Sunday, August 28, 2005

A month of . . . uh . . . chillin'?

Ok, so it's been a bit since I updated last. That's not because I've been busy. Oh no. The trouble for the most part has been my internetlessness. That honestly should change once school gets going, because in a couple weeks I'll be moving again to my final location, Abram Zuil. Mooching should be a little more convenient there because it's near a school with an computer lab.

What I'm really looking forward to though is simply having my own space. Even though my host families have been cool enough, I have to say that living out of a suitcase for 3 months now has lost it's romantic appeal. So yeah I'm stoked to move, and actually move IN this time. That moving action should happen in two more weeks. First though, I'm actually going to have to do some real work (Hey, I thought this was the Peace Corps), because school starts tomorrow. I've been asked to be there by 8:00, and uh . . . that's all. Oh baby.

I kinda get the impression that the kids all just run amok the first week or so, because when I asked if I should prepare a lesson plan or something (for whatever science or math class it is that I'm teaching) they just told me not to worry, 'the students don't pay attention very well until they get schedules', and that doesn't happen until the second week of school. Yippie. I guess I'll be uh . . . observing the uh . . . education process this week to get myself familiarized and then I'll be given classes starting sometime later.

Aside from doing nothing to prepare for school and not moving yet, what have I been doing you ask? Well, I really do read and sit in a hammock a lot. Sometimes though, when the mosquitos are bad, I sit under my mosquito net and read there instead. Yeah, life is hard alright. It really is good to be starting school tomorrow, because I'm not sure what I'd be doing if it didn't.

Here's a capsule list of my precious few accomplishments since becoming a volunteer:

1. I bought a bike.This was actually a big one for me because even when I move, I'll still be a few miles from my school so a bike is kinda critical. I wanted to find one that would actually maybe last two years though, so I had to make an effort to avoid the standard bikes for sale all along the coast, which from their weight and feel seem to be made of some sort of pig iron/lead composite alloy. Cutting edge. Literally, ha ha. I didn't like those pants anyways. So after quite a bit of shopping I found one dude that was selling a couple bikes with aluminum frames. I asked him if he knew what kind of aluminum it was made of. Turns out it's the 'metal' kind. That's a relief. I ended up getting one of them.

I've only had my bike for a week though, so I still need to explore most of the dirt roads in the area. I'd like to find a road that goes into the jungle because getting attacked by a leopard sounds like fun. I'll keep you guys posted on this one.

2. I've chilled with my host family.I've been doing a lot more with my current host family than I did with the last one. My first homestay family wasn't even around very much, because the father worked evenings and the mom had classes most weeknights. This one has a lot more time to hang out though, so we've been doing that. I've been following them around when they go out, and they've introduced me to a bunch of people around the coast. They like to play Scrabble too, so I'll be coming back to chill with them sometime when I move out.

3. Ha ha. You think I've been busy enough to do three things? Consider this: I've been reading so much, that when another volunteer friend finished a Star Trek novel that he was working on, I snatched it up immediately. Yes, I've now read a Star Trek novel, and I've only been doing this for a month. It doesn't get much worse than that, no sir. Here's to school starting tomorrow. (cheers)

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

The End of Training

Okay so . . . when I said "more next week" everyone knew that I was using secret slacker code right? If you didn't know, "next week" is slacker for "at least two weeks from now or maybe never." You'll know in the future when I'm using secret slacker code and when I'm not by guessing correctly.

Incidentally, secret slacker code is similar to Guyanese Creole in many respects. The only difference is that many of the words are slurred to the point of undeciferability. For example, the Guyanese phrase "ee kumin' by we jus' now" translates to "he's coming over in two weeks or maybe never" in English. Sweet.

Anyways I've been kinda busy lately. Training is over, and I swore in officially as a volunteer last Friday. We had a big swearing-in ceremony in Georgetown that took up a few hours. There were a few speeches of varying dullness and then everyone in our group swore to 'uphold the United States Constitution', whatever that means. I take my ceremonies very seriously. After that we had a swearing-in party with any other volunteers in the area that felt like coming and with our host families. When I turned on the TV the next day I noticed that the entire ceremony was being broadcasted on the Guyana TV news station. Apparently the US and Canadian ambassadors attended. Huh.

The last two weeks of training went by quickly but were a little stressful. The week before last was teaching practice week, where we practiced teaching on unsuspecting Uivtlugt students. We were split up into groups of two and each given a class of about ten real live students who were lured by the promise of free snacks. Honestly I have to say that teaching these classes was a big challenge for me. I think the problem was the subject matter we were asked to teach: life skills. Our first lesson was about role models. Hooray. Anyways I survived. I'm glad I signed up for teaching science and math in the long run and none of this sillyness.

Right now, I'm chilling in the goofily-titled town of Adventure on the Essequibo coast. Adventure is a village a few miles down the road from Golden Fleece and Zorg, but I'll only be living here for about the next six weeks. In Guyana, the Peace Corps puts all the volunteers that they can in secondary host families for a short while once they go to their sites. I guess the idea is that it'll help us get tight with the community a little faster. So now I'm living with another host family, and this one has two boys ages 9 and 11. They're cool. In a couple weeks I hope to get some pictures going on this blog so you guys can see what all the places and people I'm bumping into look like.

So that's about where I am right now. I'm now an official volunteer, at my site, living with a new family, and pretending to be working. Since I'm a teacher though and school's out my workload isn't very exhausting just yet. School starts late in August and until then my job description is going to be something along the lines of "read books in a hammock and get ready to do stuff." After the last two months of running around though, that's just fine with me.