Guud Dey. Ram Ram. Hello from Guyana!
Since my last post, I sure you’re wondering what’s happening in my life?
Let me first describe where I am training. As I said in my previous post, Guyana is separated into 10 regions. We are training in Region 2, Pomaroon-Supanaam on the Essequibo coast.
You’re probably thinking, “none of the things you just said are registering with me.” Understandable, so I’ll just tell you what’s happening with me. I have spent two weeks with my host family and I have finished my third out of ten weeks of Pre-Service Training (PST). Training has consisted of language, Guyana specific sessions, health, and safety and security, and starting next week we will be doing technical training on our sector specific roles. Since being in Guyana, I have already learned and heard so many new words, so I thought I would share some of my favorites so far. Do you think you know what they mean or how to pronounce them?
- Guud maurnin’
- Wa yu neem?
- Mii na know!
I am living with a 61 year old woman and two of her grandchildren in a small community not far from training. The grandkids live with her because their mom works in the capital city during the week but comes back every weekend. Her son, his wife, and their two children live next door. We all share a yard. In the backyard, my family has cats, dogs, chickens, ducts, [loud] roosters, and a 22 year old parrot named Susie who knows how to cough and bark but not speak. In the back you can also different fruits like coconuts, cherries, guava, and water spice mango.
Fun fact: there are many types of mango and apples in Guyana! My host family is Indo-Guyanese, which means they are of East Indian decent and they also practice Hinduism.
I am not gonna lie, the experience has not been all smiles. In two weeks, it has been a roller coaster for myself. There are times where I don’t feel like I am getting to know the community I am in or that my host family is providing the same things as other trainees are receiving/what I am supposed to be receiving (example, food).
The biggest issue I am working on is letting some of my independence go. Although some people love having someone do something for them, I am not that person. I have very much enjoyed doing things for myself, such as getting groceries and leaving when and where I want to. It makes me feel proud and self sufficient when I can do adult things for myself. However, I am not sharing this to complain about my home stay, but rather to express that the challenges you face in the Peace Corps don’t just happen at your permanent site. They can happen at anytime, during training or service, and with your first or second host family.
Challenges come in different shapes and sizes, and affect everyone differently. My challenges are definitely affecting me negatively. When something doesn’t go right, I shut down for the rest of the day. I stop participating in training, hanging out with fellow trainees, or ‘go to bed early’ when I am home. However, I am recognizing that my response to the challenges I face are not healthy, productive, or desired, so I made 10 goals for myself during training and service that I can continuously reflect and remind myself of.
- Be and stay positive.
- Keep an enthusiastic open mind.
- Keep trying (and re-trying) new foods.
- Its okay to be home sick but don’t let it consume your service.
- Explore what it means to be ‘Meredith Brewer’.
- Pursue and commit to new hobbies, such as journaling, blogging and yoga.
- Self care is the best care first.
- Be willing to ask for help.
- Worry less, trust more.
- DO SMALL THINGS WITH GREAT LOVE.
My life with my host family has greatly changed my daily schedule. I’m sure some of you are going to be surprised at my new start and stop times. Here’s a glimpse at my Monday-Friday schedule.
- 5:30am – wake up and do 30 minutes of yoga/light exercises.
- 6:00am – shower and get ready.
- 6:45am – go downstairs for coffee, breakfast, and to gaff (chat) with my host mom and niece.
- 7:30am – catch a ride with 3 other volunteers who live near me to our training site (30 min drive).
- 8:30am to 12:00pm – morning training sessions.
- 12:00pm – lunch.
- 1:00pm to 4:00pm – afternoon training sessions.
- 4:00pm – get a ride back at host family’s house.
- 4:00pm to 8:00pm – gaff and eat dinner with host family.
- 9:00pm – probably passed out in bed from waking up so early.
Yesterday, my fellow trainees and I found out where our sites are going to be following completion of training and swearing in as official volunteers!
Drum roll please . . . . . .
For the next two years, I will be staying and serving in Region 2 at one of the coastal community’s secondary school. I will be co-facilitating with the school and local health posts to further Guyana’s Ministry of Education and Health new health curriculum.
I am very excited to see what’s to come with my site and for my friends’ sites too. Only 7 weeks left of training then we are off to lend a hand to our community!
Can’t wait to share more from Guyana!