Saturday, 20 September 2008

Link to

Did you know that you can now access this blog through:

It's easier to remember.

But also, the website (in the form of a blog) is now fully operational. I have spent many hours working on it. All of the modules that I have written are on it as well as a description of the Graduation I attended and the workshop at Bartica High School and much more. So if you are interested in the work we do, just check it out.

Graduation Report -Click here!

Mary's visit to Santa Mission Amerindian Village

"Inspiring our nation to move forward in unity"

On 13th September 2008, last Sunday, Mary went to Santa Mission to celebrate Amerindian Heritage Month and it was a really good day out. There were all the usual long winded speeches but she said it was lovely to see the children singing and dancing and reciting poems.
The Prime Minister was the guest of honour and after the ceremonies, including the opening of the new school, he went 'walkabout'. She was sitting on the grass with the group of people she was with and did not know he was behind her until he shook her hand, asked her if she was VSO and told her she was very welcome in Guyana. Somehow I don't think you are meant to be sitting down when you shake hands with the Prime Minister!

The day included the official opening of a school and the village office, the unveiling of a monument, a kayaking competition, various cultural events and the President (well, the acting President in the form of the Prime Minister).

You can see all of the photographs in a slide show here.

Or click on the picture below and it will take you to the actual photos.

Monday, 1 September 2008

News for July and August 2008

It's 31st August 2008 and having a lazy day after Carifesta. Martin and Nicolette return today from Canada and will have dinner with us tonight.

It's 26th August 2008 and Celia (volunteer from Mabaruma Region One) has returned from England on her way back to her placement. More problems with planes and so she didn't get to until 3am. We went to city Hall to see a St Lucia Dance. Brilliant!!!

It's 24th August 2008 and Cheryl has come for the night (volunteer from Corriverton). We went to JR Burgers for a bit of western style food as it was Meg's last day before she goes to New York to see her son and England for a month. We always go to JR's when someone leaves.

It's 22nd August 2008 and Derek and Trudy (volunteers from Bartica) came for the weekend. It is also the starte of Carifesta. See main article on the right.

It's 22nd August 2008 and did the second part of my presentation. Again, it seemed to go alright but I'm not sure that they really wanted to hear what I had to say but were polite and told me I had given them food for thought. This type of training is my least favourite part of my placement and I have to confess it causes me a lot of stress. But it's over now.

It's 21st August 2008 and Peter and Angela are already on their way home after a superb week of adventure, chat and the occasional Rum and Juice. Today I had a big workshop presentation with all of the Regional Education Directors and all of the Offoicers of the Ministry of Education. It was a real challenge for me as i was asked to describe education as it exists in Guyana from my point of view and then give strategies on how to develop it. It went OK but was far from easy.

It's 13th August 2008 and Peter and Angela didn't arrive last night but were directed to Trinidad where they stayed in a hotel for 3 hours and then got the 4am flight to Georgetown. Some violent lightening storms put out the lights on the runway in Georgetown and so they couldn't leave until it was light. We met them and the adventure started. See main article on left.

It's 12th August 2008 and our friends peter and Angela are arriving today at around 10pm.

It's 8th August 2008 and the workshop is over. It was a great success, a triumph because i got a standing ovation at the end so they must have liked it. Lots of hard work but makes you feel good about what you do.

It's 4th August 2008 and today I started my biggest workshop of the year - Master Trainers from all over the country - 32 of them. They are the people who train the Headteachers and I train them. What a responsibility.

It's 27th July 2008 and I am on my own. Mary is in Mahdia in Region 8 with Meg delivering her fast Track Initiative Literacy Workshop. I'm pleased to report that we are both well and thriving in Guyana.

It's 9th July 2008 and it's Matt's birthday. Happy Birthday, Matt. I always seem to be saying how busy we are and it's certainly true. We had a three day weekend because of Caricom Day. It's like the EU for the Caribbean. We were saying how much we enjoyed the extra day but we are also really looking forward to the 7 day weekends we hope to enjoy when we get home. Yes, we are starting to think of home as it gets closer because there is so much to do in just 7 months.

Mary continues to do her Phonics Fast Track workshops and will be doing some serious travelling with Meg in the next few weeks. 3 -5 day workshops in Bartica Region 7, followed by Mahdia Region 8 in the mountains and the next week Mabaruma Region 1. All require a long boat or plane ride. I will be a lonely batchelor but I have enough work to do to keep me occupied.

My deadlines are now that I have to have 5 modules print ready (about 80 pages each) by 18th July. A tall order but it will be done. So, my computer in the office is red hot and I am churning it out at an alarming rate. Thank God for the internet and, in particular, the Standards Site which helps me enormously.

Whilst writing this our landlady has just rung the bell and given me a basket of bananas from the garden. This morning a teacher gave us a bag of mangos so I know what the juice will be next week.

I notice that the longest day in England has passed. Every day in Guyana is the longest day as they are all the same length - 12 hours day and 12 hours night. There's no sense, therefore, of the passage of time except for the rainy season which is now over but the weather doesn't seem to have noticed yet because we have torrential rain almost every day. I battle through the rain on my bike but Mary sometimes gets a taxi as she is performing and can't arrive all wet.