Monday, September 27, 2010

Another Birthday

Today may just be another day but it's also Zach's 25th birthday!
Just wanted to say happy birthday from Guyana.
It's crazy to think about his first birthday I was apart of, when he turned 19.

Thanks for all your support and friendship Zach! Hope you have a great birthday!
Camp Emerald Bay 2007

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Rasta Kitty Is All Grown UP

Rasta Kitty is going to have kittens soon. She is so big now. Yesterday I'm pretty sure she jumped out of Tim's and Chelsea's second story window...I guess she is super Rasta.
We are going to be gone in Georgetown for another week long conference, which we just might come home to find new kittens. I hope she does okay while we are away.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Chicken's Foot

One of the nurses said she wanted to make soup for lunch and asked everyone to pitch in and bring something. I was all for this, for one, I wouldn't have to worry about lunch that day and for two, I could learn how to make another soup. What I wasn't excepting was chickens foot!  When I found out she was cutting up chickens feet I thought to myself, "Ok Sara, you can do this, you haven't had to eat too many odd dishes".  But when I got my bowl of soup all I saw were 2 claws floating in the creamy broth, I just about gagged. I knew there was no way I was sticking a chickens foot in my mouth so I tried to pick a little piece off to say I at least tried was just mushy boiled skin, definitely not appetizing.   I took a few bites of the vegetables but then I was finished.  I knew I had to bring it home to share with the housemates and to take a picture.
Of course the nurses asked me what I thought and I was honest by saying the soup was tasty and I liked the eddo and plantains but I just couldn't eat the chickens foot (which they love). I tried to explain my phobia of eating meat with too much fat, skin, and bones but they just looked at me like I was crazy. 
 Even this picture makes me want to gag

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Baby Reg!

I love this little guy! He is just the cutest and I can't wait to meet him!
My mom and Amie got to visit him, Andrea, and Yoho and they sent me pictures (thanks Dan!). 

I'm so happy for Andrea. I know she is loving being a mommy!
I think he looks just like Ange in this picture!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

It's Hot

This heat is really wearing on me. It’s so hot (or as the locals say, “this place hot bad”) all the time.

I like to imagine the hot weather cooling down as fall is making its presence back home. I really do love this time of year, the change from summer to fall, with the crisp, cool air and the colors of red and orange invading the trees.
But that surely is not the case here in Guyana, in fact, I think it’s getting hotter, if that’s possible.

The heat takes so much out of me and tends to make me a little cranky, which I don’t enjoy. There are moments in my days where I just feel drained and would give anything for a bucket of ice water to soak in. Even after showering I still feel sweaty.

The other night as I crawled into bed and hoped to fall asleep quickly in order to avoid the noises outside (which didn’t happen) I wished so badly to be home. I wanted to squeeze my eyes shut and open them to find myself in my bed back home…to escape the reality of the roasting night ahead of me, to go to sleep without having to listen to dogs barking none stop, to not hear and feel loud music vibrating in my ears and bed, to wake up not worrying if there would be water to bathe with in the morning.

All of these things are in the distant future and right now I’m faced with the hotness and inconsistencies of Guyana, including much sweat. I just have to bare it.
The one thing that helps me get through these scorchers, besides water, is my fan. I am so grateful I live in a place with electricity, providing me with the pleasure of having a fan blow cool air my way.

I know I can deal with the heat and I think I would manage without electricity but the one thing I can’t imagine giving up is running water. I took running water for granted so much back home. I never had to worry about not having water come out of the faucet whenever I wanted. But here, that’s a whole other story… I’ve done without water before, when our tank was empty for a few days and to be frank it sucked.
Our tank was pretty empty the other night when I checked it so I turned the valve open but nothing was flowing through. I was annoyed. Luckily the next day the tank was filled.
We have one big tank (400 gallons) for 4 people and usually within 3 days it’s empty if we don’t constantly check and open the valve. Who knew 400 gallons of water only lasts 3 days?

Our water tank
that's how running water is piped into our house

In all actuality I really have nothing to complain about. There are many volunteers who serve and live in remote areas, who don’t have electricity, running water, refrigerators or toilets, let alone the Internet. It’s moments like these that really put things into perspective.

But it’s still hot.
Enjoying a little hammock time
and yes, the fan is blowing 5 inches away from me

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


I am so grateful I got to spend 4 days in Barbados!

It was a much-needed, incredible break.

It was interesting to experience the emotions of being away from Guyana and in a once more familiar life style; I was in a little state of shock the first night.

Before joining Peace Corps I took so many things for granted and although I’ve realized the joys of living a simple life, just being able to spend a few days in “normalcy” was so nice.

On the last night, as we were walking back from getting ice cream at Chilly Moos (like Coldstone) Chelsea and I were talking about life and the trip. I mentioned how it was probably one of the best vacations I’ve had, and I’ve been on some pretty cool trips. We started thinking about it and came to the conclusion that everything was a novelty… real restaurants, A/C, no bugs and bug bites, hot water, a washer and dryer, the blue ocean, swimming, not getting hassled and sipped at, a real grocery store, actually looking nice, not sweating like crazy, lattes, treats, TV, a mall, side walks, sewer systems…everything we’ve been without for the last 7 months. So of course it was an amazing vacation, it truly was so nice to enjoy those specialties! But it also showed us we really don’t need all that materialistic stuff, we are surviving just fine for now.

I love these pictures!

Flying over the island

At the airport, so excited for chia tea and bagels with cream cheese

Yay for blue ocean and white sand!

View from our condo

It was so nice

These nachos were so good!!


Saw old sunken ships

and sea turtles!!! 

I love being at the beach, especially in the Caribbean!

It was heavenly to straighten my hair :) 

Celebrating at a good Brazilian restaurant 

Princess and I in Bridgetown  

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

7 Months

What's better than celebrating 7 months in Peace Corps than going to Barbados? Nothing!

I went on a 4 day vacation with 3 other PC volunteers and had an incredible time! It was a much needed trip as we swam in the blue ocean, snorkeled with some sea turtles, walked around and swam in a cave, ate AMAZING food, and relaxed!

The trip made me appreciate this PC experience and my life so much!! I love my life!

This is just a sneak peak into my trip there's a whole lot more to come!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Mazaruni River Trip

I set out on my week long outreach river trip early Thursday morning. As I was crammed up against the bus window, watching the sunrise over the lush green scenery this sense of excitement and happiness washed over me; both excited and happy for the week ahead and to be a Peace Corps Volunteer. It was my first time venturing out alone and it felt really good, I felt grown up in this strange land.

When I reached the small airport I met the people I would be spending the next 6 days with; 5 of us in total, the coordinator, a doctor, a TB tester/educator, a HIV tester/counselor, and myself. It’s interesting how we started out as complete strangers but after working and spending practically every moment together we became a unit, friends. We all got along really well, even with a variety of personalities, and had a lot of fun and laughs.

It was my first time in a small 12 seater plane (there were less then 12 seats since some were taken out to fit cargo). The plane ride was incredible; I was blown away by the pristine green jungle below (all the tops of trees reminded me of broccoli). It only took an hour to reach our first destination, Kamarang. It was a small village basically populated around the airstrip. We didn’t work there it was just an over night stopping ground before we loaded up the boat and headed up the Mazaruni river. We stayed in the guesthouse and we all had our own rooms (I am talking about the rooms because as the trip went on our sleeping accommodations were not as cozy). It was nice to sleep in a cooler climate and wake up to see mist hovering among the trees. We ate breakfast and carried our boxes (which we had a lot of) down to the boat landing. The boat driver and two cooks accompanied us through out the trip, it was nice not having to worry about meals.

It was only an hour and half boat ride to the 1st village, Kako. Sitting in the boat with the hot sun shinning down I was looking up in the canopy of trees and saw 4 or 5 medium sized, long furred, red monkeys, it was probably the coolest thing I’ve seen yet!
We reached Kako, which was my favorite village because it was so clean, quiet and peaceful, probably do to the fact that it’s a dry (no alcohol) village. But I was blown away by how the Amerindian people live, they live very simply with no running water, electricity, or variety of food. Amerindians mostly eat cassava bread (a ground provision, crunchy flat bread) I didn’t see a lot of vegetable farms but did notice a lot of fruit trees, like banana, lemon, gava, papaya, pear (avocado) tangerine, and coconut. They get a lot of packaged food imported from Georgetown.
Anyway, we stayed 2 nights in Kako and stayed at the Health Post (center). It was a really nice health center and there were 2 rooms with 2 beds in each room so the 4 of us girls each got a bed and the coordinator (the only male) slept on a mattress on the floor.

Kako Village

Kako Health Center

Kako probably had the most patients; I helped the TB tester and gave a health talk on nutrition. It was a little difficult because their recourses are so limited so I talked about ways to reduce salt (i.e. cubes) and using what’s naturally available in the village.
I think if I go on another outreach trip I’ll plan ahead of time for health talks and talk more about sanitation/hygiene and safe drinking water.

From Kako we traveled to Jawalla and I saw more monkeys in the trees! We were in Jawalla for another 2 days and stayed at the health post. This time there was one room with 2 beds so myself and 2 other girls slept on mattresses on the floor. Jawalla was more lively (or bright has people call it). Alcohol is allowed there and I saw many young people drunk. There was loud music playing pretty much the whole time but thankfully the health post was a good distance from the “night life” that it didn’t bother me. Again, I helped the TB tester, not a lot of patients came so we had a lot of down time to just sit on the porch and talk, which was nice.

From Jawalla we made it to our 3rd village of Imbamadia, which was my least favorite village. It was a 2 hour boat ride and a long the way we saw many gold mining camps. Mining is probably the main means of employment in the interior, coast-landers (people from the coast or Georgetown) come into the villages and or camps to work. Imbamadia has many coats-landers living there and it’s very lively. Imbamadia is located on a mountain range, the sights were beautiful however, the village made me very sad because of the things that go on there.


Gold Mining

By this time I was ready to go “home”, I was really starting to miss my site and my family (housemates).
Our sleeping arrangements were not pleasant, we stayed in these wooden shacks that were gross and smelly, probably the grosses place I’ve ever slept. I shared a room/bed with one of the girls and I could feel bugs crawling on my feet. I didn’t sleep well and around 5:30am I couldn’t take it anymore so I got up and sat on the step out front of the room. The coordinator kept joking with me saying, “we’ll probably have to spent another night here”. I was so glad we didn’t run into any problems. We flew out of Imbamadia and I was so happy to be “home”, to take a shower, and sleep in my own bed!

I am glad I got to go on the trip and experience life in the interior. It was a huge eye-opener on so many levels. It also made me extremely appreciative and grateful to be living in an urban setting.

*It’s a strange feeling to call this place home but it is home for now.

Side note 1: We ate a lot of bake (deep fried bread) for breakfast and most nights we had biscuits (crackers) and tea (hot chocolate) for dinner. And as far as bathing went it was either bucket baths or just splashing water on, soaping up and slashing water to rinse off.
It reminded me a lot of camping.

Side note 2: For those of you who know me back home you know I like things to be well planned out and you know I like to know everything that’s going on. Being here I have had to let go of a lot of that and going into this trip I knew very little about what was going on, in fact, I didn't get a call until 3:30pm the day before we left with a time to be at the airport...I knew no one I was going with, I didn’t know where we were going or exactly what we would be doing. It’s weird to give up bits of myself but it’s molding me into a more flexible, go with the flow person.

The land of many waters