Thursday, 19 April 2007

It's all in a day's work!

Sorry you have all had to wait so long for the next newsletter but we really have been incredibly busy. Who would have thought so? It’s a relatively stressless life but there are always things to do. The biggest of which is work!!! We don’t get school holidays and so going back to work on Easter Tuesday was a shock. Some would say about time” but we are at the time of our lives when we are starting to slow down.

Well, what has happened since we were last in touch? A lot. Our jobs are on a national level and involve lots of travelling throughout the country which we have already started. Travelling to the regions is very difficult because Guyana (Land of Many Waters) has rivers and waterfalls all over the place. The Essequibo River which I have crossed to go to a region has an island in it which is bigger than Barbados. Mary is working with a colleague and fellow VSO, Meg on Special Needs and Literacy. They are supporting schools in this area and will be doing workshops for teachers. We have already visited several regions - Regions 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 10 and Georgetown for either work or travel.

We get up at 6am as it gets light and it takes us one and a half hours to get ready – shower, breakfast, packed lunches, all the usual stuff, but it takes twice as long because of the heat and humidity and avoiding the mosquitoes who are winning at the moment. At any time we have about 50 old and new bites on our bodies but, thank goodness they are not reacting on us as much as they did at first. The “malaria” mosquito is mainly by night and the “dengue fever” one with the striped legs is during the day. Then it’s off on our bikes to work. We cycle for about 20 minutes through Queenstown where we live and to the National Park. Going through the park is great because there are foals and runners and other interesting early morning sights. We then turn right up to the sea wall and meet with the Atlantic and the last half mile we have the sea and its light breezes on our right. We arrive at NCERD, passed the Meridien Pegasus Hotel, where the cricketers stayed about three minutes before work starts. More about the cricket later. Everyone is very precise about arriving and leaving and lunchtime. It’s a pleasant office. The whole place is about the size of a small secondary school and like everything else in Guyana, is made entirely of wood. – a resource of which they have a lot. Our reverse journey home is just as interesting. We meet many dogs, goats, cows on the road, chickens and whatever is around. We arrive home about five. It’s dark at six and by the time we have cooked, eaten, done, some washing, checked emails, watched the news, we either watch a DVD which means we would be in bed as late as 9-30 or if we are particularly tired we might be tucked up under our mosquito net by 8-30am. It’s a good life so far and we make the best of the weekends and we’ve had a few National Holidays which we have taken advantage of.

We are into a routine. Survival shopping on a Friday, having taken our washing to “the lady that does” and fruit from the local fruit man a minute’s walk from the house. Survival is the local supermarket. It sells most things at a price. Food is expensive here and cleaning materials extortionate. Most people go to the market but that can be a bit of a challenge so we only get vegetables there. Anything from abroad, which is most things cost an arm and a leg. I don’t know how locals survive. We are not doing very well on our allowance and are digging deep into our own pockets but that is our choice. We used to have a Primera to take the shopping home. Now it’s my bicycle and that is a sight to be seen with bits on the back and front and my rucksack – a hazardous journey to say the least but cheaper than taxi and less dangerous than the minibus.

It's all going very well as life is so much more simple here!