The following week we invited all the VSOs around to our house for an Afternoon Tea with home made scones, bread and cakes. It was a lovely day. It started at around 4pm and we waited until the sun came over the yardarm as it does here at 6pm and then we had a little tipple – Banks Beer – the local brew and Rum and anything! A great time was had by all. Everyone gives a party at some time. Ours was to celebrate our anniversary, St George’s Day and the birth and death of Shakespeare all of which occurred on 23rd April.
Last week we went on a business trip to Vreed-en-Hoop which is just across the Demerara River to the West of Georgetown. We went to visit several schools and, yet again, saw first hand the challenges that schools have to face on a day today basis. However, the Nursery Schools seem to be an oasis of calm with their excellent display and generally very delightful schools – but they get every afternoon off to prepare. I suppose the strange thing about this trip was going to work and coming back on the launch across the river.
The following weekend was another National Holiday but there was no day off as it is on a Saturday. It was Indian Arrival Day which commemorates the Indian indentured labourers arriving in Guyana in 1838 to work in the sugar plantations. We treated ourselves by going to the Meridien Pegasus Hotel which is right next door to where we work – the only really “posh” hotel in Georgetown – and having one beer. At £1 a bottle, one is all we can afford on our salaries of £105 a month. We then went to the Horticultural show next door which, as our friend Meg says, is a bit like the Southport Flower Show. We had afternoon tea (a treat from the past with ladies with hats) and bought a few plants to decorate our veranda. We have quite a collection now! In the evening we went to the Arrival Day Concert in the Cultural centre which was almost 3 hours of Indian song and dance with some additional items from other ethnic groups. It was unbelievably colourful and a great experience. The next afternoon we went to the National Park to join in the Indian Family Fun Day.
Just a word about Sundays! I get up at about 5-45am to make the bread for the week and off to church on our bikes. It’s a great community. One week there was no priest so the women lay ministers did a service. Who says we can’t have women priests? Sundays are like Sundays here. Wherever you go at any time of day you can hear the services, usually evangelical with loud sermons and stirring music. It’s very uplifting.
I seemed destined to work in schools called St Mary’s. From my own school in the sixties – St Mary’s College to my last school where I was Headteacher in Croydon and now to a school in Brickdam, Georgetown – St Mary’s High - where I am helping out with some advice. Mary must be looking over me! (and then, of course, there’s my own Mary - she’s always looking over me!!!!)
Work is getting very hectic for both Mary and I. I am still busy with the Education Management Course for Headteachers, travelling around, meeting trainers and advising as well as getting together with large groups of trainees (Heads, Deputies and Senior Staff) to talk about Leadership and Management. In addition, I am giving management advice to schools where it is needed. I have been asked to prepare a series of 8 TV programmes on Leadership and Management and hope to go live in September. There’s never a dull moment. Mary and Meg have got several projects going at the same time from training on SEN in nursery schools to planning large 3 day SEN workshops to be held in Georgetown for teachers across all the regions. She’s also planning work to train teachers for after school clubs linked to a feeding programme for children. What busy little bees we are!
It’s been a bit like work, work, work in the last few weeks but there are exciting things on the horizon – the most pressing of which for Mary and Meg is to go to Windies Sports Bar at 10am this morning to watch the FA cup. This afternoon we are having Guyanese cooking lessons and tomorrow we have been invited along with all the VSOs to a Pool and Barbecue Party at the residence of the British High Commissioner! Watch this space!
Photos are from the Georgetown Botanical Gardens which are about 10 minutes walk from our house. The middle one - the water lilly is the national flower of Guyana and you see them everywhere, in dykes, ditches, rivers and canals. They last for about one day but there are always others to replace them. The seed pod, on the left is almost as spectacular and looks like a giant sieve. On the right is the Georgetown Kissing Bridge.
If you want to see more pictures of what we've been up to during this period, click on the picture below to go to the web link.
|From Shell Beach to Arrival Day 2007|