Sunday, May 30, 2010

Spa Day

Chelsea and I treated ourselves to an afternoon at the spa, a.k.a, the yoga room with homemade concoctions. We are so proud of ourselves for being creative, adventurous, and resourceful. First we started with a little strengthening yoga, which felt really good. We ended in savasana with cooling cucumbers over our eyes.
Then we applied our avocado face masque, made with avocado, lime juice and egg white. Next, we nourished our feet with a mixture of olive oil and sugar. The sugar and oil worked so well to soften our rough feet, we couldn’t believe how good they felt. Then we lathered our hands in oatmeal.
To top it of we painted each others toe nails in orange nail polish (colors of nail polish are limited here, we figured orange was the best bet out of bright red, brown and metallic blue). It looks better than we expected as it has a hint of gold.
It definitely was fun and refreshing to do something girlie! This just might become a once a month indulgence!
Avocado faces

Our set up

Doin' the sugar rub

Saturday, May 29, 2010

I just love the sky here

This cow was walking back and forth along the road and these 2 white birds were following it.
It reminded me of one of my favorite children books
"Are you my mother?"

Events of Flat Bird, 2 White Women & Jubilee

One of the nurses at work always speaks to me in Creoles, and I am pretty sure I always have a blank look on my face, as I do not understand the words that come out of her mouth. All the other nurses find this amusing. She tells me “ya gotta learn man” I usually respond, “I want to but you need to explain what you are saying and in what context you use it”.One of the many phrases she calls me is Flat Bird (or bord, as I hear it)…at first I had no idea what she meant by Flat Bird, I just went along with it…Then one day I was just sitting there and she came up and grabbed my head, tilted it the side, put some oil in my hair, and started braiding it.“What the heck?” ran through my mind. This is the lovely do she gave me, which everyone thought looked great…I’ll let you be the judge.

It was my intention to wear my hair like that home to show my housemates. But I couldn’t do it, the moment I walked out of the health center and was out of sight I took my hair down, braids still in place and my hair full of oil.
It turns out Flat Bird means “a girl with no style” but I think only that nurse uses that phrase because we asked other people what it meant and they had no idea what we were talking about. But I am fine with being a Flat Bird if that means I don’t get all decked out in spandex, high heels, plastic bright jewelry, and red lipstick.

On Tuesday night, since the following day was a holiday, we went out with some locals, which was good. We ended up out front of a bar/restaurant just hanging out and talking when we hear, “this is a story of two white women” Chelsea and I just looked at each other and started laughing. Let’s just say the lyrics were not really blog appropriate. We couldn’t believe what the song was implying, the funny part was people looked over at us and were laughing.

Wednesday was Guyana’s Independence Day and we were invited to go to Jubilee with some co-workers. We knew Jubilee had a water slide, which we were excited about.
We were told to be ready by 8am but we knew better and prepared ourselves for a little hammock time as we waited for the phone call. 9’oclock rolled around and we got the call to head to the shop around the corner since the bus was just crossing the bridge.Of course, we waited at the shop for a half hour before the big bus loaded with people appeared.

As the door opened I noticed there were 2 empty seats, 4 of us, and lots of items (mostly containers full of food) covering the aisle way …but we piled in and smalled up, placing bins of meat on our lap (poor Tim).

An hour and a half later we arrived at the entrance gate and we handed over our $1200 (a little over 5 bucks)/person admission fee. Meanwhile a gentleman started counting the number of persons on the bus, I think there were over 40 people, including small children.The guy said it was $40,000 ($200 U.S.) but the amount collected from everyone was $24,000 ($120) so they start hemming and hawing and arguing about how the kids should be free. Some people gave a little more money, but mostly they threaten to go somewhere else or just wait until they gave in and let us enter, without paying the full amount. Which is exactly what happened after 30 minutes of sitting there.

Needless to say, if nothing else is gained from this experience it’s definitely making me a more patient and tolerable person.
Once we unloaded the bus and found a spot to spend the day I had to take a moment, walking down to the water hole, to take a few deep breaths. The majority of the day went fine and the place was more than I expected. There were 2 water slides that dumped into a swimming pool, there were nice covered picnic tables, and the water hole had canoes and paddle boats to use.

Chelsea did however encounter a problem which was actually quite funny. She was walking into the pool area to go on the slide when they stopped her, telling her she could not wear her tank top down the slide because it was cotton, it was actually 100% spandex and there were so many other people wearing cotton. She argued but they did not listen. Determined as she is, she went back and walked up the stairs to the slide and the guy turned off the water and told she could not go down wearing her tank top. This held up the line and she kept telling them to read her tag and that spandex is not cotton, finally they listened to her and turned the water back on…way to go Chels!

Chelsea & Tim

Around 5:00pm we packed up and headed out.When we got home we were all super tired and called it a night.
I have definitely learned to expect some type of fiasco whenever on an outing. But I’ve also learned it’s how I deal with those events…

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Things I Miss...

Over the weekend Chelsea and I stayed the night with some fellow volunteers. It was so good to see them, hear about their experiences over the past month and a half, and see where they live. As we were all talking, the topic of things we miss back home was brought up, along with "we can't believe this is our life right now". Then someone shared some positive insight, "all the things we miss so much will be there when we return, how many chances will we have to do something as crazy as being a Peace Corps Volunteer?" This is totally true. I did however, want to share of the things I miss...
1. Mexican food followed by tortilla chips (oh what I would give)
2. Washing machine and dryer
3. Grocery stores/ health food stores
4. Sidewalks
5. A/C
6. Driving
7. Living trench free
8. Doing my hair/actually getting ready
9. Watching the seasons change (I love spring time when everything is new and blooming)
10. Not being an alien
I miss warm showers too but not as much as other things, the cold water usually feels good seeing as I am hot and sweaty all the time
Of course I miss my family and friends like crazy, that's probably the hardest thing about being here.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

24 and in Guyana

Today I celebrated my 24th birthday!! It was a great day, thank you to everyone who made it special! Thank you for all the birthday packages, cards, phone calls and wishes! I will admit it was different not being with my family but I am so grateful for my awesome housemates, who celebrated with me and who made it a true Guyanese birthday. I am feeling good about being 24 and I am so grateful for my life and everyone in it.

This afternoon I came home, laid in my hammock and finished a book (finally). Later, I went up stairs to see what Chelsea was up to...from the front door I could smell something delicious. She was baking me cake cookies and to show how awesome she truly is, she went out and found my favorite frosting, Rainbow Chip. I was so surprised and so happy :)

Later when the boys were home, I opened my presents...a bottle of Guyanese mango wine, a huge chocolate bar, which should last me a good few weeks, a hand made card, a top up card (phone credit) and prepaid laundry service! Chelsea stopped at the laundromat and paid for my next washing of sheets and towels, so nice!!

Then we headed off to Ali Baba's (that's what we call it) to have dinner. It's this new night club/ restaurant that opened shortly after we moved in and it totally looks like something from Aladdin, all painted in purple and gold. It was actually quite nice and we were the only people there. We ate outside on the patio and had a good time! Thanks Chelsea, Tim & Tony!


Thank you for making my birthday special!

Aladdin's Palace

Yes, that's fried fish & ice with my beer

A great birthday!
Here's to another year!
Love & Peace

Peanut Butter

Being in Guyana has made me fall in love with peanut butter. It's probably one of my main staples, it's so yummy!! Thank goodness Chelsea and I walk everyday :) I usually make a banana, peanut butter smoothie for breakfast. But my favorite thing with peanut butter, so far...whole wheat flax roti and crunchy peanut butter--it's simply delicious! I am proud of myself making whole wheat roti. I made some for my supervisors...I knew they were going to laugh at me because my roti is thick, kind of like a pita, while theirs is thin like a tortilla. But they liked it and I was happy to share some thing different with them.

I have decided, along with the help of my housemates, to make a blog solely dedicated to our cooking experiences and recipes while living in Guyana. I hope to have it up just now*wink*

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Home Sweet Home

Our House!Made into 3 separate apartments
Chelsea & Tim live up stairs
I live in the front bottom half & Tony lives in the back bottom half
My bedroom
still living out of my suitcase and I have rope as my of these days hopefully I'll get something to put my clothes in
The boats I take across the river

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Losing My Hair

I have been losing a lot of hair and it's freaking me out. My hair has gotten noticeably thinner as I run my hands through my hair and strands come out. I am wondering if anyone has any suggestions? I talked to the PC doctor and she said it's not due to any fungal infection. I think it's the water that's piped in to my house from the river. I have started to collect and use rain water to wash my hair with, I remember reading rain water was good for the hair? I don't know what to do, I feel I am eating pretty well and I don't feel I am really stressed out. I don't want to cut my hair short but I also don't want to go bald. Any suggestions??

Conquering Georgetown

May 13, 2010

We had some important business to take care of in G’town, signing up and paying for Internet to be installed in our house! So Chelsea and I ventured off to town on a Wednesday. As we were walking to the bus park, a man on his bike stopped us. It turned out to be the mailman and he had package slips for me, YAY! Seeing as it was a Wednesday, and we should have been at work, we left our house later than normal allowing us to run into the mailman, if we would have missed him who knows when I would have gotten the slips. I love seeing how everything happens for a reason! Which has been happening a lot lately.
**Side note: In order to pick up packages we have to go to the post office Monday, Wednesday, Friday between the hours on 10:30am and 12pm when the customs person is there. Meaning we either take the morning off of work or leave early just go to the post office, but that’s OK, it usually takes a while too.
Anyway, it was 9am and we couldn’t wait until 11:00 to start heading to G’town so I said, I would get my packages on Friday, something to look forward to!
We were off yet again with the intention of making the day a good day, as going to Georgetown is still a little overwhelming for us. We got on a newer bus, it was nice and crowed. We sat in the very back, which was kind of like sitting in an air tunnel. Chelsea was really sweet and showed me how to set up a monthly and weekly budget plan, it’s my goal to master how to budget and save as much money as I can here. Meanwhile, I peeped every time the driver swerved the bus over into the other lane and I saw a car coming at us in the not so near distance.
We made good timing and arrived at the G’Town crazy car park in about one hour and 20 minutes. We made a plan to hurry into a taxi and go straight to the Internet place. We found a taxi, Chelsea told the driver where we needed to go, he didn't seem to know what we were talking about so she gave him the address and he sais OK. He drove us around for a while and we ended up in front of a school supply shop and he says, “I think this is the place you are talking about”, when the name on the billboard is no where close to the name of the business we were looking for. Chelsea says "Ok cool man, thanks” and hands him $400 ($2 U.S.). We got out and went inside to ask for directions, they told us we could walk there. So we start walking in the direction we just came from. About 4 blocks back we arrive at our destination. Everything went smoothly with signing up for the Internet, which we were really pleased with. The lady said it would take 3 weeks for someone to come install our satellite, then she said there was a van going to Linden on Friday and maybe we would get lucky and have it up and running in 2 days. We hoped for the latter.
Chelsea and I left the Internet store feeling confident and ready to continue our adventure in Georgetown. We walked to a computer store and then to the Peace Corps office, where we ate lunch, picked up our mail, and talked to other volunteers. We had a nice surprise, two GUY22ers were in the building and it was so good to see and talk to them. It’s reassuring to know other people from our group are going through similar experiences and frustrations.
After lunch we walked to a few more stores to get some groceries and household items, things are a little cheaper in G’town. I was so excited to get a 10 pack of Kellogg’s travel size cereals. It was a reasonable price ($650 G, $3.23 U.S.) since they expired the next day. I didn’t realize how much I missed cereal!
Once we were spent we headed back to PC headquarters to meet with our Project Manager. It was good to talk to her; she was supportive and gave many suggestions on how to make things a little more structured. It was so good to see other staff members as well.
It was later than we expected and so we head back to the bus park, piled into another crowded bus and headed home.

Chelsea and I conquered Georgetown!

Here are a few rules we came up with for traveling to Georgetown:
1.Always look for a full bus when ready to transport
2.Don’t wear a skirt
3.When crossing the street look to your right and left, then right and left again
4.When at a cross walk and not sure if it’s safe to cross wait for another (local) person to cross first
5.Make sure your taxi driver knows the place you are heading to before getting into the car, if he seems hesitant he probably doesn’t know what you are talking about

Good News, we did get the internet installed on Friday!!! We now have internet in our home, which we are all happy about!!


Friday, May 14, 2010

This is Guyana

Our side of the river

Rasta Kitty

She is such a joy to have here!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Ray of Sunshine

Good day,
It is another rainy afternoon here, yesterday I walked home in the rain and my skirt was soaked! I HAVE to do laundry tonight, we'll see how many days it's going to take to dry!
This morning Chelsea and I went for our walk and as we were speed walking and squirming the big trucks going by we hear this little cry for help "MEOW" we look down to see a baby kitten on the side of the road in a small patch of grass. Chelsea and I both looked at each other and knew this little one was coming home with us. We could not believe how bony and small he was. He is the cutest thing and actually quite lovable. When we got home Chelsea spoon fed him some milk, which he drank a lot of and I gave him some tuna. It doesn't even weigh one pound. We have named him Rasta, we thought that was appropriate. We are excited to have this little guy apart of our Linden family!
The health center has been frustrating me a little and today I found myself questioning "What am I doing here?" I was then handed a new-born baby to hold while the mother got examined. I fell in love with this baby, I can't wait to be a mother...but I know my time will come. I know there is a reason why I am here in Guyana, although it's hard to always remember that. I will admit I love the feeling of walking through my front gate everyday, knowing I am home!
Tomorrow is a holiday (Indian arrival day) and I am so excited to relax and see where the day takes me.
Peace & Love