So far I’ve endured the bus and speed boat journey to Georgetown (the capital of Guyana), I’ve met with the Ministry of Public Health, I’ve become friends with a few merchants at the market, I’ve shadowed midwives at the health center in my township, I’ve proposed a few project ideas related to child nutrition and cooking, and I’ve observed a day at the nursery. But for the most part, this is what my days in Guyana have looked like:
In the morning, I am woken up around 6am to an alarm clock of birds singing, dogs barking, roosters crowing, cars honking, babies crying, and peas cooking. Once I’ve had a moment to really get up, I crawl out of my mosquito net and start boiling my water for coffee. Most people in Guyana drink “tea” which could be Milo, Ovaltine, or actual tea if you say “tea bag”. I was fortunately placed in a home where coffee is an important part of their day because having coffee withdrawals is one less thing I have to worry about.
For breakfast, I usually eat “Chana” (seasoned chickpeas), toast, a boiled egg, or whatever I’m having for lunch. It doesn’t take me long to get ready in the morning, but I like being able to talk with my host mom in the kitchen or watch the news with my host dad before heading to training.
At about 8am, I walk out to the main road and wait for a hired car (kind of like a taxi) to pick me up. From where I live, it’s about a 15 minute drive to the training site, which costs me about $140GD one way (about 75 cents). I love these drives. Not only do I get a perfect breeze and a beautiful sunrise, but I get to listen to different music everyday that varies from Caribbean jams to Celine Dion. It’s a perfect way to start my day.
Pre-Service Training (PST) runs from 8:30am until about 4:00pm. Some days we’re done earlier and some days (unfortunately) we get done much later. Everyday is different, but the people are all the same and they’re pretty great. I feel very fortunate to learn and work beside incredibly hilarious, inspiring human beings.
I like to hang out by the sea wall or go on a walk before I go home. Let me just say, I couldn’t have been matched with a better host family. I live with two young parents in their 30s with two wild children. Once I get home, I take a cold shower and gaff (which means “to chat or talk) with my host mom before we start cooking dinner. It’s no surprise that this is my favorite part of the day , but I’ll save that for another post.
Around 6 or 7, my host dad comes home from work at his barber shop and we eat. Our evenings are never the same–we’ll watch a movie, play cards, go to a Chinii (Creolese word for Chinese) restaurant, or sometimes get Rum Raisin ice cream down the street.
For the rest of the night, I’m usually out on my hammock in the veranda (the front porch) to relax. The cool air does my body and soul some good after a long day. When the kids settle down, my host mom will join me and we’ll gaff the night away (sometimes with rum and cake) until we become weary.
By 9 or 10, I’m ready to crawl back under my mosquito net and wait until it all begins again the next morning.
Guyana is more beautiful than I imagined. Everything is green and lush and so full of life. Like any country, it has its problems and everyday I learn about their needs. However, I’ve only been here a month so I’m still trying to figure out a normal life in Guyana. I will say though, I’m clapping Roti like I’ve been here forever… so there’s that.