Sunday, 30 November 2008

September to November News 2008

It's 30th November 2008 and we hold our first coffee morning for many months

It's 25th November 2008 and we return to Guyana from England

It's 20th Novemeber 2008 and we miss the VSO Forum in Lake Mainstay

It's 19th Novemebre 2008 and we miss our own Leavers' Forum because we are in England.

It's 15th November 2008 and we return to England for 9 days on the spur of the moment. A great trip.

It's 13th November 2008 and we go to the Windjammer Restaurant to celebrate 21 months in Guyana

It's 8th Novemeber 2008 and we go to the Theatre Gulid for a second week to see a performance of Moon on a Rainbow Shawl

It's 2nd Novemeber 2008 and we go to see a superb production of Joseph (same cast as last time) at the newly renovated theatre Guild.

It's 28th October 2008 and went to a Master Trainer friend for a superb celebration lunch.

It's 27th October 2008 and went to the Sea Wall to see the Diwali Motorcade for the Festival of Light

It's 26th October and went to National Cultural Centre to see the Guyana Police Force perform their cultural extrvaganza to celebrate 169 years of existence (as a police band)

It's 25th October 2008 and it's 110 days to go. Yes, we are now counting down. Mary seems to have fully recovered so all is well. Went to JR Burgers with Mira last night to celebrate Mary's return to health. She's been fancying a burger for a while but couldn't eat one.

It's 23rd October 2008 and great news - Director informs me that our Canadian backers GBET have agreed to supply materials so that my 11 modules of the Education Management Programme can be put into every school in the country as resource and training materials. Result!!!!! I just have to finish them now. Done 5 plus Handbook and Assessment guide and half way through 6 - 7, 8 and 9 to be done in three months. Very possible!

It's 22nd October 2008 and Mary returns to work after a week of unpleasant sickness. She is very tired and returns home after half a day and takes the rest of the week off.

It's 16th October 2008 and agreed with my Director that I will do no more training in Guyana but concentrate on writing the Management Modules. The Minister's decision was a blow but better to clear the decks and complete the work.

It's 15th October 2008 and Mira returns to Guyana after 3 months at home and some medical treatment. She is in great form and looking good. She spends the evening with us. Mira is proud to be our oldest volunteer and has been volunteering in different countries for 12 years. She has more energy than the rest of us put together.

Mary returned from Mahdia today another 8 hours of bumpy unmade road. Unfortunately, she has come down with something nasty! But her workshops were successful and worthwhile.

The first of my series of workshops "Leading from the Front" for Georgetown Senior Teams was due to start today but the Minister, in his wisdom. decided to use it for a press conference on the Strategic Plan just agreed by cabinet. So the workshops are cancelled! My biggest disappointment in Guyana so far but will recover.

It's 12th October 2008 and Mary and Meg travel again to Mahdia in Region 8 - the remotest region in the mountains. They go by minibus - 8 hours.

That same evening we are invited to our first Thanksgiving (Canadian) but, of course, Mary can't go. Imagine, turkey, stuffing and all the trimmings as well as an excellent Pumpkin Pie created by Nicolette and Martin. A great evening. Miriam was the host. Not a VSO but a volunteer with the RC Church who we met in St Lucia last Christmas.

It's 11th October 2008 and Mary and I go to Windjammer Restaurant to celebrate our 20 months in Guyana. Ist time we have done it alone. Lovely meal.

It's 9th October 2008 and we attend the graduation of Region Five on the West Bank Berbice. Another great occasion and the guest speaker again. They say such lovely things about me that it is embarrassing. I was introduced as "our beloved Stephen" so I must be doing something good. See for reports and pictures on both.

It's 6th October 2008 and Mary and I attend the Graduation for Region 4 with some graduates from Region 8. I was the guest speaker. A lovely occasion.

It's 4th October 2008 and Elizabeth (our Canadian intern neighbour living in our yard) has her leaving party. She will be leaving on Wednesday.

It's 3rd October 2008 and our good friend Cheryl has come to stay for a couple of nights from Corriverton. She will be going home for three months and then returning for an extension of 6 months on her placement. Celebrated by going to new thriving Chinese restaurant followed by karaoke at the Roopa Bar in Station St. No I didn't sing but Cheryl and Lucia did (like angels) the best in the bar.

3rd October 2008 - Programme Area Review at VSO for which I am NCERD representative - planning for future of the Education Programme

It's 2nd October 2008 and Celia from Mabaruma Region One comes to stay for a week for the Programme area Review and some work in a Georgetown Special School

It's 25th September 2008 and you may think we are counting down but today we worked out that there are only 20 weeks to go left in Guyana. Now, that's significant because, although it may seem like a long time. it means that we are 80% complete but we've still got about 50% of the work to do. Mary is in Bartica at the moment (I'm a bachelor for two days) doing workshops with her literacy educators. It's been a bit of a challenging day for her but she got through it. Speedboats there and back (Peter and Angela you know all about that). I'm plodding through the module on Financial Management. Not exactly exciting but one of my strengths so hopefully it'll tuirn out alright in the end.

Mary's off to Region One Mabaruma next week. She'll have to go by twin prop 10 seater plane. So on my own for another week. Will miss her but will get lots of work done.

It's 20th September 2008 and we're spending a quiet weekend at home with the usual shopping and cooking for the week. Mary has just prepared bottled garlic pork. Have to leave it a few days before we can eat it.

Just realised that time here is getting shorter. On Thursday we will have 20 weeks remaining. Sounds long but it's really short when you consider what we have to achieve in that time. I am turning away work at the moment. Can't keep up. Big task next month is to train all the Senior leadership Teams of all the 110 schools in Georgetown. Later I will be doing the same in Region 6 and with graduations to attend (that's a great pleasure) and still 5 modules to write and a lot of enjoying ourselves, there won't be much time!

Its 16th September 2008 and yesterday I was proud to be the guest of honour at the Region Two Graduation for the Education Management Programme. Speeches and certificates. it was an excellent affair and very enjoyable to be present.

It's 14th September 2008 and Mary goes to Santa Mission Amerindian Village and shakes hands with the PM who came up on her from behind.

It's 13th September 2008 and like every month on the 13th we celebrated our 19 months in Guyana. There were others who were celebrating 1 month and 13 months. we seem to be the old stagers now! We went th Windjammer restaurant.

It's 12th September 2008 and I delivered a workshop in Bartica Secondary to all the staff on teacher self-evaluation. It's great going to and from work by speedboat.

Saturday, 29 November 2008

Flying visit to England

On Thursday night we decided to go home for a few days, on Friday morning we booked a flight, on Saturday at 2-30am we got up, left at 3-30am and were on the plane at six to Barbados. What a turnaround! We have less than three months to go but felt a trip home would do us good and we would be able to see everyone. So that's what we did.

Waiting in Barbados Airport for 10 hours

We spent 10 hours in Barbados - no delays just a scheduled wait - then got the evening plane to Gatwick by Virgin Atlantic, arriving Sunday morning when Matt picked us up. Stayed the night at Ann's and then a few nights with Dad and then John and back to Dad's and then home just over a week later.

Waiting for Virgin to open

It was great to see everyone and catch up and now we are back with only three weeks to our Christmas break and 5 weeks in the new year. We've decided not to do a lot of extensive travelling on the way back because of the state of the £ / $ which makes it really bad value for money but we will just do a bit, probably Brazil, Suriname and French Guyana and then on the New York for a week or so and fly back from there. Should be back home by early March.

Mary writes her diary whilst we wait

We have a lot to do before then. I have completed 7 modules and have 2 to go then all the formatting and putting on the website. Mary has another workshop in Lethem (by small plane) for 5 day's next week and another to train some new master trainers to take over from her and Meg when we leave. All seems to be going well and we should just about be able to do it!

Gatwick on the way home

We just couldn't resist that one last Wetherspoon's fry up on the way back

And if you look carefully below, you will see that they put on a flight especially for us to Bridgetown Barbados - VSO 29. How appropriate!

I know pictures of airports are boring, but that's all we took. So much of a rush at other times, forgot to take the camera out!