Hello! It has been a long time since my last blog post. Can you believe that? Many things (big and little) have happened since then, so let me fill you in.
First off, I am doing fine, great even! As many of you read in my last post, my time with my training host family has not been as smooth as I thought it would be. Thank you to those who reached out to me. It means a lot that you took the time to read my blog and followed up with me. I unfortunately can’t say the situation has gotten better or that my comfort level has improved. I have done everything that I have been told and have followed all the steps to mitigate the issues at hand, but sometimes it is not enough. Sometimes people are too stuck in ‘their way is the right way’ to ever see the world in another persons shoes. Sadly, because of the various attempts with myself and outside persons and inability to change, I have come to the conclusion that I will just stick it out for the next 2.5 weeks. It is no longer worth my time and energy to fight a brick wall. I know this all sounds negative, but here is how I think of it . . . Like I mentioned in the last post, I am not just complaining to complain. I am voicing my issues to show that problems arise during training and service. I have followed through with every step and have not seen change, and therefore I have deemed it better to just suffer in silence then to keep battling. And that’s the other thing, its good to know when enough is enough. Obviously this issue is small compared to others, but I have recognized that its not worth my time anymore. Its not worth me being frustrated.Instead, I looking to the future (aka the 5 months after swearing in) where I’ll be living with a new family, in a new village. I am really excited to meet them and experience the Essequibo coast in a new light. My next host family is relatively younger (parents are in their 30s), they have 2 kids around the ages of 9, and a set of grandparents that live with them too. Both host parents are teachers, and one of them will actually be working with me at the local secondary school! I am very hopeful and interested to see what the next steps in my PC service will be like after the completion of PST.
During PST, we have various sessions covering language, culture, health, safety & security, and technical skills. A little over 2 weeks ago, our cohort (GUY 31) was separated by sector to start our technical training.When I applied to PC and interviewed for Guyana, I did so under what is now the “old” health framework. The old framework’s primary focus were the health centers in Guyana. Volunteers were to assist at their sites’ clinic first, then teach any health programs after. There is definitely more to the old framework, but I just can’t remember now. Basically, I had said yes to the PC partially on the fact that I would be gaining clinical work I could use for graduate school.Sadly, unbeknown to me (and to the rest of my fellow health sector people), this framework was changed in November 2017 . . . That’s right last November. Long before I
would step foot in Guyana and a month after receiving and accepting my invitation to serve. Information about the framework changing did not come into my hands until a couple months before staging during a phone call I had with my Program Manager.Although the misinformation and last minute notification was frustrating, the new framework has its positives. Instead of working in the clinics, we will now be teaching the health curriculum (Health & Family Life Education) in the secondary schools. Even though I am neither a teacher nor did I get my degree in education, I still believe there is value in teaching these important topics to children. It is better to be proactive with youth than reactive with elders.With that being said, learning how to teach has been the majority of my technical training these past couple of weeks. Everyday for one week, all 12 health sector volunteers planned, prepped and practiced creative lesson plans with and for each other. We made lessons individually and as pairs. Then took those lessons plans and taught them to real, live teenagers in what we called ‘model school.’For model school, I worked with another Peace Corps Trainee, Sir Lumesh, to teach the comfortable and uncomfortable health topics, such as puberty, contraception, STIs, self esteem and personal health. We had such an amazing group of kids that ranged from 12-17. I actually felt sad on the last day of our 2 weeks when I had to say bye to all of them.
I never thought I would say this in my life, but I am excited to start teaching at my school so I get 2 years rather than 2 weeks!
Hanging with my cohort.
Come August 15th, GUY 31 will swear-in in the capital city and then be shipped off to our individual sites. Never to see each other again! Just kidding! We will see each other at IST, MST, and COS, and not mention all the in-country trips we will take with each other. But either way, training is sadly (and quickly) coming to a close. I never thought that 8 weeks in country would go by so fast or that I would make so many good friends. Here’s to our last couple weeks together as Peace Corps TRAINEES and making it to swearing in as official Peace Corps VOLUNTEERS!