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!


  1. Sounds exciting! The community you will be staying with sounds great. Hope your training goes well!

  2. Hey Smell!! Brian said you were on skype the other night, but I had work 6-11pm (and ended up having to stay til 11:30 and then get up at 8 for 9am work the next morning... ugh) Sorry I missed you! I always have my smart(er-than-me) phone, who I have aptly named Minerva, so if you are ever around and want me to be online, email me because I get emails instantly.

    Everything about your trip -- or should I say, adventure!? -- sounds awesome so far. You'll have to update us more when you get a chance :)

    Things are going really well here back in the States... just found out yesterday that the psych department at Princeton wants Brian for the phd program, and apparently Adam was accepted to UNC chapel hill! It feels likes things are moving very fast here... will be emailing you soon.

  3. Hey Kelly - happy to hear you made it to Guyana! Looking forward to hearing all about your experiences :-)