari. I have now lived in Jamaica for 16 years in which time I have opened and run a restaurant; established a very successful Internet Cafe and IT School. I also taught IT in local schools, small and micro businesses and at the Theodora (Human Trafficking) Job Skills Project.
My Negril Hostel is operational and very successful, designed by me then built, run and maintained by wonderful, local Jamaican staff. It is set in a beautiful tropical garden that I personally designed and planted most of. Based in a local community it gives an authentic 'living with the locals' experience to travellers and/or people on vacation. Ten minutes walk to all the regular tourist facilities it attracted nearly 1,000 travellers in 2015 from 47 different countries of all ages, particularly under 30's.
Brighton is very different from Negril, Set 'off the beaten tourist path'. I planned to open in January this year but a terrible family bereavement in 2015 made it impossible for me to achieve completion for that season. I am now hoping to complete and open for the 2016/17 season in December. The Brighton, Jamaica site is 1/2 acre of countryside across the road from the Caribbean sea, where the only 'city' utilities are electricity and wifi.
The Backpacker Hostel is partially built using a shipping container I converted. It has all the services installed i.e. bathroom, kitchen, one bed room and storage/workshop area. There is a veranda housing lounging, dining and bar area. Electricity and internet is on site, but no 'city' water or sewer in the area yet. The shipping container roof provides a huge area for water catchment with pump and water heater. An Eco sewer system has also been installed. The site is fenced and gated with security lights. Some landscaping and planting has been done but an irrigation system from a local spring needs to be created as there is very little rain in Brighton. I also have a beautiful young male German Shepard guard dog, Teddi, who loves company, walking and swimming.
Although not officially open, Brighton has been used successfully by some guests on special request after staying in the Negril Hostel. A 22 young person Mission Adventure volunteer group from USA and Canada also stayed in my tents there, which can sleep 20 people comfortably, for 4 days this year. Many them not used to camping outdoors went away loving the experience.
Brighton, in the Jamaican Parish of Westmoreland, is perfect for the person/s wanting to get a way from the regular tourist destinations in Jamaica. The Brighton Hostel is across the Road from the Caribbean Sea in a very country community. It has 2 unspoilt beaches and the famous Blue Hole Mineral spring close by. Lots of other mineral caves too, plus a bat cave and lots of places to walk or cycle along the coast and up in the bush. The community is wonderful, very friendly and helpful, with evening street life and music events somewhere most weeks. Brighton is 30 mins drive from Negril or the main Westmoreland Parish town of Savannah la Mar. Local bike taxis operate through country roads and around all the village there to the main highway, where cheap Route taxis be found that are the main local transport system to Negril and Sav la Mar.
Help with Computers/ Internet
1. Travellers will be creating a new traveller facility in a community that has the resources and skills to support and sell to the travellers that will use it.
2. Travellers will learn a lot from this experience by being based in this very special local, Jamaican Community.
3. Living and working in a community where the economy is not good and assisting in its improvement will be very educational..
4. Experiencing living in a place where many people make a living, or just eat, from the land and sea will be learning skills for life.
5. The Brighton and Little Bay communities will welcome the Travellers and share their culture with them, the best way to learn about a countries history and culture.
6. They will be working on a project that will bring people into a local community that will pay for goods and services that local people provide and improve their economy for the future.
7. Assisting with the development of putting this very special community on the map and working alongside some local people too will be very rewarding.
8. Living with other volunteers from all over the world will be all about learning, sharing and supporting each other.
I have designed and built both projects using local skilled and unskilled labour. Negril took 10 years to become what it is today, from a piece of rocky bush and opening in 2008. Brighton has only been in construction for just over a year. There is a growing market for backpacking in Jamaica and I have had many requests from volunteers to help complete and run the place in Brighton. One of those guests suggested I log on to Workaday and look for help from volunteer to get the new Backpacker Hostel up and running, so here I am !
At this time I am mainly looking for Volunteers to work with me on the Brighton site, but there could also be opportunities to work on the Negril site.
I am looking for help with all the below:-
1. Creating an irrigation system of the from a local water spring to the site, using a pump and piping.
2. Installing another 1,500 gallon water tank
3. Construction and out door kitchen and dining area.
4. Constructing garden beds from sea rocks
5. Constructing a compost holding area
6. Constructing a covered garden nursery area
7. Moving and spreading at least 5 truck loads of top soil
8. Planting trees, fruit vegetable, flowers and grass seed.
9. Looking after the lawn and gardens in general
10. Marketing, including building web sites for Negril and Brighton (or one for both)
11. Taking bookings for Brighton
12. Making street sign boards, business cards and flyer for both sites
13. Converting another 40' shipping container into dorms and private rooms fro Brighton*
1. Re-roofing the main cottage in Negril *
2. Building an outdoor bathroom for Negril Hammock sleepers *
3. Building another Hammock Cabana in Negril *
*When funds are available
The location, site and accommodation
The site was 1/2 acre of bush land which has been cleared over the last year, plus planted and lawned. Located in Westmoreland 30 mins from Negril, the closet tourist town, and 30 mins from Savannah la Mar (Sav), the main Parish town.
The site is fenced and gated with security lights. It has electricity and internet, but no city water or sewage. It is across the road from the Caribbean sea, full of rock pools and blow holes. The home of many local, fishing, unspoilt beaches, Brighton Beach is 5 mins. walk away and Little Bay Beach about 30 mins walk. Transport is mostly motor bike taxis around the community and to the main Sav. road, where cheap local route taxis can be accessed to Negril and Sav.
There are a few small stores, cook shops and bars dotted around the local Brighton and Little bay communities.
A 40ft Shipping Container has already been converted and has:-
1. A large communal bathroom with hot water showers, toilets and face basins.
2. Fully operational kitchen, storage and work area.
3. A huge container verandah provides cover for a large lounging area and dining space.
4. There is one room in the converted container which can sleep 3, but we may convert it into an office area/training room whilst project is in operation.
5. Sleeping space will be the option of 5 brand new single tents, 5 double tents and one 5 person tent. Tents have mosquito nets and yoga mats, pillows, sleeping bag liners and throw blankets provided.
6. There is a laundry area set top for hand washing and lines for drying. (Local women will be quite happy to provide personal laundry services at a small charge).
7. An eco sewage system has already been set up.
8. A rain water catchment from the 40' x 20' converted container roof into a 1,500 gal tank provides water. Water is trucked from the spring when absolutely necessary.
A local Housekeeper and gardener are already working minimum paid employment hours on site. Volunteers will be expected to keep the place clean and tidy plus recycle and conserve whenever they can.
There is plenty to do during volunteers time off, both in the local community, in Negril, Jamaica's 'Capital of casual' tourist town and other parts of Jamaica which are easily and cheaply accessible by the local route taxi system.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
Maximum 6 hours a day, 5 days a week