-these are my views, not those of Project Trust-

Sunday, 22 September 2013

A bit about everything

The past three weeks of teaching have shown me that I will not be (and never had any intention of) pursuing a career as a teacher. Not that anything has gone terribly wrong (yet), but it's just not for me. However, it's not too bad. I'm teaching Grade 9, the majority of whom are aged 13 or 14, which is the oldest grade in the school. The pressure is on, as they have national exams at the end of the year in the four core subjects - English (my favourite), Science, Maths and Social Studies. 'Take each day as it comes' is some of the best advice I've ever received. As each day passes, the next one is the most important. Not the day next August when I'll return home (which has been on my mind a lot), not the last day of the current term and not the coming Friday. Unless, of course, it's Thursday. Teaching is made easier by the fact that I teach outside in the shade underneath the mango trees. The school has a zinc roof, so is intolerably hot from around 9.00 every morning. The school day begins at 8.30 and ends at 2 in the afternoon, with lunch break between 11.30 and 12.00. This is also the time when Steven and I get fed at the Hot Meals, which is wonderful - we are guaranteed one proper meal each day.

As wonderful as sleeping in hammocks may sound, it's really not. I am still getting used to it, and think I may have finally adjusted my hammock to the correct height. Sleeping in a hammock requires a certain way of lying at an angle across it on your back, and when I'm used to sleeping on my front and side, this has led to some nights with very little sleep. We're living in a traditional mud brick house with external plumbing.

The front room in our house, taken from the front door.

Our house and benab
September here is Amerindian Heritage Month. This has meant that teaching time has been partially reduced due to the celebrations. On Tuesday 10th we had the whole day off, as we were transported to Merriwau, a satellite village of Shulinab around 3-4 miles east. The vehicle takes as many as possible - there was the driver and myself, 16 grade nines, the grade eights and one grade four in and on the 4x4. As you can imagine, most people don't wear seatbelts. The celebrations consisted of a number of competitions - kari drinking, cotton spinning and cassava bread making to name but a few. This lasted the whole day. The winner from each competition was selected to represent Shulinab at the South Central Heritage (our area of the Rupununi). This took place one week later at Potarinau, a village 5 miles south. We walked after school one day, leaving at 12. on our way there, we got completely soaked by rain, but then proceeded to go swimming in the Sawariwau River in our shorts anyway. The Heritage celebrations at Potarinau were similar to those at Shulinab, but with less drunk Amerindian men. We eventually got home at 11.30, after a ride on the back of the village 4x4.
The Toushau (village captain) and myself at the Heritage celebrations in Merriwau

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Quick update...

First of all, I'd like to apologise for not posting anything since arriving in Guyana - it's been a whirlwind. The 10 days in Georgetown, then down to Shulinab and two weeks of teaching have, for the most part, passed in a flash.

I'm unsure what to post right now; I wish I had posted in Georgetown about my time there, but it never happened. Since arriving in Shulinab I've lived in two separate house, struggled to sleep in a hammock and started to get used to teaching. It's been a complete rollercoaster of emotions since leaving home. A number of times I wish that I'd never come, whilst at others I've been having the time of my life.

This post was just a quick update for so far. Next weekend I'll try to do a proper post about what I've done so far. I fear, however, that there may be a lack of photos as the internet is so slow!