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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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