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Wednesday, 31 August 2011

A Week In


I arrived safe and sound in Georgetown after a long and extremely tiring journey. We got here around 1am local time last Friday. This is the first opportunity I have had to get on the internet so I'm sorry for taking this long.

After sleeping only until 6am (11am GMT) on the Friday we all had to get up and spent the entire day lazing around in the sun, trying (and failing) to get used to the heat. Indeed, sitting here now, at a computer, with a fan blowing on my back it's still far too warm. But the locals say it is "the hottest week of the year"  or something, as it always is when you'd quite like to be a wee bit cooler. But no matter, it's lovely to be able to wear shorts and t-shirt and not compain about the cold!

The rest of the week we have spent avoiding the sun by our flat. This is tiny. two bedrooms, a kitchen with a bathroom attached and a veranda. We have all strung hammocks up outside because it is just too hot to sleep inside. We do have mosquito nets as well, because the mozzies are an absoolute nightmare. I've already been bitten about 20 times, and I am by far not the worst. The hammocks are really comfortable, I find it difficult to stay awake whle lying in one. In fact, on Sunday, I lay down in a hammock at about 11am with the intention of joining the conversation going on around me, and just ended up falling asleep. It was lovely.

On Monday we went to a meeting with the Ministry of Education, which, of course, lasted far too long and was far too boring, but we did get to meet the Minister of Education (our employer), which was good. One of the first evenings we went out for a chinese, where our meal costed roughly four pounds, and was huge, last night we had dinner at a pizza place and met the World Teach volunteers who will also be based in Paramakatoi. They seemed very nice, though I must say Emily did most of the talking to them.

Tonight is the opening of Heritage Month, so there will be a celebration, which I am looking forward to. We are going out to a Brazilian buffet restaurant tonight after this, which should be good though it is fairly expensive by Guyana standards (G$3500 - roughly twelve pounds).

I am pleased to say everybody seems to be getting on very well, though one of the guys has been having trouble adapting to a lot of things, and culture shock hit him quite badly. Apart from that and the occaisional hint of cabin fever, we are all getting along famously, which is a relief to Kala, our representative, as she said last year's group were nowhere near as close. I now see what Doug means about her being a great person to have as a representative - she will help you with absolutely anything, and believe me, she has a lot of contacts.

I am leaving next Friday, but all but four volunteers are leaving tomorrow or the day after, so I should get another chance to use the internet before I go to Paramakatoi.

For now, I have to go, people are getting impatient. All the best and I hope everyone is well.


Wednesday, 24 August 2011

The Journey Begins...

Hello everyone! Or should that be goodbye...?
I'm leaving this evening to begin my journey towards the remote Paramakatoi. I don't quite know how I feel about this yet. It seems so far away and yet I'm counting the hours (seven) until I leave my home, my friends and my family, not to mention the many comforts and luxuries I have become so used to in my few years in our society. I really can't explain the excitement and anticipation which has been brewing inside me for close to four months now. All I have to say is that I am forever grateful to everyone who helped me along the way, I know there is absolutely no chance that I would even be contemplating going on this trip if I hadn't had your support. So thank you, from the bottom of my heart. I don't know how to tell you how much this means to me.

I don't know if you've ever tried fitting a year's worth of clothes, shoes, toiletries and teaching materials, along with about five years of memories, into a 65L rucksack without exceeding 23kg. No easy feat. It is, however, in a way embarrassing, to think how many things and belongings we feel we need to have. My room is full of boxes upon boxes of things that I thought I needed. Things I use once in a lifetime but don't want to throw away for fear of facing an occasion when I will have to think, "if only I'd kept that a month longer", or "I gave this away last week!" and then grudgingly buying another. To be quite honest, I wouldn't be surprised if when I return I bear a bag of weight maybe 10kg, and still think I won't use the majority of it again. I'm sure my mum would be more than happy if this was the case.

So my epic journey:

I will get a bus to Glasgow this evening, where I will stay with my Project Trust partner, Emily. In the morning we will fly down to Gatwick, to arrive at about eight in the morning, check in, and then fly from Gatwick to Barbados at midday, arriving at about half past eight in the evening, GMT. We will then wait about five hours in Barbados airport, before flying to Georgetown, to arrive at about half past ten, Guyana time. So about half past three in the morning, our time. I will be in Georgetown until the 9th of September, when I fly to Paramakatoi. From then on it's letters only, and the beginning of my year as a teacher.

I will try to post another update during my stay in Georgetown to let you know I got there safely.

Just a quick word - if you send me a letter, please print the address on a big, white sticker on the envelope, then it is more likely to get there. Sorry if I'm repeating myself, but this is quite important.

So all there is left to say is - please keep checking my blog and have a fantastic year!

Lots of love,