Tuesday, July 20, 2004

July 20,2004

Afro-guyanese peanut soup

2c chopped onions
1tbls oil
1tsp cayenne or other chiles
1tsp grated, peeled fresh ginger
1c chopped carrots
2c chopped potatoes
4c stock
2c tomato juice
1c peanut butter
1tbsp sugar
1c chopped scallions

1. Saute the onions in the oil until tender. Add cayenne,
ginger, and carrots for a few minutes. Mix in potato and
stock. bring water to boil and then simmer for 15 min.
until vegetables are tender
2. Puree vegetables (optional) and return to soup pot. Stir
in tomato juice and peanut butter until smooth. Season soup
to taste with sugar, if desired.
3. garnish with scallions

Dahl (split pea puree)

1c dry yellow or green peas
4c water
curry powder
1 onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1tsp hot pepper sauce
1tsp. cumin
salt, pepper, to taste

1. wash peas and place in a saucepan with water. add
, onion, and hot pepper and boil for about 30 min.
turn heat to low and simmer 1 hour
2. remove peas from heat, puree, and then reheat
3. saute garlic until brown, stir in cumin. stir mixture
into peas and mix well
Serve hot with rice or roti

Cheese straws

1c butter
cheddar cheese, grated
pepper sauce to taste
1c flour
1tsp dry mustard
black pepper to taste

1. Rub butter and flour together
2. Add grated cheese, pepper, pepper sauce, and mustard
3. mix well
4. Shape as you would like. Here they put it through a
multipointed star shaped mold and make 2-4 inch. straws
that are straight or curved.
5. place straws on a baking sheet. bake at 400 degrees for
about 15 min.
In my opinion, these taste as close to cheezits as I can

Good luck, have fun!

Monday, July 19, 2004

July 19, 2004

What a beautiful and true statement it is to say that
Guyana is truely the land of many waters. Many of those I
was able to traverse in the last couple of weeks from the
Suriname border in the northeast at Skeldon/Corriverton
where I was visiting in New Amsterdam to the Venezuelan
boarder in the northwest in Mabaruma. However, one thing
that remains certain is that travel here is a process that
takes a lot of time and patience. Let me just tell you
about my latest trip to Shell Beach up the northwestern
coast of
Guyana where I went in search of sea turtles.
1.Head from Linden north to
Georgetown via big bus
roughly 2 1/2 hours
2. Walk to the starbroek market stelling for passenger boat
going across Demarara River right at mouth of ocean 30 min.
3. Mini bus from Vreed-N-Hoop stelling to Parika stelling 1
1/2 hours
4. Boat from Parika stelling to Supernamn 1.25 hours in
rough waters across the Essequibo river.
5. Hired car from supernamn to Charity 1.5 hours (with
overnight hammock sling under house for sleep at a friends
in Anna Regina)
6. Boat from Charity down the Pomeroon River to the
Atlantic ocean, across the ocean and to the Shell beach
camp 4.5 hours of very choppy waters

So, yes, we made it there through the wind, rain, sun and
water, and after finally pulling the boat up the shore
using logs to get it over the surf to solid ground, we were
truely in the middle of nowhere! Shell Beach is a place
where a local extended family has works for 6 months out of
every year tracking and protecting the sea turtles. The
men, women and children live in tents situated under
thatched covering where there is also a cooking hut, 2
showers and pit latrine (ie. thatch situated in a square
where you bucket bathe in one and poo in the other). But,
you know, it works and is a very relaxing place all the
same. We slung travel hammocks under another thatched
shelter and just soaked in the scenery in anticipation of
that nights first outing looking for turtles. I had another
hammock up on the ocean between two old trees catching the
breeze, enjoying the sun turning down and reading when all
of a sudden it hit at 6:30...so many thousands of huge
swarming mosquitos invaded. I have to admit that these must
have been mutated, resistant little buggers as they came in
the thousands. Just as an example, when I squated to, well,
urinate, what I thought was mud on my leg was rather about
75 to a 100 mosquitos that were out for blood. Needless to
say, there were a few choice areas exposed that I'd rather
not mention! ;) I have honestly never even come close to
this amount in my life!
So, we went into lockdown where we waited, killing
mosquitos that got into the nets, for word to head out when
the tide was right to sweep the length of the beach. The
time came and we headed out and started our night at about
9:45pm. Our first sighting was so incredible. We came upon
a group of babies struggling to get out of the nest and
down the beach to the ocean. It turned out to be quite the
blessing, as these were the first and only we saw in the
two nights. We even got to help the "lost" ones carrying
them out to the tide. Then, we saw our first mom. I didn't
expect them to be so big. Over the course of the next 3
hours we proceeded to sweep over about 4 miles of beach and
saw about 5 mothers digging or covering up eggs, heading
back out the surf or just simply resting their 1600-2000
lb., 55-72 inch bodies. Simply, seeing the leatherback
turtles was one of the most amazing things I've ever
witnessed in my lifetime. The next day was relaxing and we
even got really lucky that the bugs held off with a stiff
breeze the following evening and our wait for the turtle
search was fun as me and a few others made a campfire on
the beach and we laid on the sand under the stars. That
night not only did we see about 5 other leatherback
turtles, we got to see an Atlantic hawksbill (smaller,
about 3 feetish), while she was laying her leathery eggs.
We were sad to see the place go as we continued our
travels, but all the same it is something I will never
forget. We proceeded up the coast via the ocean and another
river (so many I can't remember) to Mabaruma, which is on
the boarder of Venezeula. We only explored a little bit
before we were back in the boat and though the rivers,
jungles and marshy waters to Maruca. This area of
Guyana is
so different in terms of topograpy, but again, unbelievably
beautiful with small rivering channels in marshy areas,
heavily wooded bush and rolling, thick rainforest. We saw
many things like the scarlet ibis as well as many other
beautiful, colorful birds. At the end of the day, we
finally made it back to the stelling at charity and were
exhausted. Even in a hammock under the house (we rig it
with mosquito netting), I had a long hard nights sleep. The
final night before heading home we went to a Peace Corps
friends wedding to a guyanese man. It was interesting as
they incorporated christian, hindu and muslim faiths in the
ceremony. It was a night filled with lots of dancing to
local music, eating, drinking and having a great time under
the stars. When the early morning sunrise woke me from
sleep, I got together my travel partners and we heading for
home (in reverse order as above, of course). Though the
travel is rough and laborious, it is all worth it in my
search for more of the beauty of this wonderful land. And
it's only just begun........
Love to all and hug a turtle!

Saturday, July 10, 2004

July 10, 2004

Good day to all,
So it has been a fun, but increasingly crazy time here in
Guyana. I am super pumped with the fact that our jail time
is up. Meaning, we couldn't travel during our first 3
months at site and that is now up and we have been on the
go. I have actually been kind of lucky being in Linden in
that I have traveled quite a bit into the interior and the
surrounding areas, unlike others in my group in their
sites. But, last 4th weekend was one crazy fun time that I
will mention more in the upcoming mass email and am now way
up the east coast near the country of
Suriname visiting my
friend Brian as he leaves to go home in 2 weeks. Then, I am
off up to the northwest coast next midweek to see the sea
turtles lay their eggs/some hatching at
Shell Beach and up
to an amerindian community of Maruca. Good times all around
that I am doing mostly on the weekends so I don't have to
take hardly any time off. Amber comes Aug. 5th and is
staying about 3 and a half weeks where we will be
absolutely all over the map hiking, slinging up hammocks,
finding waterfalls, going into the interior, simply seeing
a lot of the beautiful places of
Guyana. It is going to be
a blast!
Starting my 6th month away from home, it is interesting how
each day you make steps in identifying with your community
and building relationships with those whom you serve and
live amongst. Even in the last couple weeks I feel I have
made some more really positive steps in the process. This
whole process is one for which attentiveness to detail, an
open mind and a strong spirit are essential to living in
another culture. I will always be an outsider here, but
even with that in mind, I have to embrace this country as
one in which I am not visiting, but living and thriving.
And believe me, I have to remind myself that more than once
in cautioning my mind into not thinking about comparisons
to how I "really" live or what is normal. Because the truth
is, this is my "normal" now, just as it is for the people
Again, I will send a more in depth email in the near
future, but wanted to inform you that I am doing well, am
excited to travel more and am thinking about you all.
love ya, kris