Hello and welcome to my blog!
As you all know, at the end of August I am going to begin my epic year out in the mountains of Guyana. Currently I know very little about my project, but what follows is what I have managed to find out.
I know that I will be teaching Maths, Sciences and English in Paramakatoi Secondary School, and I will be living in a 2 bedroom house (on stilts) with my partner - another Project Trust volunteer who I will be paired up with on training.
I have been doing some research into the village and have found out that it has a population of about 2000, and that the school roll is currently roughly 500 pupils, and some of these come from surrounding villages so have to board. In the town itself, there are only two (possibly three) official shops - but these are haberdashery, so I will have to do all my food shopping in Georgetown, the capital - a 2 hour flight from Paramakatoi, and I suspect I will end up growing a lot of things myself. The lack of shops also means that alcohol is not readily available - those of you who know me well will know that this will not faze me in the slightest - however, this means that a lot of people brew their own alcoholic drinks from Cassava (a woody shrub whose root and leaf can be eaten in many different forms).
Due to Paramakatoi's remoteness, villagers will happily walk the 2 days to the next nearest village, but I am not to go far without a guide as there are many intertwining paths and I could easily lose my way. There are also no police officers or station - therefore any misunderstandings are resolved by the Village Captain. I believe this means that it is a very trusting community, and apparently because of the lower alcohol consumption there is also less violence. It all sounds very refreshing, and extremely different!
The climate is tropical, and though I will be up in the mountains where it should be comparatively cold, this is relative, and the sun can still be unbearable between 11am and 3pm. Paramakatoi being in the rainforest, you will not be surprised to hear that the rainfall is really quite high, it is, in fact, 350cm a year - almost four times as much as on the Back Isle. Guyana is, incidentally, also called "The Land of Many Waters" - also not surprising. I have heard that volunteers often end up bathing in nearby creeks and rivers, which I understand are refreshingly cool compared to the warm air.
That's all I know so far. I am sure I find out plenty more on my training week from the 13th to the 17th of July. I will try and post another update in about a months time, or if I find out any more in the meantime.
Thanks again for reading this. I hope that over the next fourteen months you will take the time to revisit my page and find out how I am getting on. I will hopefully have my postal address in Paramakatoi posted up with the first blog entry from abroad.
Bye for now,