Sunday, February 29, 2004

Feb. 29, 2004


We have been having quite the fun filled week. I suppose it
is always safe to say that even within Peace Corps
training, there is always time for a good time! Last
weekend was filled with many 'culture days'. We were
introduced to their national pastime, cricket. I was the
big "hero", scoring 19 runs for the team. Basically, if you
can hit a baseball, you can protect your wicket against the
bowler. Their is a series of 3 wooden wickets on two ends
of a pitch where the batter is in front of one and your
other runner is on the opposite side. The ball is bowled
over hand with no bend in the elbow trying to knock down
the wooden wickets on the bounce. When you hit it with a
flat wooden bat you and the other runner exchange until the
fielders can get the ball back to hit the wickets down. You
are out if they knock down the wicket on the bowl, if they
catch it in the air when you hit, or if the wicket is
knocked when you and the runner are in between sides.
Anywho, thats just a brief description. You can find people
playing just about anywhere on the street or on an
organized field. We were able to take in one of the biggest
national celebrations of the year last Monday. It is
Mashramani or "Mash". It is their birth of the republic or
equivalent to our 4th of july. However, people get totally
crazy and have a lot of fun. Needless to say, I had no
problem joining in. In
Georgetown, people in the thousands
line the streets with loud music, cold drinks and hang out
as a huge parade rolls by. The parade is filled with
magnificent and colorful costumes, beautiful floats, and
lots of dancing and music. It was truely a site to see!
Along with the celebration on monday, many parties continue
line the neighborhoods where people lime (hang out) on the
streets, have extremely loud music and you even see fire
flame balls filling the sky. It was one very long and fun
weekend.
This past week we spent the mornings going into the health
clinics to observe. It was quite shocking to see the lack
of resources. They have a huge problem in the country now
with a shortage of nurses and doctors as they all leave for
greener pastures, usually in the states. Not a whole lot
more health care goes on for children except weighing and
basing their nouishment solely on that and asking the
mothers what they are feeding them and then immunizations.
There is really so much I believe we can help with in this
country wide shortage. Yesterday, we traveled down the
Demerara by boat and then another hour and a half into the
interior to a small AmerIndian village called Santa
Mission. It was truely surreal heading deep into the jungle
on a boat and seeing a very rural and remote area of the
country. It is such a simple life with beautiful people,
but the homes and thatch buildings are so far removed from
what we are used to. There is currently a volunteer in this
location and mentioned that she has seen it all in the
clinic and has even had to deliver a few babies. Although
delivering sounds somewhat impressive, the problem is that
some of these babies are stillborn due to their large size
and very small mothers who should have had a cesarean but
couldn't get to the city hours away. So, an eye opening
experience.
I enjoyed a fresh pinneaple I picked up at a road side
stand this afternoon and something called chana which is a
mixture of spiced chick peas with black eyes peas over,
yes, rice (of course!). I will continue to explain all the
very intersting dishes as I go.
It has been very rainy, muggy and hot the past few days.
You can only allow you skin in the sun for minutes before
being fried, even with 45 SPF. Even my hair is being
bleached by the sun back to the blond from my childhood.
You have to be really careful with the environment here or
you will end up with serious blisters and a bad, bad burn.
I am off to finish my laundry...my new most unfavorite
thing!
love from
Guyana, kristen

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