My final days in Region 2. We have now been in Guyana for nine whole weeks! Time is literally flying! When I think back to boarding the flight in New York, it feels like that was so long ago but the weeks have been going fast here. As they say in Guyana, “The days are long but the months are short.” I use to think two years was a really long time away from home, but I am starting to think that it will go by faster than expected. Training is officially coming to an end. In three short days I will be swearing in as an official Peace Corps Volunteer!! I am so excited to finally use what I learned in training and begin to work in a community. I have enjoyed the free time throughout training but I am excited to actually have a job and get a schedule going; It still kind of feels like I am at summer camp.
This past Wednesday we had our last TAP interview and received our invitations to serve for Peace Corps Guyana! Then Thursday and Friday we spent our time as a cohort getting ready for our Host Family Appreciation celebration and sharing movies and tv shows off of our hard drives. I think I now have 15 different tv shows, including all of the seasons, and about 875 movies. Haha I think its safe to say I will survive if I ever am to get bored. Someone also gave me the Game of Thrones series so now I can finally figure out what all the buzz is about. I also received the Harry Potter series on tape so I can finally “read” that! I am really becoming like my mother while I am here; I have already read five books, which is more than I have read in the last five years I think. Haha (yes, I know that’s sad, I’ve been busy!)
Saturday, we celebrated our host families. We had all of our families come and as groups we wrote poems or songs to say thank you to our families for taking us in and feedings us these past nine weeks. We made our own version of family feud and had staff play against a group of parents as they answered questions like, “What do volunteers really do when they say they are going to bed?” or “what are the volunteers favorite food or meal?” A lot of Guyanese people love Steve Harvey for whatever reason, so I think they really enjoyed the game. We ended the event with a song from of all the volunteers and then we handed out host family certificates and paper plate awards. My family unfortunately couldn’t make the event, but I awarded them the “Fried Plantain Master” Award for obviously making the best Fried Plantains. And it was a good thing they were good because I ate them A LOT! After the celebration we had beverages and took photos and thanked our families again for being so hospitable and teaching us so much and really preparing us for our permanent sites.
Afterwards I headed to the local grass field with a couple volunteers since there was a track and field event going on that wanted some help officiating. Of course, a couple days prior I was walking through the local market and the guy running the track meet approached me and asked if I was aware of the event and wanted to know if I could help out since “I looked athletic”. Lol So I witnessed my first track meet in Guyana! And it was awesome! They had cut the grass down and set up flags to show the 300m track and spray-painted lanes for the 100 m dash. There was a stand of local food you could purchase and there was a small beer garden. The other volunteers and I were given the job of standing at the finish line and pointing out who got 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. Then I filmed the finish just in close it was a close one. The meet was supposed to start at 5 but in typical Guyanese fashion, it didn’t really start till 7. A that point the flood lights were up and it was a really nice twilight meet. They started with the 400m race and then moved on to the 1500. The races were based on age group and after seeing the first couple races I decided that I was for sure not participating in this event, especially because I haven’t ran in two months. Haha By 8pm we decided that we had to go home because our curfew was technically 6pm and some of us had weddings to attend. I went home, and I could still hear the track meet going on after 10pm. From this first encounter, I can tell that the Guyanese know how to throw a good track meet, and it makes me excited to get to my site where the national stadium is. It was a nice little event to say goodbye to region 2 before I head off to region 3.
My bags are all packed for Georgetown, the Capital. And let me tell you, it is WAY HARDER to pack up my bags the second time around. I don’t know how I made it to country with these two suitcases because trying to put everything back in them was a struggle. It also doesn’t help that PC gave us a whole stack of books for teaching. I had to put all of those in a garbage bag. My host family is going to think I am crazy when I show up with two giant suitcases, a huge garbage bag, and a big box with a water filter, oh and two satchels. At least in two years it will be easy to pack for the states since all my clothes will most likely be burned or given away. (Handwashing doesn’t do the best job at getting the sweat and smell out of all my clothes)
My big suitcases will be dropped off at the library tomorrow and will be loaded on a van with everyone else’s to head to the capital. Then I will be living out of a backpack for the day until I leave my host family forever on Tuesday morning. All of us will bus to Suddie, where we will pick up a speed boat over to Parrika, then grab another bus all the way to Georgetown, passing my permanent site along the way. We will get a tour of the Peace Corps Headquarters and the capital and then we will meet our school supervisors that afternoon. Then we spend one last night together in a hotel and swear in as official volunteers on Wednesday. The ceremony is being held at the US Ambassadors house, so that will be really fun! I will make sure to blog all about it later. After the festivities we head off with our supervisors in a car to our permanent sites, saying goodbye to all of the volunteers until we are reunited in a year for mid service training. I’ll be in an area where I’ll run into maybe two or three volunteers regularly, but I probably won’t see about half of the volunteers for a year. I am excited to explore Georgetown with everyone and have one last hooray! Its bittersweet saying goodbye but it’s an exciting new beginning for the adventure ahead. I am hoping my site is as amazing as the staff tells me and I am hoping to have a better relationship with my next host family.
The future is unknown but what I do know is that I am ready for it and am extremely excited!