Thursday, March 17, 2011

Strangers in a strange land.

This week, PC brought us back into Georgetown for the Counterparts' Conference, which is where we find out our site placement (where we'll live and work for 2 years) and meet our counterparts (the people who will be our co-workers and liaisons in our new community). We PCTs happily loaded onto a bus bound for Georgetown... land of air-conditioning, hot showers, net-free beds, and walls that go all the way up to the ceiling. We were also excited because it was the first time we'd all be together since the training groups had been split up between West Demerara (coastal/urban) and St Cuthbert's Mission (remote).

Our giddy anticipation of hotel amenities was soon tempered by the realization that our destinies would soon be revealed. What part of the country will we be assigned to? What are the people there like? What amenities will my house have? Will I be safe? Who will live near me? What will my job description be? Will I get along with my counterpart? Will my skills be used? The answers that many of us had been waiting months for (years in our case) would all be revealed and all we could do was wait.

We're number 1.... no really, we're going to Region 1.

After all the stress and anticipation, I’m happy to report that Ilana and I have been stationed in a community named Mabaruma in Region 1, which is in the far northwestern corner of the country. Ilana will be based in Mabaruma Regional Hospital at the level of a regional administrator (her specific job description is yet to be determined). I will be working for the department of education as a teacher trainer and student counselor. We’re very happy that our work experience was taken into account and that the level of our positions will give us the best chance to build capacity here. Everything we’ve heard about Region 1 sounds awesome… a hilly pristine jungle, only accessible by boat (22 hours) or plane (1.5 hours). It’s home to Shell Beach, where 4 of the world’s 8 species of sea turtle come to nest. It’s also apparently walking distance to Venezuela, although the border is disputed between the 2 governments because of disparate claims to the oil offshore.

The PCVs in country have been an invaluable resource…. And sometimes their advice has been the only reliable source of information. We were told on arrival that the first 2 months of training and living with a host family will be one of our greatest challenges. They were right. Many PCTs feel like our adulthood has been stripped away. In the States we had jobs, money, a car, control over what you eat, when you go to bed, where you live, what your job is, etc. Here we’re truly strangers in a strange land.

We can't wait finally see where we'll be living and working for the next 2 years. Thanks to all of you who have sent letters and packages... it's really great to feel your support.

Much love,


1 comment:

  1. Excited you're at the beach! Dont get stolen by Venezuela, I dont have that kind of cash to pay for your return!!!

    Awesome video, keep shooting Nate!!!