Sunday, March 7, 2004

Mar. 7, 2004



It certainly was an interesting week for me here in Guyana.
I started out the week kind of rough. Early monday morning
in the matter of about 2 hours I went from feeling great,
to being quite sick. I was nauseaus, vomiting, achy all
over (including my eye balls), headache, diarrhea, and
feverish. Ok, so that was WAY too much information, I know,
but hey...it's the life of a peace corps volunteer. I made
it into town to the office and had a check up and
bloodwork. They were concerned that I had Dengue fever as
the previous are all symptoms of that. At the same time, I was to
be heading up the west coast for a week long visit to a
current volunteer. After a long couple days, I made my way
up to the Essiquibo Coast. To get there you have to travel
first by minibus (which is scary), and when you get to the
stelling (docks), you get on a long wooden passenger
speedboat. After about an hour long ride on the Essiquibo
river through very choppy waves and all the elements I came
to Supernamn. I traveled by hired car to a little town
called Johanna Cecelia. Here I stayed with a volunteer for
the week who is working at an NGO called Hope for All which
deals with HIV/AIDS education. We all went to different
places in the country to visit volunteers, but I think I
got the chance to see a really beautiful part of
Guyana.
During the week I got a chance to relax, head into the
countryside filled with rice patties, cattle and palms to
swim at various canals, and do a lot of reading and
writing. I traveled a bit further up the coast with another
current volunteer where I got to experience something quite
unique. We headed down the Pomeroon river for about an hour
and then got onto a small river thick into the rainforest.
Just when we were stopped by downed trees amongst the
encroaching canopy, they said 'ok, so we'll just stop
here'. I was with a few current volunteers and a few
natives. We proceeded to use the cutlass (machetey) and
hack our way into the muddy forest where we were setting up
to make Bush Cook. In a mattter of no time, we constructed
2 shelters with brush and a couple plastic tarps and got
the canary (a large wok like cooking piece) on the fire for
the meal. Using river water you boil black-eyed peas for a
few hours and then add rice, vegetables (we used pumpkin,
okra, bora [like big gr.beans], garlic, onion) and cocunut
milk. To get the milk you shred the coconut meat and then
adding river water to the mixture you squeeze the meat to
make the milk. You strain it and do the procedure about 4
or 5 times. After about 6 hours, many downpours of rain,
lots of mud and quite the survivor adventure, we had an
unbelievable meal and then headed back up the river to the
light of the moon with a slight rain. I hope I will have
the chance to be placed in this region for which we will
find out on thursday where we're headed.
After getting back, Sunday was yet another experience. In
the Indo-guyanese community they have a celebration called
Phagwa. It is a Hindu celebration where you wear white and
everyone walks around the streets soaking each other with
colored dye and powders. Needless to say, after 5 hours of
all of this, we were head to toe soaked with about 10
colors and powder, ruined clothes, skin and hair and face
caked with every color of the rainbow. Well, all fun aside,
trying to clean this with an outside bucket bath was quite
the intesting challenge. It may take a week or so for all
colors to come off my body. We sure were a messy, but
colorful bunch!!
This week will be intensive HIV/AIDS workshop and then
thursday we find out where we will be placed. Even as we
find out, we don't actually head to our sites for about 3
more weeks.
Everyday is always something new....more stories to come...
love, kristen