Saturday, February 26, 2011



Camp Emerald Bay Summer 2007

For those of you who know me, you know I have a hard time letting go of things, although, I like to think I'm getting better at this.  
Maybe it's being cooped up in my house and bored that has me reminiscing over the years or maybe it's the fact that I'm getting old (I mean I'm going to be 25 in May...eeek!).  Either way, I've been looking back on my life (through pictures) and I'm just so grateful for all the wonderful, fun experiences I've had so far.  I've done quite a lot in my short 24 years of life. 
I was going to post pictures and lists all the moments that stick out most but than this would be a very long post. So I'll keep it short by saying that I simply love my life and I can't wait to see what else life has in store for me!

Friday, February 25, 2011


February 23rd marks Guyana's Republic Day, or better known as Mashramani (or Mash for short). The word "Mashramani" is derived form the Amerindian language and means "a job well done". It's a big celebration consisting of parades, costumes, lots of music, food, and color. Basically the whole month of February is dedicated to Mash.

I don't know if you remember my post about Mash from last year so I'll recap a little--it was my third week in country and my host family said we were going to watch the parade. Long story short we didn't just watch the parade we were in the parade and I thought I was going to lose my hearing. I was not thrilled about this, in fact I had thoughts of calling it quits right then and there (I'm glad I didn't).  It was the day I realized I had to just go with the flow.

Last week Chelsea called me asking if I wanted to join her and some Peer Educators in the Mash parade in Georgetown. I flat out told her, "No, I did my time in a parade last year and this year I'm going to be a spectator". She along with Becky and Princess took part in the parade with the Ministry of Health while myself and a few other volunteers sat in the stands and took pictures. Overall, it was a fun day.
Chelsea, Becky and Princess were great sports wearing silly costumes and it was nice hanging out with friends.

Linden is doing their own Mash thing, today was the parade for the school kids and Sunday is going to be Linden's big Mash parade and party. Supposedly, Mash started in Linden 41 years ago.
I went on the road this morning to see the kids. I just love the little nursery school kids, especially the ones I know, they are so dang cute! I'm so glad I work a little in the schools. It was fun to see them in the parade but a little difficult to get good pictures, oh well.

It's pretty cool to experience Mash for a second time and this year I enjoyed it much better than last year.

February 23rd Georgetown Mash
National Volunteers

Becky with a big nose on her head and a No Smoking sign 


February 25th Mash school kids parade in Linden
I love Kamar (left) 

So pretty
So colorful

Sunday, February 20, 2011

59 Days...

....Until I touch down in the good ol' USofA! And I am so excited!

I decided to make a paper chain to count down my days. I'll tell you, any little thing to bring me closer to my vacation home helps.  I'm excited to watch my chain get shorter and shorter with each passing day.
I didn't really have anywhere to hang it so I guess this works

Every time I talk to mom & Dan and Dad & Berna we talk about how excited we all are that I'm coming home. We talk about food, places to go, and people to see.  I love that they are just as excited as I am! Love you guys!

So I basically have 3 weeks home and I'm visiting 3 different states; there's so much I want to do, but ultimately I just want to relax and enjoy my time with friends and family that I haven't seen in over a year.

I fly from Guyana on April 20th and arrive in Salt Lake City late that night. I'll be in Utah until April 29th. While I'm in Utah the number one thing I'm looking forward to is meeting baby Reggie! And of course hanging out with Andrea, but I want to hold that baby so badly.  
I'm excited to be home for Easter and all the Easter candy! I'm sure we'll do something nice for Easter Sunday.  Mom has made many doctor appointments for me and Dan has already said he is taking me for a motorcycle ride. I love Utah in the spring time and I'm hoping to go on a few hikes and spending a day up in Park City.  Also, there are new restaurants mom and Dan have planned to take me...I can't wait! I'm also hoping to practice yoga with mom since she'll be a certified yoga instructor by then :)

From Utah I'm driving to Las Vegas (from April 30th-May 2nd) for my cousin Holly's wedding!! I'm really looking forward to this for a few reasons...
#1, I'll finally get to see dad, Berna, and Amie (and I'll be meeting her boyfriend). It's going to be so good hugging all of them!!
#2, I'll get to see so much family.  It's going to be like a big family reunion and also, I'll be there for Holly's big day!
#3, I'll be in Vegas! I love Vegas and we are going to have so much fun together!

After Vegas I'm driving to California (May 2nd-May 8th). There are so many people I'm excited to see in Cali! Dad's birthday is May 3rd and I'm so happy I'll be there to celebrate with him. I'm also excited to stay with dad and Berna, I'm hoping for some crepes, biscuits & gravy, tacos and chips & salsa (I'll probably eat that the whole week!).  I hope to spend a day in LA and I HAVE to see the beach. 

Then I drive back to Utah and fly back to Guyana on May 10th. I know my time home is going to fly by but I can't wait for my days home!!! It's going to be amazing!

Friday, February 18, 2011

GUY 23's Arrival

On Tuesday myself and a bunch of other Guy22ers went to the airport to greet the new group, Guy 23! It was a fun experience to see the newbies walk out from the terminal and being welcomed with cheers, claps, and coconuts. For me, that whole process a year ago seems like a blur.  It's surreal to know a new group of trainees are here and now we are able to help them get acquainted with PC Guyana.

We had a lot of fun waiting for the newbies!

Chels and I are integrated
The sorting of the begs and trying to get to know each other

Welcome Guy23!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Alter Ego Party

In celebration of Guy22 being in Guyana for one year our friend Megan hosted an alter ego was a lot of fun and good to be with a majority of our group.

Chelsea and I went all out for our alter egos as Super Heroes!
It was a lot of fun getting our awesome outfits and making our capes and masks.

Sassy Silver & Glamorous Gold

All the girls...

...And Tim. How creepy does he look?
Way to go Tim!


It was a good night!

And now I have a gold dress, gold shoes, and a cape to bring home! 

Monday, February 7, 2011

12 Months

A year ago I flew into the land of many waters and was welcomed by lush green jungle and humidity.

I can’t believe I’ve been in Guyana for one year now. It doesn’t seem possible. It has definitely been a challenging, different, crazy, good year. One I’ll never forget.

My first year in review:
Flew from LAX to JFK. Met my fellow Guy22ers. Arrived in Guyana after not sleeping for 33 hours. Took a swim test in black water. Ate some different food. Met and lived with my host family for 2 months. Sat in a pink church for 8 weeks of training doing skits and a bunch of group work. Felt like a stranger in a strange land. Missed my host family’s house on the way home from training, panicked, cried, laughed. Got served a hot dog for breakfast. Tried to learn how to cook Guyanese food. Drank a lot of rum. Tried to figure out what people were saying to me. Got eaten alive by mosquitoes. Listened to chutney and soca music. Learned how to flag down taxis and minibuses. Attended Manduir. Walked in the Mash parade. Got colored powder thrown all over me. Became an official Peace Corps Volunteer. Moved to my site with Tony, Chelsea, and Tim. Learned how to live with 3 other people in an unfamiliar community. Went to work at the health center. Sat for hours in the health center wondering about my "job". Became comfortable walking around town and going to the market. Got to know market vendors. Experimented with new foods and how to cook them. Started walking every morning with Chelsea. Sat by candle light during a storm.  Came to love my hammock time. Read lots of books. Completed and presented my Community Diagnostic report. Consulted with women and men about nutrition. Measured and charted children’s growth every week. Done food demonstrations for the elderly club. Started teaching 6th grade health 3 days a week. Read to the nursery school kids once a week. Stared working in the hospital kitchen with the hopes of helping them make healthier food for the patients. Started working with Chelsea on Be Safe and “Ready or Not”.  I’ve finally come to understand what people are saying. I've washed my laundry by hand every week. And I've sweated and sweated and sweated.
I went on a week-long river out reach trip. I spent 5 amazing days in Barbados. I’ve been to Kaiteure and Iwokrama. I had my family come visit for Thanksgiving.
I’ve questioned what I’m doing here. I’ve been homesick. I’ve been depressed.
I’ve loved it here. I’ve learned to accept things I’ll never understand. I’ve opened my heart and mind. I’ve experienced personal growth. I’ve gained confidence in being a Peace Corps Volunteer.
I’ve met great people. I’ve made new friends. I’ve been so grateful for the friendship, support, and understanding of my fellow PCVs. I’ve had moments that have truly touched my heart. I have a greater love for life. I’ve gained patients and now know how important it is to go with the flow. I’ve really come to appreciate where I come from and all I’ve experienced in life so far.
I truly am blessed and grateful for this past year.
I'm looking forward to the next 14 months and all that's still ahead of me.

Fresh off the plane

One year later...hanging out in the PC lounge

We've all come so far!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

One Year Ago

One year ago today I hugged and kissed mom and Amie good-bye and started for my new adventure. I can’t believe that was a year ago…I was looking through my first journal entries and I want to share the one from February 5th 2010…

[I wrote this on my flight to JFK]

Mom and Amie dropped me off at LAX early this morning, I was full of emotion and it was hard to say good-bye to them. It really didn’t hit me what I am doing—moving to South America for 2 years—until I was sitting at the gate. I had thoughts like, “this is crazy”, “I’m going to be gone for 2 years”, “it’s going to be a different world” but I know this is going to be good for me. I feel that I am ready for this long, scary, unknown adventure. I am excited. I’m expecting it to be difficult and frustrating but also very rewarding. I am excited to meet my fellow Peace Corps Volunteers and it brings comfort knowing I’m not all alone in this.
2 years is a long time but I know it’s going to go by fast.
This is going to be a great experience and I’m grateful for this opportunity.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Lights. Camera. Action.

Happy February!!

I’m so excited for this month! For starters, it’s the shortest month. Second, in a few days I’ll be celebrating my one-year in Guyana. And C, in 14 days the new group of volunteers arrive! It’s going to be a very busy month.

Today has been a great day. Chelsea and I finished recording our segment for “Ready or Not”, our monthly health TV program. And Chris, a GUY21er interviewed us for a documentary he is doing for Peace Corps’ 50th anniversary, which is next month.

He is interviewing both volunteers and Host Country Nationals about Peace Corps, life in Guyana, what it’s been like for people working with Americans, what have we learned about working with Guyanese, our struggles, the bizarre foods we’ve eaten and much more.
The interview was a huge eye opener that I really am learning and growing from this experience. Sure it’s not always easy, but life isn’t easy. I’m proud to be here and I know I’m going to think back on this time in my life often. I’ve come to see the true beauty that is Guyana, especially within the people. I’ve come to accept the island time mentality. I’ve learned that no matter what it’s important to keep and open mind and heart. Above all I’ve gained confidence and self-awareness.
I can’t wait to see the finished product of the documentary and hope to share it with you.

Chris interviewing Chelsea

Filming the rest of “Read or Not” was fun.
I discussed Go, Grow, and Glow foods and had three different food demonstrations prepared to show meals containing foods from the 3 categories. Chelsea interviewed me asking me questions about the different food groups and why it’s important to incorporate all 3 into each meal. I also talked about the importance of eating the right portion size and why people need to watch how much salt, fat, and sugar they consume. It was a successful take.

Then I displayed each meal, talked about it and had a local person try the food.
I demoed oatmeal with milk, a little sugar and raisins, expressing that this breakfast choice is full of Go, Grow, and Glow foods. I had a young woman be my ginnie pig, she was a good actress and said it was good for the camera but when he stopped filming she spit it out. I thought it was funny because here we are trying to give people healthier meal options but she didn’t like it. A common breakfast food here is porridge and people drink it, it’s mostly flour, sugar, and milk so my oatmeal was definitely different than what she and most people are use to.

For a healthy lunch option we made cook-up rice (rice, beans, coconut milk, and veggies) I love cook-up but I made some alterations by not using cubes, meat, and added more veggies. I didn’t want to put meat in my cook-up to tell people that rice and beans together makes a complete protein meaning you don’t necessarily need meat in order to get your protein and I referred to this as a good choice for vegetarians. The young man who tried my cook-up said it was fine just not salty enough, which allowed me explain why I don’t cook with cubes or a lot of salt.

Then I had him try our snack of whole wheat bread with peanut butter and slices of banana on top. First, we actually had a little girl try this snack. She stuffed a small square of the bread in her mouth, chewed a little but didn’t swallow. We asked her if she wanted to spit it out and she shook her head yes. So I guess this is a snack little kids won’t like. But the guy who tried it for us on camera said he liked it. Overall, the whole thing was good and funny and I’m sure people are going to think we are just crazy. It will be interesting to see what people say after the show airs.

Explaining the foods I used for cook-up

Trying the cook-up

Waiting for his thoughts