Sunday, September 4, 2011

Here I am!

I’ll get some things out of the way before I begin:  First, my apologies for the lengthy span between posts.  From now on, expect a blog post to be up the first weekend of every month.  I think I might have promised more frequent blog posts a while back, but I mean it this time, really.  If the first weekend of October comes and goes with no post, bug me on Facebook or something.

Secondly, I have decided to password protect my blog.  People in my village are becoming more internet savvy, and even though I don’t trash talk anyone in my blog, it still might be kind of awkward if any of them read it.  Plus stalkers and stuff.  I’ll send out the password to people who I know read it, but if I don’t send it to you, email or Facebook message me for it, or ask my mom.  Expect it to be locked down within the next week or so.

Now, on to the fun stuff! I’m healthy again—well, mostly.  The verdict was inner ear damage, and the ENT I saw said I could expect residual dizziness for the next year or so. I still occasionally get a bit dizzy after strenuous exercise or if I stand up too fast, but it’s nowhere near as debilitating as it was before.  

This summer has been a blast!  I designed my own summer school/camp for kids going into 6th grade, and they were a great group of kids to work with.  They loved playing Bananagrams and listening to me read them Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and some of them would even ask me for homework! I really hope my summer school met its goal—that is, to better prepare these kids for the Secondary School Entrance Exam so more of them can do well enough on the test to get a scholarship and attend a better secondary school out on the coast.  But even if it didn’t, my kids and I all had a lot of fun!

I was supposed to do teacher training in phonics this summer too, but that failed.  Such is life—especially Peace Corps life.

My living situation has changed since I last posted!  I was having some issues living by myself here, both emotional ones (loneliness) and practical ones (taking care of a house and cooking for myself for the first time…with no TV dinners, take-out, dishwashers or washing machines…and rats and bats and giant cockroaches!)  Long story short, I’m living with a host family now!  My new host family members are Wendy and Benji, a couple around my parents’ age, and Jade, Jason and Josh, three boys between the ages of 15 and 21.  The youngest son goes to school out of St. Cuthbert’s, and the two older ones work out of the mission as well, so the house is very rarely full.   I love my new host family, and their house is awesome!  It’s huge, and I have my own veranda upstairs with my hammock on it.  It’s probably my favorite place in Guyana!  Oh, and then there’s the newest member of the family—my dog, Lady! I gave up on her months ago when she was a puppy (see “problems living alone” above) and gave her away, but she kept finding me again at Wendy and Benji’s house…so Wendy said we should keep her!  She’s a family dog now, which makes taking care of her much less overwhelming, and she’ll stay here when I go home which will make both my life and her life easier.   

Among the best parts of the summer have been travelling and visitors!  Shout-out to Lisa and Pat, who both made last-minute plans to come visit me.  Pat and I went to Oriella, a village right on the river that divides Guyana from Surinam.  Oriella was JUNGLE, and beautiful!  My second jungle trip was a week spent in Region 1, the Northwest corner of Guyana, where some of the volunteers I trained with live now.  Kristen and Harmony and Travis were all great hosts (and great cooks!), and I loved getting to see their villages and going on hikes around a genuinely remote area of Guyana.  

Looking to the near future—school starts tomorrow!  We are not short two-and-a-half teachers, as I feared, only one-and-a-half or perhaps only a half!  Regardless, I am not playing substitute this term;  I’m teaching a remedial reading program, which I am quite excited about.  My groups are all chosen and phonics teaching guides have been pored over, but it’s anyone’s guess what will actually happen once school opens.  I’m getting used to that quality of everything Peace Corps—the feeling of flying by the seat of my pants—and it feels more comfortable than it used to.

Plans to come home for Christmas are materializing—tentatively, I will be home from December 13th to January 2nd. Between now and then…I love comments, Facebook messages, Skype dates, snail mail and packages, so stay in touch!  Miss you guys!!

1 comment:

  1. I am so happy to see you post!

    Much appreciation to Wendy and Benji, Juanita and Beth, Billy, Charlene and Timor too, for looking out for you. We all knew that your village could count on you. It just took time for you to form and cement relationships with people like yourself; generous, giving folks who look out not only for their friends, but for strangers, too. I will be eternally grateful to them.

    You've had ups and downs in your first six months, but they are now behind you, and things seem to be looking up. I'm sure that you will continue to face challenges of every magnitude on a daily basis, but I will bet my bottom dollar that you are already making sustainable changes that will continue to improve life in St. Cuthbert's long after you are back home again.

    And that flying by the seat of your pants? It may seem like you are constantly trying to pull a rabbit out of your hat, but it's all about flexibility and being able to adapt; the trick is to do it successfully. This is a learned skill that normally comes with experience and maturity, but you've just had a crash course with plenty more to come. Build on it, and it will serve you well in the future, in ways you've never dreamed of.

    Have I mentioned that I'm proud of you??

    Love, Mom