Friday, March 4, 2011

Getting our groove back

It's been said that when life gives you lemons, you need to paint that s--t gold. While gold paint is in low supply down here, we are looking at our recent adventure as a learning experience and we're thankful that our life here has begun to normalize.

We've moved out of the Windjammer hotel in Georgetown and the decision was made not to move Ilana and I back into the remote training site right away in order for her to have a chance to heal closer to medical resources. We're currently at the coastal training site and living with a new host family... who's awesome. I'm prohibited from giving too many details (for security reasons) but they're a younger East Indian couple who are psyched to have American guests to spoil.

Some differences:
-Aptly named "mini buses" are used for all transportation.
-No privacy since the walls that divide rooms don't go all the way to the ceiling.
-Different house pets include tree frogs, geckos, huge black beetles.
-Sleeping under a mosquito net takes practice (i.e. don't sleep touching the net)
-Shower with a bucket and before 9pm since the water cuts off.
-All the food, even though it may go by the same name (e.g. breakfast sausage = hot dog), is not the same.

Some things we miss already:
-A prompt and corruption free postal service
-Anyone who is reading this post.... REALLY miss you guys!

Some things we like:
-Roti (Indian baked good)
-All the fruits and veggies... Whole Foods eat your heart out.
-Everything is super cheap (15 min mini bus fare cost $.30)
-The generosity of the Guyanese

Right now our day to day involves taking a mini bus to the training site, the distance varies for every trainee. Our host family cooks us breakfast, packs a lunch, and teaches us to cook Guyanese food for dinner. Since all the volunteers in Guyana are either health or education promoters, our training sessions are a combination of group discussions/lectures and breakout sessions that focus more relevant to out areas. We all have practicum sites in the area (schools or clinics) where we get the opportunity to get experience doing what we do in Guyana. Part of our training also involves doing a mini project at our practicum site, for which we get a $10,000 GUY budget (roughly $50 USD).
The biggest complaints of the volunteers so far have to do with cultural differences like food (everything curried), no privacy, being treated like little children by our some host families, and the realization that all your issues could be resolved by simply requesting to go home.

We're very happy right now, feel very safe, making news friends, and looking forward all that is Guyana.

Much love.


  1. Glad to know Ilana is doing better! Who found out the hard way regarding the mosquito net?

  2. :) happy we're back on track. Things you miss list: no big deal (you spoiled ass Americans. Things you like list: hope it grows!

  3. Ilana, we are so very glad to hear you are feeling better! Your posts are so much better than Nate's, not sure if I could have read much more of Nate's downer posts. We much more enjoy reading about you poking fun of Nate's spanish speaking blunders than Nate making fun of the fact that you had appendicitis (not cool Nate). Seriously though, we are so very happy that you guys are back on track and that you didn't have to head back to the States. Glad to hear the PC is letting you finish up your training in a place close enough to get quick medical attention. We love LOVE you guys. And we miss La Isla (and you guys too of course)!

    Lisa & Tim (and Boone & Cassie - new 7 week old Chocolate Lab puppy doggies...I'll send you pics)