Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Roomies with our site packets!

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Pomeroon

March 14, 2010
Today was an awesome journey! We went up the Pomeroon. The Pomeroon is a river community that stretches for miles and it’s beautiful. We (my host family and friends) piled into a boat (keep in mind that these are not like the boats I am use to, they are made of wood, really low, and don’t go that fast) and cruised all day stopping at different house along the way. The first house we stopped at had a monkey as a pet. I couldn’t believe it! Although, I felt bad for the little guy because he was tied by a rope so he couldn’t go far and he was mean. From there we went to another house that’s owned by a guy from Canada and his Guyanese wife. They just built it and it was so nice, it totally looked like an American house and it was beautiful with an amazing view. Then we went to another house where we had coconut water and stood in the rain, which was awesome!
Next came the jungle river cruise/ Indiana Jones experience! We went up a side of the river that totally reminded me of the jungle cruise ride at Disneyland (minus the animals) it was incredible! I kept thinking to myself, “I can’t believe I am experiencing this right now!” At the end we came to a little village, which an organization just build new houses for the people who live there. It was actually a cute community and everyone who lives there has their own garden and they trade food with one another. Someone said there was a place not far where people find skulls and other bones. So of course we went and it was really something! We walked through the rain forest/jungle and every few steps our feet would sink into the mud. We didn’t walk far but we came to this clearing where there were a lot of fallen trees and this guy stared digging and found some bones, parts of a skull and ones that looked like back bones or a part of the knee. I think those bones are from hundreds of years ago but no one knows why or what happened. When we returned to the village someone called us over to show us a skull they found that morning. It was the whole thing including teeth; it was extremely neat to see. This adventure has been the best so far and I can’t believe I live here.
On Saturday was our culture day with the PC trainees, staff, and host families. It was at the lake and it was a lot of fun. I amazed myself and participated in the fashion show. Actually my host mom volunteered me and she dressed me really nice in Indian wear, which all of the other girl participants were also wearing. I let her doll me up and I strutted down the stage and did some twirls and I ended up winning! I was pretty impressed with myself.

Friday, March 12, 2010

A long one

The Indo-Guyanese celebrate Phagwah, the celebration of spring and they do this with colored powder. I was on my host volunteer visit (HVV) during Phagwah so I was not sure I would get to experience it but luckily I did. The only information I got prior to March 1st was get ready for colored powder and to wear something white that could get dirty. It was actually quite fun and very different from anything we do in the States. First we (myself, another trainee, and our host volunteer) went to the Mandir and watched the end of the service then everyone played Phagwah. People came up and blessed us with powder, they smeared it on our face, head, arms, and clothes. Some people pour water on you and it stains your cloths, skin, and hair. Then from the Mandir we went to a few houses to watch and listen to people sing and play instruments. It was a good day and we met a lot of neat people and we looked like a rainbow.

5th Grade for a day
During my HVV my fellow trainee and me went to the primary school for a day to see what working in a school is like in Guyana, since most of the sites are education. We were under the impression of just observing for a few hours. I am really grateful for the opportunity to see a school because it’s nothing like I am use to. The school holds grades 1-6 and it’s not like back in the states where there are classrooms. There is on big room divided by chalkboards separating the different grades. Anyway, we were talking with the 6th grade teacher because we were suppose to watch her class and she asked us if we wanted to teach the 5th grade class since their teacher was sick. They do not have substitute teachers here so the students either sit without a teacher all day or they might join another class, like the 6th grade class. So we decided to take the challenge, neither one of us have much teaching experience but we felt bad for the kids and thought it would be better for us too instead of just observing we would really get a feeling for being a teacher. There was no lesson plan or any idea what they children were learning so we asked them what they wanted to do and they said read so we had them read a story aloud. Then we did some math (multiplication), which didn’t go over too well, so we moved on to another story, some spelling, writing, notation, and of course P.E. I took some kids to the world map and I asked, “Where’s Guyana?” and they just stared at the map not sure where it was located. Then I showed them were we came from, Los Angeles and Seattle. These kids were so cute! They called us “Miss”, “Miss Sara, is this right?” I know I would like to work in a school because of the kids. After we read a story about someone going to a party we asked them to take some time and write about a time they went to a party or celebration. They seemed confused so we wrote on the board, “What, When, Why” when they turned in their papers I noticed instead of writing about a celebrating that they experienced they wrote invitations…”Dear cousin, please come to my birthday party in April. My mom will cook a lot of food and it will be fun. Hope to see you there”. I guess we really confused them!

You must have a sense of humor! I have been going through serious exercising withdraws so I figured since I am feeling more comfortable here I would venture out at 5am to run before it gets too hot. Of course I asked my host mom if she thought it was OK and she said yes. I asked my host brother if he wanted to join me and he said sure. So Monday morning I woke up at 5am (without setting my alarm, I am getting good at waking up on my own) and I was excited to go run. I went down stairs and said good morning to my host mom, who was already cooking. She said she was going to wake him up to go with me and I said it’s OK to let him sleep, but she did it anyways. So he got on his bike while I started to run. A few minutes later I heard him say, “Where are you going? Just to the bridge” Alright, the bridge is not far at all, just past a few houses, I thought, “what the heck?” So I turned around and ran back to the house. He told me to just run to the bridge and back a few times so that’s what I did. I was not out long at all. I just found it so amusing. But I was thankful I got to run for a few minutes. Exercising is not really done here and if it is it’s not for long. So I am hoping once I am on my own and start walking/running in my community I will be able to get others to join me.

Food and Questions
I don’t know if I am just being paranoid but I feel my arteries clogging. There is too much fried food!!!! I can’t take it any more. This morning I had fried plantains for breakfast and for dinner I had bake and dhal (bake is fried bread and dhal is like pea soup). I don’t want to be rude so I eat, but I don’t eat it all. I don’t think I have ever wanted a salad so badly in my life. I am sure many of you are wondering how my time with the hot dogs have been going, yes, I am still getting hot dogs. Not so much any more for breakfast but in my lunch. Up there is an up side to the hot dogs, other trainees love them and are jealous I get them so I usually trade people. It’s quite funny how we all missing lots of different types of food. I think we are going to get very creative with our meals when we are on our own…trying to make American food with Guyanese ingredients.
I gave my first health talk today at a health center on Diabetes and Hypertension (my least favorite subject). But it went well for being my first one and without any visual aids or anything like that. I am stilling a hard time with the language barrier, when they asked me questions and we have a difference in phrasing questions which makes it ever more confusing. I am just glad people were interactive with the presentation and asked questions.
I wanted to share a comment I have gotten more than once, which I find interesting. I got there early and I was talking to these older gentlemen they asked the typical questions…what am I doing here? Where am I from? How long will I be here? How do I like Guyana? (I get that one ALL the time). But this is my favorite…”How you liking Guyana?” I respond, “I like it, it’s beautiful, the people are really friendly, the food is tasty, and I love the hot weather” Then they ask, “You like it here more than America? You want to move here for good?” I say, “I don’t know, I really miss my family, I don’t think I can be this far from them forever”. Then they say, “America really nice, you want to be here and me want to be in America” Then I usually say “Yeah” and laugh.