Sunday, March 15, 2009

Living/Training in Guyana

It has been one month since I abandoned all the comforts and cold weather of Alaska.  If you don’t think it is possible to miss the cold crisp nights then you are mistaken!  I am having a blast so far here in Guyana but there are definitely things I miss!  I am a very warm sleeper which for most of my life has worked to my favor.  However, here in Guyana where the temperature doesn’t drop below 70 and you have to sleep with a mosquito net at night I could really trade in my warm ability.  Here I sleep with a sheet, most of the time bundled at my toes because it is wayyyyy to warm.  Because it is so hot, I am pretty much sleeping in my underwear and thus leaving my body exposed buffet style.  The mosquitoes might be bigger in Alaska and even Michigan but I don’t remember ever waking up from ever getting bit.  Here they don’t care where on your body to feast, boney, meaty, fatty…white meat tastes plenty good to them no matter where.  I have woken up from bites on my arm, back, toes, side of my foot, fingers, wrist, legs and of course, my ass!  And yes I sleep with a mosquito net but there always seems to be at least one or two that manage to creep in or stay in the net from the night before!  On another note, I can’t say exactly where I am on my blog here in Guyana but let me tell you that where we are doing our 2 month training is amazing!  You hear horror stories from current volunteers about there host family and even some of my fellow trainees about there current host family yet I have to say that I get along with my host family like salt with pepper.  I do yoga at 6 AM, (while the sunrises) 3 days a week with my Host Uncle.  In America, my host uncle would be a rare breed.  He is a well built older man, around 6 ft, 230 and can do the splits, put his head between his legs, and many other amazing poses and balances that you would only see a scrawny 104 pound man do in the States.  The other 3 days are left I am left to devise the workout and I most say that he holds his own, keeps up and does all the exercises while never complaining.  There are many people my age who couldn’t keep up, at least not without occasionally laying in the middle of the floor in front of the locker room at the Alaska Club! 

So far since I have been here I have been able to be in the schools 3 times and I have taught once.  In the school where I am helping out during training, I haven’t seen one obese child.  I am not saying their diet is that much better, but almost all of these kids stay active.  The school is very limited on supplies.  For instance, they just got their first copy machine a month or two ago.  Now I know it is common for American’s at the work place to swear at, or want to physically destroy the copier because of its ability to screw up, but teachers imagine how different your teaching style would be if you couldn’t print off 30 copies of the practice problems in your teacher’s edition book.  Where I teach, there are only a couple of classrooms that are have four walls.  Otherwise, like in the class I help out in, there is one long, long classroom with 4 different classes/grades in it and the classes are divided by chalk boards.  I do however firmly believe that the lack of resources gives the ability to make a good teacher great because they have to be that much more creative and resourceful.  Of course I think it can also make an otherwise average teacher terrible but so far I have only seen (and my time is limited) hard working teachers who often face (student wise) many of the same problems American teacher’s face.  Literacy being the key issue, and I would say although the problems might be similar, they are in higher number’s per capita here in Guyana then it would be in the states.

This month I got to experience a great holiday and one I hope to bring back to the states in 2 years.  The holiday is Phagwah and is the Hindu celebration of Spring/New Year/Colors/the triumph of good over evil.  Mainly of a day although traditionally the celebration is supposed to take up to a week.  During this holiday, you wakeup, but on clothes you don’t care about getting ruined and grab you colored powder.   People go around and throw buckets of water (in the morning only) and then respectively put the color powder on your face, hug and wish each other a happy Phagwah.   In Guyana they call it playing Phagwah when you go around and do so.   Also, even though this is a Hindu holiday, almost everyone, no matter religion, participates.  In that sense it is similar to Halloween or I might even say Christmas.

Hopefully soon I will have time to put down all the cool and interesting phrases that the Guyanese you here.  We had one day of training that consisted of naming slang words for sex parts and acts.  Out of all the days I should be taking notes, this is definitely a day I did!  Hopefully I will have those up soon cuz those are funny, I don’t care who you are!


Scott said...

Good luck!

Scott S.
Guyana RPCV 03-05

Nathan and Maggy said...

Dave!!! You're the man, man! Love you...stay golden ponyboy!

Jessy Clemmons said...

hey cuz havent talked to u in awhile and havent seen u in longer! LOL