I have been in Guyana for one year, three months and three days. I've been "adopted" by three different host families, spent innumerable hours laying in hammocks, and read something in the neighborhood of 45 books. I've broken three computers and a phone, developed a love for Banks Beer, and filled a journal and a half with the overflowings of my brain. I've befriended six Canadians, loved and lost six dogs, and learned to make a pretty damn good fried bake. I've eaten chicken feet, tecumah worm, gizzard, iguana, bush hog, and labba; I don't know how I will survive without pumpkin, roti, dhall puri, fig bananas and fresh pine. I've been within view of Surinam and Venezuela, become a better dancer, and grown a ridiculous amount of curly blonde hair. I've gotten some crazy tan lines, made a pointer broom, and heard both hurtful and hilarious rumors and half-truths about myself. I've come to enjoy washing clothes by hand, I've learned to wake up at 6:30 without an alarm, and I found a true friend in a housewife old enough to be my mother. I've discovered frogs, bats, lizards, a tarantula and a snake in my room. (The snake was in my bed.) I've learned to play trump, been beaten at Bananagrams by people who didn't finish high school, and gone on barefoot runs down a sand road flanked by two dozen children. I've cried a lot, but I've smiled more. I've taught children about planets and letter sounds and fractions and the continents, and I've taught adults about evolution and how to write a five-paragraph essay and that dinosaurs and humans did not, in fact, cohabitate the earth; but I've learned infinately more than that, about the importance of family, about how to relax and enjoy the present moment. I've learned that culture does, in fact, sculpt who we are, but that our cultural differences are not an end-all but rather a lens through which we can analyze who we are, what we can forgive, what we value and how open-minded we really are.
There are few products but many processes. There have been many dead ends but other doors are still waiting to be opened, and I have 11 months to open them...I'm not done with you yet, Guyana!