Angie

RIP Spider Jacob
Yes, last week Saturday, while I was flipping pancakes in my pajamas, I noticed a little black thing move across the floor. I turned, pancake spatula in hand, and noticed that it was the tarantula. I don’t know where the bravery came, truly it shocks me now, but in 2 seconds, I grabbed my camera. I took 4 shots, all of which were blurry because I was pretty nervous. As soon as I got a good one, I dropped the camera and grabbed the bug spray. I then commenced to killing the spider. And I’ll spare you the details because it was pretty sad. But I knew I couldn’t live with a huge poisonous spider in my house. I then did a little research and discovered that the tarantula was actually a 4-inch wolf spider. And, as I have just finished the Twilight series, I felt it necessary to name the spider after my favorite werewolf: Jacob. So please take a moment of silence for this harry creature who is no longer. And I really am sorry… but my pancakes were burning!

Education in my city
Although school is mandatory for children age 5-16, many students do not attend school after age 11. The schools are based on the British System:
1. Nursery School: Preschool and Kindergarten
2. Primary School: Grades 1-6
3. Secondary School: Grades 7-12

Crime (I found some info in one of my Peace Corps books to help me answer this question)
“When it comes to your safety and security in the Peace Corps, you have to be willing to adapt your behavior and lifestyle to minimize the potential for being a target of crime. As with anywhere in the world, crime exists in Guyana. You can reduce your risk by avoiding situations that make you feel uncomfortable and by taking precautions. Crime at the village or town level is less frequent than in large cities; people know each other and generally will not steal from their neighbors. Tourist attractions in large towns, for instance, are favorite work sites for pickpockets. Guyana is considered a low-risk country for terrorist activity, but a high-risk one for petty crimes and aggravated assaults, including the use of weapons. As in the United States, you cannot be too careful. Walking alone at night or simply being alone in an isolated area can put a person at risk of being robbed, harassed, or even physically and sexually assaulted. In late 2002 and early 2003, there was an upsurge in drive- by killings, shootings, kidnappings, and armed robberies. However, security forces are working hard to bring these crimes to an end, and more recently, there has been a marked decline in criminal activity.”


Pollution

Littering, pollution, and sanitation are all serious issues here in Guyana. Trash is either thrown on the side of the road or piled up and then burned. After harvesting the crops in the sugar cane and rice fields, the chaff is burned. Which is why all of the dust that floats in the air is black. There are huge factories that have black soot coming out of their towers. And, the waterways (ocean wall, rivers, creeks, etc.) are all used as places to dump trash.

Health
Guyana has socialized health care. This means that everything is free. However, it also means that there are not that many doctors willing to work for the state’s wages. Therefore the treatment at state hospitals is at the level of the 1950’s in America. There are shortages in supplies. For instance, if you were about to have a baby you would have to bring in your own sheets, blankets, towels, water, diapers, gauze, food, pillows, etc. The alternative is to go to a private doctor or private hospital. The care and services are more advanced, but still, if anything too major happened you wouldn’t have many options. The HIV/AIDs rate in Guyana is the second highest in the western hemisphere-next to Haiti. Suicide rates are astronomically high as well.

City Services (Utilities)
Thankfully, there is always water in my town. There is a main line under the street and each house just runs a pipe off of it. However, to get the water in to your house, you have to pump it up into a storing tank. This sounds strange, but without it, there wouldn’t be water pressure to take a shower with. The city also provides electricity, but charges about 10 times the price, as it would be in America. So people are very careful about using electricity. There are daily blackouts, so everyone keeps the candles ready. The city provides schools, libraries, care for the elderly, special needs education, trash collection, and post office.

Entertainment
Guyanese entertainment is LOUD! People here are born knowing how to party. Reggae, pop, hip-hop, and Chutney (Indian pop) are the most popular types of music. Movie theaters were outlawed a few years ago, because they were too dangerous. Dvds are very popular and inexpensive here, so many people watch movies at home in the evenings. I should mention that most people do not go out after dark (6:30pm) because of safety concerns, therefore, men are the ones going out to bars and dance halls, while women remain at home with the children. Other popular forms of entertainment include: sports, exercise and holiday celebrations. Cricket is the national sport of Guyana, their team is the West Indies Cricket League. A few people play soccer but most people play, watch, talk about, and enjoy cricket.

Eating/Shopping
Every large town/village has some type of market. Either a few little stands out along the road or little carts that sellers push up and down the neighborhood yelling “fish, eggs, vegetables!”   The largest towns have supermarkets, which are rather small but carry all the essentials. There are also clothing, electronics, stationery, computer, hardware, and snack shops. Many towns also have restaurants. The funny thing is that most places only offer Chinese or Guyanese food. There are a few restaurants that are from America, such as Church’s Chicken, KFC, Pizza Hut, and Popeye’s, but these are in the capital city and the prices are very high.


Angie

Hello From Guyana!

My name is Angie and I am from Colorado. I went to college to become a teacher and when I graduated I joined the Peace Corps. In February 2009, I was sent to Guyana, South America to volunteer as a teacher for two years. (That means, I don’t get paid, and don’t worry if you’re wondering where Guyana is… I didn’t know either! Hint: it’s above Brazil) I currently live in a city where I work as a librarian at a private school and as a volunteer at an orphanage. I look forward to sharing a little bit about my life in Guyana with you.

A few facts about me:
-I enjoy writing in my journal and photography
-I just finished reading the Twilight series and really liked it
-My favorite album on my ipod is by Kings of Leon
-The scariest thing I did this year was when I went cliff diving into the ocean (it was over 30 feet high!!)
-I am left-handed and only 60 inches tall
-Last year I was a teacher in Germany
-I am a big football and baseball fan (Go Broncos!)
-I used to play piano, flute, and cello—but not very well
-When I grow up I want to be an ambassador
-There’s a tarantula living somewhere in my bedroom… and I can’t seem to find it!

A few facts about life in Guyana:
-Anaconda Snakes do exist! (There was one found here that was over 20 feet long.)
-Even though Guyana is in South America, it is considered a Caribbean country
-One thousand Guyanese dollars is equal to $5.00 US dollars. (A pepsi costs me $300.00 Guyanese dollars)
-There are three main religions in Guyana: Hinduism, Islam, and Christianity.
-Since Guyana is so close to the equator, the sun rises and sets at the same time every day… There are no actual seasons here either; the weather is 90 degrees year-round, and rains almost every day.
-My favorite Guyanese holiday is called Phagwah (pronounced: pog wah). Everyone splashes their friends and neighbors in water and red, purple, white, and blue powdered dye. It’s literally the celebration of color!
-There are many distinct cultures in Guyana: African, East Indian, Caribbean, Chinese, Amerindian, Portuguese, and Dutch.
-This is the area where slavery in the “west indies” began
-Reggae music plays on every radio station
-All of the houses are built on stilts in case it floods from the rain

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26 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Alycia R. on September 25, 2009 at 12:30 pm

    Hi. Im alycia. I LOVE the twlight series!! Im a biggggggg fannn in twlight! It must be very hot where you live. We just had a flood here and it was horbblyyy!!!!!!!!!!!!! But we had no school for two days. so that was good.

  2. Posted by Karen W. on September 25, 2009 at 12:31 pm

    Hey Angie! Nice to meet you 🙂 Are Anacondas common in Guyana (I’d scream if I even saw one the size of my hand.) I hope you get that Tarantula, hee hee.

  3. Posted by Katie H. on September 25, 2009 at 12:31 pm

    How does the money system work?
    Have you found the spider yet?
    I wonder if you ever will.. Ha.

  4. Posted by Dylan p on September 25, 2009 at 12:31 pm

    what kind of animals are there.

  5. I love Africa because I am from Africa

  6. Posted by Lexi S on September 25, 2009 at 12:32 pm

    Hi angie, I am Lexi S. i can not believe that 5 u.s. dollars are 300.00 guyanese dollars. how much would 300 us dollars be?

  7. Posted by Ryan on September 25, 2009 at 12:33 pm

    Hi i’m Ryan i think the fact you jumped off that high is cool.Are anacondas common.

  8. Posted by sarah P. on September 25, 2009 at 12:34 pm

    You have a very interesting life! It is so much different than mine. I think it is very sweet for you to voulenteer for the orphanage. Is the spider one of your pets?? I think that is sooo cool. What is the biggest anaconda snake you have seen?? Thanks for sharing about your life with me!

  9. Posted by Ryan H. on September 25, 2009 at 12:34 pm

    Hi i’m Ryan. Who is your most favorite player on the broncos? I like the New Orleans Saints. I play hockey for the middle school team.That’s a little about me.

  10. Posted by Courtney on September 25, 2009 at 12:35 pm

    Are you afraid of the spider in your room,and if you find it would you like to keep it as a pet.Also do you live by an ocean so that you can see dolphins outside your window.

  11. Posted by Benjamin on September 25, 2009 at 12:37 pm

    Do you like adventure? I love adventer! Is cliff diveing fun? I think you are a fun person. I hope I can write to you again, bye.

  12. Posted by Marissa on September 25, 2009 at 12:38 pm

    hello,
    my name is marissa. When i grow up im thinking about going to collage in colorado but im not going to teach students in a different part of the world.i think is cool though. if theres a giant spider in your bedroom why do you sleep in the bed. i would move or at least call a big bug remover.
    good luck!!

  13. Posted by Rebecca on September 25, 2009 at 12:39 pm

    Hi I love the colors neon green eggplant purple and neon black (yes thre is such thing). My friends call me Rabuka my mom calls me Becca-Boo and my brother calls me twerp even though I’m 10 and 5ft7.
    Ihate soda and I will only drink black coffee.A lot of people think I’m a tom boy because I play lime backer on an all boys foot ball team.

  14. Posted by Angie on October 2, 2009 at 1:38 pm

    Alycia it was so nice of you to respond, thanks! I finished the Twilight series and was sad that there weren’t any more books to look forward to in the series. I’m sorry to hear about the flooding there, was your house okay? And-even teachers enjoy days out of school, so I agree that it must have been fun to have a break. Have a great day.

  15. Posted by Angie on October 2, 2009 at 1:39 pm

    Hello Karen! It’s nice to meet you as well. Thankfully, where I live, Anacondas are not very common. But in the jungle, along the swampy areas they are. I would be completely terrified if I ever saw one. I finally found the huge spider, but I looked it up and decided it’s a wolf spider, not a tarantula. But it was still pretty creepy. I hope your weekend goes well!

  16. Posted by Angie on October 2, 2009 at 1:39 pm

    Hi Katie! I enjoyed your questions. The money system in Guyana is similar to money in America. There are banks, but credit cards are not used here. Most people just carry cash. And, since everything costs a lot of money, I usually carry 2,000 Guyanese dollars in my pocket. That’s only $10 in America. When I take a taxi to work it costs me $300 GD! And as for the spider…. Yes I found him, and he is no longer sharing a house with me. 🙂 Have a fun day!

  17. Posted by Angie on October 2, 2009 at 1:40 pm

    Dylan, how are you? Great question! There are lots of animals here that you would find on a farm in America, such as cows, goats, chickens, donkeys, etc. But as for the exotic animals… that’s a whole other story! Instead of squirrels there are monkeys in the treetops. And the birds flying through the air are all different colors. There was a giant parrot named Robert living in my neighborhood. He would run across the street and come to see me if I called for him. Ha ha! Farther into the jungle there are poisonous dart frogs, jaguars, caiman (black alligators), and sloths. We have sea otters and sea turtles that live in a special reserve called Shell Beach. I hope that helps you understand a little bit about the animals here in Guyana. Take care!

  18. Posted by Angie on October 2, 2009 at 1:42 pm

    Hello JJ! Thanks for writing. I love Africa too. Unfortunately, I’ve never been there. Guyana is in South America. But do you want to know something funny? EVERYONE gets confused between Ghana (in Africa) and Guyana (In S. America) even the post office! Many of the letters my friends have sent me were sent to Africa and I never got to read them. Thank goodness for email! 🙂 Hope you have a nice day!

  19. Posted by Angie on October 2, 2009 at 1:43 pm

    Cheers Lexi! It was nice of you to write to me. Let’s see, the rate of Guyanese Dollars to American Dollars is 200 to 1. So $300 USD would be $60,000. The thing that took some time to get used to was that I have to spend around $3,000 a week on food at the market. And in America I don’t think I’ve ever held $3,000 in my wallet—ever! Ha ha. I hope you have a great weekend!

  20. Posted by Angie on October 2, 2009 at 1:47 pm

    What’s up Ryan? Thanks for writing to me! Cliff jumping was definitely scary, but not quite as scary as having a huge wolf spider in my house. As far as I know, Anacondas are really common along the rivers and in the rainforest, but I live along the Atlantic Ocean, so I haven’t seen one yet. If I do run into one though I’ll ask if it’ll pose for a photo. Have a fun day!

  21. Posted by Angie on October 2, 2009 at 1:47 pm

    Sarah, I so enjoyed reading your comment. Thankfully, I have never seen an anaconda in real life. And, I hope to keep it that way. But on my way to school one day I saw a 5 foot long python laying the street. And yes it freaked me out! No, the spider is not one of my pets. I consider all of the geckos pets though. Perhaps you could help me name them. The frogs are named George, Louisa, Margaret, and Spike. And I named one of my huge spiders Walker Texas Ranger, because he didn’t look very friendly. The orphanage is my favorite place in the whole world. The children are all different ages and when I go spend time with them we just laugh and talk and play games. I hope that one day you get a chance to do something that makes you so happy. Take care, and I look forward to hearing from you again soon.

  22. Posted by Angie on October 2, 2009 at 1:51 pm

    Hey Ryan, you are quite the athlete! I really enjoy going to hockey games. I once saw the Red Wings play the Avs the day after Christmas. It was awesome! My favorite Bronco player of all time is Troy Aikman, but he’s retired. Thanks for writing!

  23. Posted by Angie on October 2, 2009 at 1:51 pm

    Dear Courtney, I was quite frightened by the tarantula living in my room because I never knew when it would pop out and scare me again. So, no, I’m not really the “keep a spider as a pet” type of person. But if I find another one, maybe I’ll mail it to your class. (Just kidding Mr. Hames!) And even though I live by the ocean (15 minutes away), there aren’t dolphins in the water… there are huge alligators and the water is muddy brown. I hope you have a great day!

  24. Posted by Angie on October 2, 2009 at 1:52 pm

    Hi Ben! I don’t like adventure…. I eat sleep and breathe adventure and I happen to love it! One time I was on a bus in the middle of the rainforest and it was 2am and the bus got stuck in a hole and we all had to stand outside in the muddy road until someone could pull the bus out. It was a total blast. I couldn’t find my shoes, so I just walked around barefoot. Ha ha! And, as for cliff diving, it was fun until I hit the water… that part just hurt! 🙂

  25. Posted by Angie on October 2, 2009 at 1:54 pm

    Marissa, it’s great to hear from you. I hope you do get the chance to study in Colorado. When I grow up I don’t want to be a teacher either. Someday I hope to become a diplomat or an ambassador. What do you think you want to be? As for the spider, I have now removed it from my house. And I sleep much better at night knowing that it isn’t going to pop out and frighten me again soon. Take care!!

  26. Posted by Angie on October 2, 2009 at 1:54 pm

    It’s nice to hear from you Rebecca! I enjoy coffee too! You sound like a great football player! In Guyana, Football = Soccer. And the national sport is Cricket (more like baseball). I eat lots of eggplant, so I know exactly what shade of purple you like. Hope to hear from you again soon.

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