Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Going to a land between two rivers

Hooray! I did end up getting the site that I wanted and I will be leaving this coming Monday, although I think I will be posting this Monday. Regardless, I am happy, excited, anxious, etc. The last couple of weeks in training have been rather slow, so we’ve had a lot of down time. In the Peace Corps this means lots of reading, random movies (my host father loves Van Damne), and just sitting around talking about anything you can think up.

Although I don’t think I’m allowed to disclose the name of my organization, I believe I can say it is in Bartica. A nice hilly little town situation at the top of the Essequibo river delta that everybody I meet has something good to say about. It is known as a gateway into the interior, which means that it is a town that people come to coming out or going in to the interior. Consequently, Bartica is full of miners, loggers, and Brazilians (I’m not sure why Brazilians, but they have BBQ so they’re all right with me). Despite being an area of transition, I have been told that Barticans have a strong sense of community (it’s really only a 4 x 12 block grid). I have also been told or read that it hosts the Easter Regatta, a weekend of revelry, jolliness and high speed boat racing. Unfortunately I have just missed it.

As far as my living situation, again I can only speak of rumors (you never really know in the Peace Corps, things change very quickly, I wouldn’t be too surprised if I end up somewhere completely different because my house burned down or Bartica got ravaged by some natural disaster). For example, at first I was told that my house was completely furnished, including a bed, a mattress, a table and some chairs. Two days ago I found out that I have nothing in my house, so I will be sleeping in a hammock until I can find somewhere to buy a mattress. I am going to attempt to make my own bed frame. For now though, I know that I will be living with someone else, a male of 25 coming from the southern region of California. I also know that I will be living in a second story home that has an open first floor, which is nice to take in the breeze during the days. It has a balcony too! (some dreams do come true in the corps) However, the biggest rumor and most anticipated is that I might have wireless internet coming from a ******* near my house. Peace Corps Light.

As I said last post I am going to be working for a youth development organization that was set up by a previous volunteer. I have been told that they have a few computers with internet, various board games, and most exciting of all a ping pong table. So I figure that a lot of my time will be spent playing ping pong, board games or football (soccer to you Americans) with kids. Not a bad job to say the least, yet we will see.

Otherwise, family life is good. The kids were gone for a few days but they have returned and so has the noise. I still eat ungodly amounts of starch and curry. One of the dogs on my family compound just had (or dropped) a family of five with three survivors, they are incredibly small and blind for three weeks. I might take one when I come back for a five day wedding sometime in August. We’ve had a few “going away parties”, one really nice one a couple days ago that attracted quite a crowd. Without divulging to much information I will say that I have been having fun, and consequently my wallet grows thin.

I will leave you with a list.

What makes Tyler happy:

The price of Rum (world class for US$5, less than world class for US$2.50)

The amount of motorcycles

It’s the rainy season (a little bit cooler)

My site placement

Being able to cook my own food in two days

Not having class everyday

My soon to be porch

My mustache

Being in the Peace Corps

What makes Tyler unhappy:

The price of beer (won’t be found for under a US$1)

The fact that if I ride a motorcycle and PC finds out I will be sent home immediately

It’s still unbelievably hot

Packing, again

Leaving my host mom’s always amazing curry

Going to work everyday

Leaving the porch I have now, and the possibility of having no porch in the future

What girls think of mustaches

The Peace Corps

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

I should know soon.

Peace Corps has been keeping me busy, this four day Easter weekend was a welcome break. Prior to this I had 11 days straight of Peace Corps, most of the trainees here were on edge and ready for a little down time. Everything still remains the same, I am still in training although I only have two weeks left and both are short weeks. Although you can never really know down here, I should be hearing where my post is this coming Friday. Unlike my prior blogs, and I guess this is a excellent example of my indecisiveness, I opted to take a more urban post. If I get my first choice, I will be working at an “NGO” (I’m not entirely sure what the exact status is) working with children. It was actually set up by a prior volunteer and is just a general youth development organization. I pretty much told Peace Corps in my interviews that I wanted to play with children and would rather not end up in a health clinic or hospital (where most of the health posts are). Still, this is all guesswork, I won’t know for sure until this coming Friday, but from the people I’ve talked to it sounds like I’ll get the post. Bartica is one of the larger cities (I think it’s the third or the fourth), however large down here is around 20,000. I’ll give more information once I know if I’m there.

Yesterday, a decent number of the trainees went to a nice little lake in the area. The highlight of my day however, was not the lake but rather when the local chinee man showed up and brought chow fun. I had told him a few weeks ago at the restaurant that I wanted some and he said he’d brought it for me. There’s a lot of chinee restaurants down here, actually they are probably the most popular type of restaurant down here. The only downside is that they only sell fried rice and chow mein. I still have yet to try the “fried wantons”, which I assume are some sort of dumpling. Continuing with food, I learned how to make a curry today, it’s really not that hard but involves a lot of spices. My host father was on a delivery, so with the Muslim away we ate pork. They pressure cook almost everything down here so the meat is usually very tender (it is also usually bone ridden, fatty, in small quantities and extremely fresh, I actually plucked a chicken a couple weeks ago). I also am going to a jandi (sp?) tomorrow, which is a Hindu celebration of some sort, but we get seven curry quintessence of dining down here. I’m starting to notice that my food paragraph is getting long, I guess some things don’t change.

I brought back the mustache, it’s a Peace Corps Guyana Male Health Volunteer tradition, and I’ve learned throughout life the peer pressure is not worth fighting. My host aunt said I looked like a real American. She also continues to introduce (or drag) young giggling women to me at a rate of about 2 or 3 a week.

Other PC news, we had our first trainee go home and our first trainee end up in the hospital. The girl who left had some tough living situations. The girl who got sick spent a week in the capital with dengue fever, fun fun. I have yet to contract anything serious, but my allergies have kicked in and cause mild discomfort.

I’m starting to understand most of what’s being said to me, but there are still some people that I don’t have a first clue of what they are saying. Some examples, “meh nah know” (I don’t know) or “dem breeze be high today, bai” (it is very windy today man). Or if you want to emphasize something you don’t say very, but just repeat the adjective “dem bai is bad bad bad” (that boy is very bad). I find myself unconsciously speaking it sometimes.

And although I won’t post this today, I should say happy birthday Tim, I would call if I could.