Thursday, January 6, 2005

Jan. 6, 2005

Well what a difference the holidays were celebrated for me
this year. As the year came and went, I felt a bit
uncertain about being away from the traditional xmas with
friends and family that I was used to. But being away from
home for the first time ever at this time was one that was
very different, yet to be cherished. I traveled with a
couple of other volunteers on a trip up the western
interior to an amerindian village called Wakapoa where
another volunteer is stationed. After extensive travel by
buses, a car and 3 boats, we came to the landing with Hope
welcoming us with open arms. The last boatride was
captivating as we turned from the Pomeroon river into the
creek. With a great deal of speed we flew through turns as
the canopy was right on top of us and the forest within
feet of the sides of the boat. It then spit you out for
miles of curving channels of a marshy, cane filled area
with islands of land interspersed. Wakapoa is connected by
small sandy paths with houses spread apart and has no
electricity or running water. You collect rainwater in
tanks and some have generators for a little music. We
enjoyed the simplicity of it all, relaxing, making meals
and talking with friends. Christmas day was spent making a
traditional guyanese meal we shared with local friends,
then a late afternoon paddle in the very, very tippy dugout
canoes (for which they were suprised I could steer and different from anything I've captained) and
then a full moonlit stroll as dark came upon us. So
although it was certainly a different experience, it was a
christmas to cherish and remember.
Old years (new years eve) I headed with another PC friend
to Leguan which is an island in the Essiquibo river. We met
and relaxed with other PC and local friends for the new
year. As the night wore on we made our way out to the
beach. A bonfire was made, music played and we just relaxed
looking at the bright moon and star filled sky. They even
suprised me with a birthday cake and they sang happy
birthday to me as they shot roman candle fireworks out of
it! It was a great time with friends to bring in the New
The next morning we traveled back to Linden to a charged
atmosphere where people were fighting and running for buses
to get into the town I'm living for the finals of the
Kashif & Shanghai football (soccer) tournament. The town
was packed with people from all over, and that evening we
made our way to the grounds. Fences surrounded the field
and people came in in the thousands. The final game was
between a Georgetown (guyana) team and St. Lucia. Goals
were scored and the place went wild, fireworks were thrown
on the field and in the stands, smoke filling the air. The
police were begged to do their job by the announcers and
get things under control. The game ended with the local
team winning and the people filled the streets and the
party began. It was an unbelievable sight to see with
people, vehicles, music, dancing and the like taking place
all night long.
So I believe it is safe to say that although this holiday
season was spent a long way from home, it was certainly
filled with much excitement and was definitely memorable.
So now 2005 brings things to a new year and back to
projects. Although the time has flown by, it is also a
reminder that there is so much left for me to accomplish.
What a huge difference a year makes!

Kristen Tews
P.O. Box 32085
Mackenzie, Linden
Guyana, South America