Although I am not one to celebrate arbitrary landmarks, it has been a year since I’ve been at my site here in Bartica. And why not? Guyana is a country that celebrates three different sets of religious holidays, and also three different ethnicities’ holidays. So, I think that adding just one more to the mix won’t harm anyone.
Life here continues, nothing really new to note (no marriages, promotions, babies, near death incidents). I enjoy a simple life. I cook, I eat, I drink, I dance, I meet (and that is usually the order). And yet it still remains that my primary activity is learning. I’ve become a better cook, “eater”, dancer (in Caribbean terms), and generally a better conversationalist. Also, I must say that I have increasingly become a news junkie, I do have three news networks, namely BBC, al Jazeera, and CNN. Much thanks to my loving mother for rounding out my news appetite by faithfully sending down Economists. And I know it will please some, namely the Brits and my parents, that I have taken to drinking tea, minus my morning coffee. I’ve been averaging probably about five to seven cups a day.
Speaking of food, which is always a point of focus in my life, my diet has changed a bit. I’ve been eating a lot of beans, all sorts of beans, lentils, split peas, black eyed beans, red kidney beans, black beans, chick peas and perhaps a couple others. Although, that is most of the bean collection here. Also, I’ve started a healthy relationship with pumpkin. I really haven’t been eating any meat, for reasons of finance and convenience. The other difference is that I have tried my hand at baking lately, and have had some success making my own bread. The problem with bread down here is that it is all sweet, so I make my own bread minus sugar. I’m planning on making a loaf tonight to complement some lentil soup.
The rainy season is back, which means a few things. First, Guyana gets even more lazy. Rain for the Guyanese means you don’t leave the house, it is a perfectly acceptable excuse to not show up for work or any other engagement. So, I have reluctantly decided to assimilate. Second, it is a few degrees cooler, mostly due to the fact that there are actually clouds so the sun doesn’t burn a hole in your head or any other exposed limb. Finally, and of course there is always a negative aspect with me, it makes drying clothes a very strategic affair, it took me almost a week to dry my last wash.
On a more productive note, and I know people like to hear that, my grant is making progress. We’ve nearly reached half of the funds requested. My hope is to have the money by summer time so that I can have the computer lab up and running for a couple of summer classes and also be fully prepared for the coming school year this fall. I just completed a video promoting MYI, which I am going to be putting up on youtube. I am going to try and load it down here with the slow internet speeds, and if I fail, I will have to send a CD up to the States to have someone load it for me (volunteers?). I think you will enjoy it, at least you will be able to see where I spend my afternoons and some of the kids that I work with.
I suppose one new thing that I have not mentioned is that I have been making trips into the bush to visit my British friend. He does live in the middle of no where and it is a nice weekend retreat to go out and help him with his farm and the building of his “island”. He lives on the bank of the Mazaruni River, one of the largest in Guyana and also where a majority of mining is done. He also has a small (50 ft. x 50 ft.) island that I recently helped to develop a bit. For now it is just a patio that we hung hammocks on that you have to swim to, but there are plans to build a bridge or something so that you can reach without getting wet. And also a few things to spice up the island, namely a diving board and a rope swing. I plan to go out again soon.
I hope my english is still inteligble.