Sat | Jan 19, 2019

Jabneth Peace Garden a perfect spot for dispute resolution

Published:Saturday | November 10, 2018 | 12:09 AMShanna kaye Monteith/ Gleaner Writer
Westmoreland's wining Peace Garden at Jabneh Christian Academy in Grange Hill.
Some students of Jabneh Christian Academy along with some team members from Sandals, Beaches and Grand Pineapple Negril helping to fix up the garden in its early stages.

One of the best things one can do when filled with anxiety and worry is to find a quiet place to read the Bible or devotional, to listen to some encouraging music, or just to pray.

Now, students and teachers alike at the Jabneh Christian Academy in Grange Hill, Westmoreland, will have the perfect spot to do so.

With the help of team members from the Sandals, Beaches, and Grand Pineapple resorts in Negril, the institution came out as the overall parish winner of the Trees for Peace competition, which was launched by the Violence Prevention Alliance (VPA) in collaboration Peace and Love in Society (PALS) and the education ministry.

The project, which was launched in March, encouraged schools to designate a space for a peace garden where they would plant trees and shrubbery.

The garden would then become an area for dispute resolution, relaxation, and reflection.

A beauty to behold with colourful plants, neatly placed benches, and boasting the word 'Peace' marked by stones at the entrance, Jabneh's peace garden, according to the principal, Dr Natasha Campbell, is dedicated to and named after one of the pastors who supports the school, Kurt Jacobson.

"After the garden was set up, Pastor Jacobson visited one day and when he sat in it, he felt so much peace that he got some students to sit and read with him there," she shared.

Campbell told Family & Religion that at the time, the good pastor was suffering from a terminal illness and when he went back home after his visit to the garden, he was told by doctors that his illness had gone into remission.

"Even in the midst of what he was going through, he found peace in our garden," she said.

In spite of the fact that the Grange Hill community has been plagued by gun violence in recent times, the school's peace garden has managed to be a place of consolation for many residents.

"I walked in the schoolyard one morning and I saw two persons standing in the garden. I thought to myself, 'something seems to be happening here'. I found out that day that the two individuals who were standing in the garden were actually there trying to resolve a conflict in their marriage. I was in awe," Campbell explained.

Campbell lauded her students and members of the community for maintaining the garden and expressed her undying gratitude to the Sandals Foundation for its input, which included the donation of various plants and having representatives from the landscaping department at Sandals Negril helping with the planting and set-up of the space.

The principal also made it clear that all are welcome to bask in the peace provided by the area of restoration.

According to her: "Trees for Peace is a great initiative that I would encourage everyone to continue pushing. I am also very happy that people see our garden as a place that they can come and reflect and resolve issues. Jabneh's gates are never closed and I believe with this initiative, the impact will continue to spread."