Monday, August 30, 2004

August 30, 2004

Calling all chiropractors, DO's and massage therapists! I have officially slept in a hammock for 3 out of the 4 weeks
of the month of august. Although it may sound like a tough
feat, it is actually really comfortable once you get used
to it. It's funny, but I had a hard time trying to get to
sleep back in my bed in the quiet versus in my hammock in
the outdoors with the sounds of waterfalls, birds, and rain
all around me. When you talk about camping here, or setting
up camp, it is usually a framework of greenheart of
purpleheart (very hard wood) trees that you pull a tarp
over and sling your hammocks up under. You also have a
mosquito net that is made special for hammocks that you
also put in place to complete your own little "tent". And
all this can be attested to by my first visitors to my home
here in south america. I had amber and rachael murray here
for two weeks at the beginning of august. We also were with
another volunteer, whitney, who had 3 friends of her own
here as well. It is attention enough to have 2 white girls
walking around, but a group of 7 going all over guyana
turned more than a few heads. We travelled by foot,
boat,bus and back of trucks and the like in our pursuit to
show our friends where we're living, working, exploring and
relaxing in this country. We went from an amerindian
village to shanklins on the essiquibo river to bartica and
even a trip to marshall falls with our "interesting" guide
Balkaran, who gave us much to laugh about. It was so fun to
be able to catch up with the happenings of home, chat and
just plain relax with friends from the states. One thing
that was intersting was to see how our friends adjusted
from real time to guyanese time. We are so used to going
from thing to thing to thing in the states on a schedule
and here you don't know when, where, how or with whom you
are going. You find that sitting and gaffing (word for
chatting) with friends, neighbors and in the market seems
to fill the gap time. You really see the sense of community
when your life goes by on foot slowly versus the hustle and
bustle of traffic and such. I enjoyed watching them fall
into this slowed down pace where you have all the time in
the world to think, read and just BE....which can be good
and bad. All in all, such a wonderful experience to have
good friends see a piece of my world.
From there I was in New Amsterdam at a grant writing
conference which was really, really good. My clinic and
school needs a lot of help and in combination of possible
grants and help from you, I think a lot of good things are
around the corner. It will certainly be a lot of work ahead
of me.
I was home for just a couple hours from that when I headed
in to hike to the mighty Kaiteur falls in the interior. We
went by bus for hours to Madhia and then caught a boat to
Amatuk falls. We set up camp on the island where we had the
sounds of the water to put us to rest after a shower in the
river. We then set off on a few days of hiking through the
rainforest, portaging occasionally with boats, camp again
and then up the 60-70 degree mountains to the top of
Kaituer carrying all our supplies and packs. We were led by
Frank who fended off a few poisonous snakes on the trail
with his cutlass and were followed by a couple amerindians
carrying hundreds of pounds in warishis, (which are woven
baskets they strap supplies to and have a head strap and 2
shoulder straps). Absolutely amazing. We hung right off the
741 ft. waterfall cliffs and edges where there were no
guard rails or anything while overlooking the mountains all
around us. It is the highest single drop falls in the
world. We even got to experience the white collared swifts
in the hundreds of thousands circle and form patterns
before like fighter planes dove and then went under the
falls where they live and noone has ever been. It was such
an interesting and impressive sight. So, after hiking back
out, I am finally back and ready to get down to some more
serious work ahead. I am actaully in the red in terms of
vacation days as we accummulate 2 per month and I have to
save up for a while. But, no matter how tiring, it was an
exciting and adventurous whirlwind of activities that I
loved every minute of.
Oh yes, a few things that we are looking for assistance in
is with any medical or dental supplies, a few computers,
and a tv/vcr (with health resource tapes) that we want to
start a resource library with for the workers and patients,
and PE uniforms for the kids I teach at the school. If any
of you know of companies willing to assist in any way
possible, please contact me in this effort. One thing is
for certain here is that you do with what limited resources
you have and hope for the best and when you can catch a
break, you go for it.
Back to school for many...hope your summers were
years of summer just keep going send snow when it
love, kristen