Thursday, February 17, 2011

I'm here!

This is huge, and I don’t even know where to start.  I’M IN GUYANA.  It’s Day 3 of training, and I’m sitting in an air-conditioned hotel room in Georgetown, the capital city and home to 1/3 of the country’s 750,000 people.   We haven’t been out of the hotel at all, except for a brief trip on a minibus to a riverside park for our water safety test.  Immediately we could feel the “fishbowl effect”—though some Guyanese people paid us no mind, others were videotaping us and taking pictures.  This will take some getting used to.

I have to be up in five hours for breakfast, so I don’t have time for a long post, but good news: my training site, St. Cuthbert’s Mission, is classified as remote, but it DOES have internet access, at least during the four hours a day when the village has electricity.  It’s a small Amerindian (that is, Native South American) community of about 300 families where I’ll be learning about Guyanese culture by living with a host family.  During my eight weeks there, I will also have a 9-to-5 schedule of training activities, both in a classroom setting and through hands-on practicum experiences.  I even have homework!

There is so much more to tell about—the awesome people that I’m training with, the delicious food (and constant supply of fresh juice!), the odd exchange rate (my living stipend is 40,000 Guyanese dollars a month, any guesses on how much that is in American money?), and everything I’ve learned from my sessions thus far and my conversations with the current Volunteers who are helping with our training.  However, these are things best discussed at hours other than 2AM, especially since tomorrow is a big day!  We’re moving from the hotel in Georgetown to our training sites, where we’ll meet our host families for the first time.  Expect to hear all about St. Cuthbert’s in my next post!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

My Mailing Address

I promised an FAQ's post, but the last week has been crazy and I don't know if I'll have time to write it before I leave.  (TOMORROW!!)  So, here's my mailing address so you can send me letters and other fun stuff!

Kelly Cahill, PCT
Peace Corps
PO Box 101192
Georgetown, Guyana
South America

This is only my address for my first two months in the country. After that I'll move from my training site to my permanent site, and my address will change.  I will post the new one up here as soon as I can.

It takes letters about two weeks to get from the States to Guyana, and about a month for them to get from Guyana to the U.S. So be patient, I will write back! 

Make sure to write "air mail" on the envelope otherwise it will be sent even slower. Other info on mailing stuff through the US postal service is here:

Don't send me packages, it will be really, really expensive. If you must send me a package for some reason, you can send it through FedEx, DHL International, etc. instead of the post office, in which case you need to send it to the street address instead of the PO Box. The street address for the Peace Corps is 33A Barrack Street, Kingston, Georgetown, Guyana.

That's all for now I guess, I've still got a lot to do tonight! I'm flying to Philly tomorrow for orientation and my emotions right now are all over the place. Thank you to everyone who has made time to see me these past few weeks, I will miss you all more than I can say.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The situation on the ground with 12 days to go...

I'm in the process of constructing a thorough (and time consuming) "FAQ's" post, but in the meantime, I thought I'd share a few developments.

I finally started packing!  I have 90% of my clothes already packed in one suitcase, and it weighs less than 30 pounds!  I'm glad, because the less my clothes weigh, the more my books can weigh...and the idea of going two years with only a handful of books in my possession is saddening.

Speaking of books, another Peace Corps volunteer recommended an awesome website called  Project Gutenberg.  It's full of free ebooks that you can download for a Kindle or just to read on your laptop.  The catch is, they're all books published before 1923, because the copyright has to expire for free distribution to be legal.  Personally, I'm a fan of books with pages, but I do have those luggage requirements to think this'll certainly do.  I downloaded a dozen books, and I'm especially looking forward to reading Les Misérables and The Wasteland.

Finally, I'm getting involved with a Peace Corps journal project called Snapshots of Service. Two journals will be mailed between 50 Peace Corps volunteers in all different regions, countries, and areas of work, with each volunteer contributing two journal entries over the course of their two years of service.  It'll be awesome to receive that book in the mail and have the opportunity to read about the experiences of other volunteers.  Who knows, it might even get published one day, or at least published as an ebook.  You can read more about the project here.  My bio should be up on that website in a few days!

That's all for now...keep your eyes peeled for my FAQs post, I should be publishing it by the end of the week.   (And if you have burning questions that I should answer in that post, ask 'em! I like comments. Oh, and I like being followed, too. Thank you, followers!)

P.S. I learned how to embed hyperlinks in my blog today!! Coding is fun.