Saturday, December 11, 2010

In no way would I ever consider myself an animal’s rights activist, however, as of late, I have found myself actively practicing…For almost my entire year I lived among geckos, mainly because they are everywhere in my room. Small ones, big ones, young ones, geckos with their original tales, geckos with tails re-grown. The geckos can be light green, dark green or brown.They can have a very textured back with interesting patterns or just a few basic patterns. Geckos are like the reptilian squirrel. They chirp, chase and nip at each other all around the walls of my room when they want to mate. When the courting is over and the action does begin, I don’t know of a species that makes the act itself symbolic of love as they intertwine their bodies and rest peacefully.
I didn’t mind living side by side with the Geckos for the past year and a half because I figured they eat a lot of the bugs in my room, and they don’t really cause any harm. Sometimes when I was bored I would snag one off the wall and play with it, or pet it (probably to the dismay of the animal). My biggest problem with the Geckos is that they shit everywhere! On the walls, on the windowsills, on my magazines, on my mirror, they have even shit on my toothbrush, and when I say toothbrush I mean to emphasize the brush part in toothbrush.

So as I was saying I have recently become somewhat of a animal activist. I have decided that the geckos in my room should be freed from captivity and returned to their natural environment.To do so, I swiftly grab them from the wall. When doing this, it is important not to grab them by the tail because the tails are made to detach! The art is to trap them under your cupped hand, slightly press and then pinch the body. Of course, when you press against the wall, try not to smash, you will easily know if you press to hard because they will let out a yelp which sounds an awful lot like a squeak toy.

The next thing I do is walk outside and throw them onto the Star Fruit tree about 20 feet away from me. 9 out of 10 times, they stick right to the leaf. For the ones who don’t stick right away, fear not, geckos are made to fall. I don’t know how many times I have witnessed geckos fall anywhere from 10-20ft ceilings onto hard cement floors, only to crawl right back up. So have no fear, I am not endangering them by chucking them 15-20ft. I used to toss them to the Golden Apple tree next to my room, but I think it was too close because I could swear they would end up right back in my room, not the problem when I toss them to the star fruit tree.

Carrying on, I have about 5 months left here in Guyana. I have had a wonderful time while living here, and I have lived here long enough that I can comfortably call it home. I feel so comfortable here now that I find it strange and a little worrisome that I will be back in the states in 5 months. I think I will have sensory overload between, hot showers, driving, experiencing seasons or weather below 70 degrees!

Here is a recap of things that have happened over the past handful of months.

Mid July-August:

In my last blog I wrote about funerals or at least Hindu-Guyanese funerals. This blog I will speak about Weddings! The summer, much like in the States is the big wedding season in Guyana. A Christian wedding in Guyana isn’t going to be much different than your stereotypic wedding back home. It is going to look different than a wedding back home due to some circumstances but the structure is very much the same. A Indo-Guyanese wedding, or more specifically a Hindu-Guyanese wedding however is much, much, much different. First of all, there are two wedding houses, the Dulahon’s (grooms) and Dulhah’s (wife). Depending on the family, the celebration at a certain wedding house can go for 3-10 days. That means entertaining your guests during the entire period the family wishes to host. And again depending on the family, that could mean giant speakers, pounding music day and night. It most certainly means feeding your guests and making sure there is enough drink, hard and soft to go around for that same amount of time. There is a ceremony done with the Dulahah’s service, where after everyone stains her yellow, and the same night at the dulahans house, they have a Jhandi and after they stain him yellow. On the final day of the celebration the Dulahon goes and picks up his new wife and brings her back to his home.

At the end of July and the beginning of August, I was lucky enough to sneak out of Guyana on a vacation spent with my family. I enjoyed great food, hot showers and fast internet, which is also when I posted my last blog.

Upon returning however, I had a very, very terrible dream.

In this dream I was asked to leave Peace Corps Guyana. Like most dreams, I don’t remember any details but do remember in my dream it being extremely unfair and unjust. When I awoke in the morning, I was dumbfounded and a little shaken for the rest of the day. The dream did however, re-energize me as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Guyana. May-August were tough months for me and I felt a little placid and stagnate. Again thanks to this dream, I have beenkicking ass again and have that optimistic, productive attitude back which was very similar to what I felt my first 6 months here, which is great because I have less than that left!


September was mainly getting back into the swing of things. I had a new job with a semi-new organization. For my entire service I had been helping Hope For All, which is a grass roots organization that works with HIV related patients. In the past I had been helping teach an after school program. In the program we are specifically working with kids who have a parent who has HIV, who themselves have HIV and/or have been orphaned by HIV-AIDS. There are around 10 kids directly in our program from the surrounding area but when word gets round that there is an after school program, others are to quick to follow. Some days we have up to 30 kids amongst us, some are friends of the kids that want to come and learn and some are sent by their parents.

As I was saying, I have taken a more full time position with Hope For All and besides the After School Program I have been involved with their In School Program. This mainly consists of me going to 5 secondary schools in my area and teaching a life skills class. This includes, STI’s, Drugs & Alcohol, Values, Settings Goals, Self Esteem, etc., etc…

Another new thing that I started doing was opening a gym about a block from my house. The owner of the neighborhood Grocery Store recently has opened a gym full of boxing equipment and some weights. He asked me to open it up for him, and make sure if people come they don’t hurt themselves lifting and keep the place in order.

The thing I think I remember the most about September was the death of one of our family’s pets. Sometime last year we got 2 puppies, sisters. They were close to a year old come September. Where I live there is one main, 2 lane, road that runs parallel with the ocean coast.The road is quite busy during the day and is not advantageous to animals. Sadly, one of the sister’s was hit by a car and killed one day. Thankfully there was good found in this sad situation. One was that the lone, living sister earned a name (my family isn’t big on naming pets.) The name being….Puppy! Which actually was the name of both the sister’s but after the untimely death, reserved for the living. The second good thing is that shortly after my family took in two strays. A boy and an ole’bitch with saggy tits. I joked with my family that they are starting Guyana’s first animal shelter (Guyana has many, many, strays, hence all the road kill.) I took the initiative to force upon my family that we must name the other two dogs, or more simply put I named them. Scratch and Mamma is what I came up with, and puppy got a full name Princess Puppy but Puppy for short. Now if I can only get my host family to address the dogs by their correct sex. Like my old roommate Phil, they have an innate talent to call the males, she and the females he! It wouldn’t drive me crazy if they called them all he or she but the fact that they do the exact opposite?!?!?!?!

November (No deaths or depressing stuff this month, promise!):

November was a great month! To start with, out of nowhere, after working out alone in the gym around 5 days a week—people started to show up, 30-40 people from around 5-8 pm started to show up. Anywhere from ages of 15-35. I don’t expect this to last, due to my own traveling, lack of someone to help sustain it, and the overall lack of attention span in people, it’s just the first wave but I hope that there won’t be a big gap between the first and second.

The other great thing that went on for me this month was my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving!This year for Thanksgiving I traveled to Mabarumba where we have a few volunteers living and had a fantastic time. Mabarumba is in region 1 or the “Northwest” as it is often called and quite beautiful. It is rolling hills filled with incredible greenery. The only thing better then the scenery was the dinner. We had a turkey, gravy, green bean casserole, mash potatoes, my hot-pepper and cheese cornbread and so much more. At the dinner there was close to twenty of us, some a few PCVs, some World Teach volunteers and two Wings for Humanity families. Overall it was a great Thanksgiving that left me fully satisfied with a overly swollen belly.

Before I finish this post I will leave you with one last tid-bit. One of the anti-malaria pills we have the option of taking is called LariamÒ or more specifically, Mefloquine Hydrochloride.Why I bring this up is because after taking it for a while, I recently came across the Medication Guide for Lariam, which has been hidden in my room since training. Under the, “What is the most important information I should know about Lariam?” section, #2 reads:

Lariam can rarely cause serious mental problems in some patients.

I just want to take a second and thank Lariam for being so honest with us. I especially like the part where they write, “…some patients.” I never knew the word “Some” when used as an adjective could accurately describe a quantity, especially when the quantity deals with the number of people who experience side effects from taking this drug. For example, if they had written:

Lariam can rarely cause serious mental problems in patients.

I would feel more assured. Or what if they tried:

Lariam can rarely cause serious mental problems in most/many/majority patients.

Then I started thinking, what if we took this same assurance and applied it to other things.

Crack Coccaine can rarely cause burglary, loss of teeth and severe addiction insome users.

Alcohol can rarely cause domestic violence or physical abuse in some users.

Television can rarely cause extreme laziness in some watchers.

Racism can rarely cause discrimination in some people.

My blog can rarely cause boredom, chronic yawning and constant eye rolling in...Some readers!

These were just some things I thought of, but if you my reader can come up with some more I think it would be real fun to read them in my comments box.

Thanks for stopping in to read my blog again!



krystal said...

Thank you for that Dave, you are hilarious!! You are doing some great things! only 5 months left and your stateside.. Im so excited for you buddy!

Gail O said...

Good job Dave. As always, write more and more and more!

flip said...

It feels so good to be able to sit, relax, read your blog, and hear your voice come through your writing. I look forward to seeing you soon.