The contents of this website are mine personally and do not reflect any position of the U.S. Government or the Peace Corps.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

2 Year Update

Well, it has been a year since I last posted here. While it may seem as though I was lost in the bush, I am alive and very well. So much has happened: I've traveled to a few countries, participated in amazing projects, met new people, tried new foods and have thoroughly enjoyed myself. Everyone is so right when they say that second year flies by. My journey through the Peace Corps Time Warp is almost finished.

So with 42 days left in country, I'm packing up my two suitcases and a backpack, giving away possessions, finalizing projects, completing 101 tasks for PC and saying my good-byes to community members, friends, and students. I'm taking back thousands of photographs, Guyanese clothes, shoes, music and food, gifts from friends, a few things I came with and countless precious memories.

Saying good-bye isn't easy or fun, but I am eager to get back home and start a new adventure.

Janelle and me in the library

Many more posts and pictures to come... just now. :)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

1 year update

While walking home from school yesterday, in the blazing sun, with students on either side holding my hands- to keep them safe from a huge cow in our path, I had some great thoughts. I was thinking how much I love my village and people in it. How much of an impact I have made in the lives of community members. How much I have learned. How much time has passed. How much time I have left. And how much this place really feels like home. I have had those thoughts before, but on the day before the eve of the 1 year anniversary of my arrival in Guyana, the thoughts were accompanied by strong emotions-mainly gratitude and happiness.

 I am in a great place in my service right now. December was an extremely overwhelming month with challenges piled on top of challenges which were literally weighing me down. But somehow between then and now things have dramatically changed. Scratch that. *I* have dramatically changed. I have changed my thoughts about challenges, struggles, triumphs, successes, and failures. I now do my very best to turn seemingly negative situations into positive ones. I read an article about happiness and CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) that was truly inspiring. It really isn't my environment that required changing to fit my preferences-it was MY view of it. The AWESOME three weeks I spent in America helped greatly. I was able to gush all about my experiences and this great country while viewing everything from a different perspective- from a continent away actually. Being in a comfortable familiar environment sharing stories with my family and friends was extremely cathartic.

 I can remember the apprehension, anticipation, nervousness and excitement I felt in the year leading up to my arrival in this amazing country. When I finally got here everything was so new and different...and overwhelming at times. I was appalled at some things, frightened by others and delighted by even more. I spend 9 incredible weeks with my fabulous host family and learned a great deal about Guyanese culture. In April I swore in as a PCV and began the count up to two years of service.

 I look back on the photographs I took in past 12 months which tell many stories. I can see a physical and emotional transformation in myself. My priorities have shifted and my outlook has brightened. As seconds turn to minutes, minutes to hours, hours to days, as days turn to weeks, weeks to months and now months have become a year- I appreciate all of my time here. I have taught a few things, but have learned even more. It's funny how normal life feels even though it is totally different from the environment in which I spent the previous 28 years of my life. Cows, chicken, goats, sheep, dogs, birds, and horses roaming about making lots of noise-that's 'normal' now. Mud, rain, sunshine, coconut palms, fresh vegetables, crazy bites, Creolese speaking brown and black people, kids in uniforms, prepaid credit, blackouts, just now time, weekly bouncy squished travels to the market 45 minutes away, being called 'the white girl', hearing "Miss" 8,000 times a day, saying "good morning, day, and afternoon" a million times a week...all that is just normal life in Black Bush Polder, no big.

 My routine is pretty great now. I love my PVC life. :) I finally have a house to call my own (bats, rats, mosquitoes, beetles, roaches, lizards, fire flies, ants, unknown insects, marabuntas and my puppy Dharma call it home too). Even though the roof has major leaks, the yard and bottom house flood like crazy, neighbors apparently watch my every movement and the extremely loud obnoxious neighbor is downwind, I LOVE my house. I was gifted an amazing fridge which supplies me with ice cold happiness. I am almost finished painting the inside. And the best part is that it is my sanctuary. I have a place to be alone, to unwind, to just be. Not only is my home life super great, but work is too! My school schedule is full, but rewarding. Guyanese teachers and friends are supportive and amazing.

 I know that I will eventually succumb to the downturn of this emotional roller coaster called Peace Corps, but for now I am smiling and appreciating the great view from a very high peak which took an entire year to reach. I am SO looking forward to my second year of service! Everyone says it goes by quickly. So to combat the radical shift in time perception that a PCV's second year bestows, I am dedicated to practicing mindfulness-and not just on the cushion (I mean -in the hammock), but during everyday tasks too. Some days are crazy fast, others are downright long.

This Valentine's day has actually been a day of rest and reflection on account of the intense rain this morning. It was the worst rain I've encountered in Guyana (in the year that I've been here!). It sounded like all the water on earth was being dumped on my village for a few hours. My yard and entire 'street' are flooded. My HM told me to "stay home and dry" today. I couldn't have asked for a better anniversary: limin' at home in my hammock, enjoying the cool breeze, reading, cooking, cleaning and communicating electronically with people I love. Aaaaaahhhhhhh the hardships of being a PCV-it's rough sometimes. ;)

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Flip This House Peace Corps Guyana Style - Stage 3 November 2011 Onward

So my house is still a work in progress. I still need a fence, water to the toilet and oh yeah...the bats in the roof need to be exterminated. Work continues slowly, but now that I am living in my "mansion" I am SUPER happy!! I love my walk to work, the almost constant easterly breeze, the quiet sounds of my village and, of course, my dog Dharma.

Moving day!

No electricity...only for 9 days and no bed for the first night. :)

Andrea Shaw made this for me.


Dharma staring down a goat.

Doing a great job of chasing the animals away.


Ice cold happiness.

My amazing kitchen. I don't have curtains, but I did have an extra hammock-so I just threw that up.

I LOVE cooking in my kitchen on my 4 burner stove.

Fairy lights for reading at night.

Doing her job of keeping other animals out.

Big big big

My landlord Singh spraying the bats with Baygon. For the record, it does not work.

Playing with Dharma one last time before I went to New Amsterdam for the election relocation.

The coolest spot in the house.

Plenty of room to play.

My adorable puppy.

Sink in the hallway.

Chill out/ relaxation room. That thing on the wall is my prepaid meter.

Pink bedroom. :)

Such a happy day! I love seeing that wire.

Dharma's stupidey ear is cute.

My AMAZING shower head.

Muddy path to school.


Flip This House Peace Corps Guyana Style- Step 2 August-November 2011

I did all of the wall painting myself! With a little help from June. :)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Flip This House Peace Corps Guyana Style- Stage 1 (June -August 2011)

This is what the outside of the house looked like. Complete with plank step.

Even with great preparation, I got stung on three separate occasions, playing exterminator.