Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Happy Holidays

In truly the spirit of giving, I have decided to make a holiday post. And in the spirit of remorse I must apologize for my lapse in writing. First, I wish a Happy Holidays to all. It is a bit odd that it’s 90F out and also December, but rest assured that Guyanese have attempted to make me feel at home. Christmas lights have been put up, and my favorite is quickly becoming the icicle lights that never seem to melt in this heat.

Walking around today I’ve noticed that there are similarities between our two countries. The shops are beyond capacity, the traffic (there’s only about 15 roads in Bartica) is worse (it is quite funny to hear taxi drivers complain about traffic, when it really never lasts more than 30 seconds). So, despite the incredible heat it is starting to feel a lot like Christmas, which depending on your temperament is a good or bad thing.

I’ve finally gotten the computer lab up and running and my group of loyal after school children increases daily. A typical day I see about 40 children pass in and out of my doors. A good twenty stay for the whole time I am open. I try to keep the kids interested by keeping the atmosphere relaxed, and let the kids learn computers as I learned them, simply enjoying. Their progress though is undeniable. It’s more incidental learning yet, I see them developing the problem solving skills that only time spent on a computer can produce. Soon, I am hoping to hold adult classes, for which there is a high demand, and from which I am hoping to produce some income to help pay for maintenance costs. Again, I must thank all the donors who participated in the program, and I hope to have some more video footage of the completed lab up on youtube soon. Will get the word out when I have.

My cooking has shifted focus a bit, but not too much. I still eat a lot of beans, but I have been exploring other things. Lately, a friend of mine gave me a Basil plant, so I have been cooking a lot of Italian fare, including a stab at making my own pasta the other day. It was a success. My next experiment is going to be ravioli. Other than Italian, I have also been making a fare amount of Mexican, thanks to my roomates’ parents who kindly gave us a large amount of taco seasoning. I’ve become quite satisfied with my refried beans (from dry beans) and my tortillas (can’t use enough baking powder, and thin thin thin).

Although I have been working at it now for a few months (sometimes less consistent than I would like) I have been doing P90X in the mornings. It works better for me than running because unless you leave the house before 5:30 AM the sun will turn you into a pile of melted insides. So, in the comfort of my own home I try to do all the push ups and other exercises that the man on my computer screen tells me. I think I see results, but that could just be optimism, conversely this sentence could just be pessimism.

I did realize that it was a bit odd traveling to Barbados and never once going in the water. Especially coming from a country where there is no other color water besides brown or black. Nevertheless, I did enjoy seeing my family and playing some golf, which I discovered I have a certain knack for. We ate nice food, food I missed (baguettes, broccoli, parmesan cheese, provolone cheese, deli ham, salami, Tostitos and salsa, fresh milk, wine, romaine lettuce), food that I knew too well (most of the food in Guyana is from Trinidad, which is the supplier for most of the Caribbean). It was also interesting comparing the two Caribbean countries, Bajans see the Guyanese as cheap labor. One conversation went, “hey, where can I get a cheap beer?” “Guyana (in a disdainful tone)”. I was only too happy to return to Guyana.

Another happening in Bartica, is the return of the Bush boys. This means that all the people who work in the jungle are coming out for the holidays. And this means that they are looking to have a good time, and have more than enough money to do so. So, the past couple weeks have been seeing old friends and having a drink or two (bush boys treat). It may perhaps provide some after Peace Corps opportunities too.
And while they come out of the bush I am going to be in the Bush for Christmas, to go by my British friend. He’s been living here for about seven years now, and we’ve become good friends. It’ll be interesting having a Christmas in the middle of the jungle (literally, you cannot see a single sign of human civilization from his house, besides his house). It’s a bit of an English menu, Yorkshire pudding (still have yet to see what this is), Port, and roast potatoes; but, it includes a proper Butterball turkey, potatoes and stuffing so I am happy.

Again, Happy holidays to all, thanks for all your continued support and I will see all of you in the States soon enough.

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