This is the link for the local newspaper we were featured in :)
Friday, May 11, 2012
We said good-bye to the kids today...it was definitely a down point of the trip that everyone felt. They had big puppy dog eyes and wouldn't stop hugging all of us; some asked for our autographs, and they couldn't get enough of taking pictures of themselves. They finally got to utilize the library for the first time, and man did they go insane. There were disheveled books all over the place when the bell to go back to class rang, but the point was that they were excited for knowledge. The kids kept saying that after we leave they weren't going to be allowed to use the library and that frustrated me because there are thousands of books that just collect dust on the shelves for no reason. The government send the primary school books that they never bother to pass out, and I don't understand why-it's like they don't want the kids to learn, and that bothers me more than anything. Onica said that she would make sure that the library is used, so I'm hoping that politics stop interfering with the children's learning. On another note, we went into Georgetown to walk around and shop, which was pretty interesting. We drove through the "ghetto" and had a glimpse of Guyana's "suburbia" and the President's house. Just like America, there is a clear distinction of classes. The people living in the not-so-nice parts of Guyana sold dog food just to make a living, and it didn't look like they had electricity; their homes were the size of an outdoor shed, and we were told to make sure our bags were on the floor. All in all it was a great day, but I can't believe that this trip is almost over with. I wish we could stay for longer; it seems like the Guyanese's slower pace of living makes me forget of all of my stresses back home.
Wednesday, May 9, 2012
It's Wednesday and I've already learned so much from this experience. I've been exposed to things that I never thought I would get to see. It's been amazing to hear people's stories and to be able to spend time around the people of the village. The kids at the primary school are AMAZING and I've loved being able to interact with them. Some stories have been sad, especially those we heard in the village today, but everything about this trip has made me so much more appreciative of everything I have at home. I can't wait to see what the rest of the trip has in store, but have already had an awesome experience with the work we've done and the people we've met.
Well I don't know where to begin because there's been such much that I have learned and experienced. When we first got to Guyana it was already dark so you could not see anything. The airport was very small but welcoming. The drive over was very pleasant and dark, it took about thirty minutes to get over to the village. And it was shocking to see shacks next to really nice houses. The house we are staying in is really nice but it is a little tight. We are on day three and we are almost done with the library which looks awesome! Today was a great day with the locals and finishing the library. I can't not wait to play with the kids on Friday and visit more with the locals. It's going to be sad leaving all the EXTREMELY nice people. But I am hoping to come back!
Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Day 2 is complete and I'm feeling great! We started our work yesterday by meeting with the kids and clearing out the primary school's library. Today we were able to paint, and we worked so well together that we almost finished the entire room. It looks beautiful, decked out with vibrant blue, green, and purple-perfect for primary school children. Everyone is loving it as well; we have become close strangers in no time due to our sleeping quarters and one bathroom for 13 people. It's worth it though; seeing the children's faces and how grateful they are that we're here is rewarding enough for me to endure the endless humidity, lack of air conditioning, and swarming mosquitos. Yesterday we played with the kids for a while; the craziest thing to me was that I turn around all of a sudden and a swarm of kids were asking for my autograph! Who am I to be signing papers-I am just a normal, American 20 year old. I felt bad signing those papers, but if my signature on a child's scrap notebook paper was going to make their day, I was going to do it. The kids here are incredible because they all have such an appreciation for going to school and learning. Kids in America hate school and want nothing to do with it. Not only that, but they are all extremely respectful of every adult and each other; there were classrooms with teachers absent and a classmate in charge, and the kids were listening to who was in charge. It amazes me because if you left a group of 30 primary school-age children alone in America, all hell would break loose. There are a million things different in Guyana than America. For example, when you pass people on the street, they look at you in the eye and greet you rather than dragging their feet and staring at the ground. The kids are careful of each other and do not rough house. The point is, Guyanese people appreciate everything they're given in life, and they have nothing. Americans have anything they want at their fingertips and are miserable because all they worry about is how they are going to get more. It's only day two and I've been changed. Their "middle-class" families are poorer than the poorest of Americans, and they are nothing but happy. Their indoor plumbing consists of giant septic tanks sitting on their property, and you're lucky if you have indoor plumbing here. Another thing that blew my mind was that the average family of 5, consisting of 2 adults and 3 kids, make about 50,000 Guyanese dollars a month; that's equivalent to about 200 American dollar a month...for a family of five! We can't even live off of $200 a week in America, and we complain. Guyana is behind the times of first world countries, and Americans would conclude that they need help. I came here to help them, and I'm helping myself instead. I think that Americans are the ones who need help from Guyanese people to learn how to live a bit slower and appreciate the little things. Family is everything to these people; generations upon generations live in one household, yet we cannot wait to throw our parents and grandparents into nursing homes to rot away. I came here to change people, and instead I've changed myself.
Day two completed! It has been a fast two days! We have made a lot of progress on the library - everything has been painted. Tomorrow we will do our second coat of paint....and put all of the books back in on Friday. It has been a pleasure meeting the kids at the school and the staff. They are all so well coming as we are learning more about the school system and processes. This puts our university and my experiences into perspective. I'm very thankful to be here! -allison