Thursday, April 7, 2011

Month two of training is almost complete!

Blogging once a month is nearly impossible, because there is so much to tell.

But, here’s a moment: I finish training early and spend an afternoon lying in the hammock on my veranda, reading and napping and watching the kissadees build their nest in the corner of our roof.  My host grandmother wove the hammock.  Timmax, my host brother, is downstairs building a kite in preparation for Easter.  (They don’t dye eggs here, they fly kites.  However, I promised my neighbors an egg hunt this Easter!)  Baby Queenie crawls out onto the veranda and pulls herself up to standing using the hammock, tells me cheerfully, “Ma ma ma,” as she tries to grab the book out of my hands.

Another moment: I walk to visit another Peace Corps trainee, greeting people I know (and those I don’t) along the way.  In Guyana, neighbors are neighborly!   I gaff (Guyanese for chat) for a few minutes with a family sitting out on their porch, and they encourage me to stop by and spend more time with them in the future. A few nursery-school-aged girls follow me for a few minutes in their red-and-white-checkered blouses, holding hands and giggling.  The novelty of having white people in town is slow to wear off for them.   When I arrive at my fellow trainee’s house, she isn’t home, but her host sisters agree to take me to her grandmother’s house—her grandmother has a dog that just had puppies, and I want to adopt one!  I ogle the week-old puppies for a few minutes while Grandma tells me about the different kinds of fruits and vegetables she grows to sell.  The girls take me back to their house, where their mother hacks open a coconut for me to drink the milk.  More gaffing, then I head home.

These moments are priceless:  When baby Queenie reaches out to me for me to pick her up.  When TImmax’s eyes light up as I’m quizzing him on letter sounds and he gets one right.  When I’m walking back to training and two third-grade girls who I taught the day before run up to me and each one holds one of my hands.  When a woman who I visited just to buy vegetables invites me into her home, gives me food and drink and tells me I must visit regularly.  When I cook, Guyanese style, and the results are edible and I can tell my host parents are proud of me.  When I compliment a teacher’s shoes and she offers to take me shopping in Georgetown!  When I walk into a shop where people are liming (hanging out), and I gaff with them and they laugh at my jokes—or, better yet, when they tell me that I’m a mission girl now!

By a mission girl, they mean that I am a resident of St. Cuthbert’s Mission!  That’s right—I’m the one lucky volunteer from our group who gets to stay at our training site for my full two years in country.  One week from today is our swearing-in as full-fledged Peace Corps Volunteers, and while eight trainees will leave St. Cuthbert’s for other regions of Guyana, I’ll come right back home.  I’ll move into a house of my own, only a few minutes’ walk away from the host family I’m living with now.  One of the many perks of staying in St. Cuthbert’s is free and readily accessible internet, so there is no reason why I shouldn’t be able to update this blog more frequently; say, once a week?  At any rate, anticipate another post soon!


  1. I am so very proud of you - you don't mention in all this what you will do for these people on your side, but only all the wonderful intangibles that you are on the receiving end of. The intangibles bring a tear to my eye not only because they are "warm & fuzzy", but because they prove that these folks already value you as a person. I do have an ulterior motive however, in my observation. People who care about you will "watch your back" - what training has been telling you all along. I can already see that your community is your best ally when it comes to safety - always a mother's first concern!

    Great job! Love, Mom

  2. Kelly your mom is a wise person. I am a friend of your mom......and I was born in Guyana. I read with interest of the many good experiences you are having so far. You are in a very good place. When I was a teenager I camped at that mission. There are many types of fruits that you have to try. Ask the locals about sour sop, guava, tamerind, and gynip to name a few. Let me know what you think after you try any of them. All the best and God bless.
    Carl F.

  3. omg kelly this almost reads like a fairy tale!!! i'm so happy that things are going so well for you!!! i've been a horrible friend and hardly keeping in touch (but thats cuase i'm working like 70 hour weeks) but its so nice to see your updates and see that your having such an amazing time!!!!! cant wait to read more!!!

  4. Kelly! You're so good at painting pictures. I'm reminded of my stay in Japan and how the small moments were priceless and I'll always hold them dear - I'm so happy for your experience! Don't forget to take pictures, but in the meantime, I'll keep reading :)

    -Nora (yes, the one from longwood 8th grade, if you have another Nora friend :P)

  5. Kelly! Sounds like you are having a great experience there. I am sooo happy for you even though I miss you!! Hope all is well and I will continue reading and following along!!
    Love You- Melis