Guyana GAFF Newsletter Winter/Spring Gaff 2018

SPREAD THE GUYANA GAFF LOVE.
GAFF is online and ANYONE can subscribe to this newsletter here.
Share with your friends and family in Guyana and at home so more people can get to know what we do.
To see the current and past GAFFs, check out our spot on the web here.

ATTENTION: GUY28
Interested in staying in touch after service? When you COS, you will not remain on the Peace Corps Guyana mailing list, which means YOU MUST subscribe to get future GAFFs. The link is above.

Dear readers,

We are so happy that you’re taking a moment out of your life to catch up on Peace Corps Guyana! Our volunteers and staff live and work tirelessly throughout Guyana in hopes that our everyday efforts bring a little more peace and love to the community that we’re serving. This GAFF has so much amazing content to show how we are accomplishing our three Peace Corps goals in all forms. From catching up with our third-year volunteers to ways volunteers spend the holidays with their communities, you’re sure to get a great taste into life as we know it, but mostly just the sweet stuff.

Here is a quick run through of everything you’re sure to find in this issue:
PCV birthdays, FROG Q&A, RPCV & PCV Project Highlights, Interviews with Third Year Volunteers, Silly Interviews with Staff, Bullet Journaling, Volunteer Personal Reflections, Guyana Phrases and Folklore, Travel Guides for Day Trips, Volunteer Style Holidays, a Blog Feature, Guyanese Soup Recipe, Karate in Guyana, a Perfect Day in Guyana, Volunteer Shout Out and Thanks, World Mental Health Day, and finally Taskforce and committee updates. We hope you find this GAFF informative, inspiring and enjoyable.

We truly hope you enjoy this GAFF and have an amazing start to 2018!
Remember, we are always accepting content, so if you have a great idea for the next GAFF, contact one of us personally or reach out via [email protected] See ya around!

Love your GAFF Staff,
Liz, Catherine, Steven, Samantha, Derek, and John.

 

Birthdays!

January
Jackie Bacon 10th
Michaela Bonnett 12th
Catherine Irvine 31st

February
Kelsi Seid 3rd
Liz Marcuse 13th
Andy Keen 14th
Oumou Dao 16th
Jami Herring 28th

March
Derek Methu 2nd
Julia Kyriakides 2nd
Aicha Diouf 3rd
Dorie Schwartz 5th
Stephanie Parente 5th
Ari Hoskins 8th
Erica Worrell 16th
Christle Devera 17th
Thomas Saleh 17th
Caroline Deurwarder 19th
Zach Niebur 19th
Carolyn Rohdenburg 21st
Arielle Levinso 29th
Brittany Kernagis 30th

April 
Amber Enyart 16th
Steven Corina 22nd
Martine Phadel 25th
Lance Caldwell 27th
Connor Godfrey 29th

May
Christopher Sutton 8th
Lee Hendrix 8th
Chelsea Roderick 12th
Karin Strom 13th
Kirsten Mcleod 23rd
Molly Reilly 24th
Carly Ratekin 31st

June
Jon  Whitkop 8th
Taylor Laskowski 16th
Amaar Abdelgader 23rd
Christina Miller 29th
Javaris Herndon 29th

Through FROG, you can continue to support Peace Corps Guyana volunteers and projects even after you finish your service. It’s a great way to stay engaged, provide assistance, and be a resource for others.

HOW FROG HELPS VOLUNTEERS
Current highlight where a local business, facilitated by a PCV. is utilizing FROG for crowdsourcing.

Community Counterpart: Marlon Allen
Project name: Strong Hope Community Coconut Business

Project description:
This project seeks to improve the livelihood of the Strong Hope Canal Community in the Lower Pomeroon River, Guyana by creating a source of sustainable income through the development of a coconut product-producing facility. With the creation of a suitable place and quality supplies, the community aim is to buy coconuts directly from the community at a higher market price, enabling each family the opportunity to better themselves. The community hopes that this endeavor will provide workforce skills and job opportunities for the out-of-school youth. Currently, this community is experiencing economic difficulty in the face of expanding big businesses. In two years, without a backup plan, they will have farms full of coconuts without anyone to sell them to. It is rare that a community fully supports one another but these members do and they are united in a common goal. They want better for their family, themselves, and their community.

Interested in using FROG for project support?
Be sure to remember: Any FROG monies go directly to a community member or organization, not a volunteer

When did this organization start and why?
FROG was started on the idea that we would be both a networking group for returned RPCVs as well as a way to actively fund projects in Guyana with small grants.
What are the benefits of being part of an RPCV group specific to Guyana? Any difference between us & the national RPCV alumni?
We are a great network for jobs, resources, and meet ups. Your efforts in this group will directly serve the Peace Corps volunteers in Guyana.

What is expected of members?
Stay in touch and be aware of meet ups or opportunities to help current volunteers. Subscribe to the mailing list!

What are the goals of FROG?

Networking
Funding small PCV projects
Peace Corps’ Third Goal


How can I join? Does it cost money?
It’s free. You can be a board member, join us on social media, and make donations.
How often should I expect to interact with fellow members and current PCVs in Guyana?

It depends on where you live and what you want to do. There are a lot of volunteers in DC and on the West Coast. You can interact regularly online through our social channels and email.

OUR CURRENT FOCUS
The primary focus over the past 10 years has been volunteer project funding of up to $500 USD.
A News section, which aggregates news from Guyanese websites, was recently added to the FROG website. It’s also a great conduit for collecting email address and directing traffic to our Amazon Smile account where we get a cut of all sales.

NEW IDEAS
Do more to help PCVs transition to RPCVs by providing information as to where members live, our career fields, and other resources older members can help with.

More fundraising. This can be difficult because we have a limited base. We are looking to increase email membership and apply for grants through various outlets.

We want to reach out more to Guyanese-Americans and connect that community with projects current PCVs are doing.

CONTACT US
PO Box 15268, Washington, District of Columbia 20003
+1 347-688-3764
https://www.guyfrog.org/ 
https://www.facebook.com/FriendsRPCVsofGuyana/
[email protected]

OUR PEACE CORPS GUYANA THIRD YEAR VOLUNTEERS!
Get to know a little more about the incredible volunteers who decided that 27 months was actually a little short…wait wuh!? Read on.

Leah McManus

Tell us about the project(s) you are extending for. 

 – New Amsterdam Hospital – 
Develop standardized menus/plating options for disease states such as diabetic, high pressure, etc. with accompanied training workshop regarding understanding what a balanced meal is; the diverse types of patient conditions that are most often prescribed diets; how diet and nutrition can support patient health in the hospital; and how to prepare meals considering the current limitations and challenges within the institution. 

– New Amsterdam School of Nursing – 
Teaching 2 courses to nursing students. 

– Region 6 Public Health – 
Nutrition-related workshops for health care providers held every 3-6 months in coordination with the Regional Health Services of Region 6; proposed topics: Heart Healthy Diet, Nutrition for Diabetes, Nutrition for Maternal and Child Health and Food Safety. 
Develop highly visual diet education materials and diet education videos (to be used for both caregivers, patients, and staff). 

– Eversham Primary School – 
Refurbishing of Eversham Primary Library 
Weekly library day-reading to and with groups of students with the assistance of a teacher. 

How long is your extension? 
1 year 

Describe the moment that you realized you wanted to extend. 
COS was approaching and I just wasn’t ready to apply to Ph.D. programs yet. . . 

What is your favorite hobby that you’ve picked up in Guyana? 
Backyard farming my own vegetables and trading them with my neighbors for fruits and favors. 

What is your favorite Guyanese food? 
Crab braff 

Tell us something exciting/fun that you did during your month leave in the U.S. 

I went down an ABSOLUTELY TERRIFYING water slide where I stood in a tube and the floor came out from under my feet! It was kind of one of those bank teller tubes at the drive through. . .except the tube went down, instead of up; it was just my body “flushing” down, sloshing around. Goodness gracious, it was scary. 

Eneka Lamb

Tell us about the project(s) that you are extending for. 
I am working with health workers on how to utilize the health data they already collect, to make targeted interventions/plans to combat health issues in their communities rooted in the communities’ data trends. 

How long is your extension? 
One year  

Describe the moment that you realized you wanted to extend. 
Before moving to Guyana, I didn’t really think about serving for 27 months or extending; I committed to the service, so the time wasn’t something I contemplated. But I fell in love with my community and my work and felt adopted so quickly. Around MST I couldn’t imagine leaving 12 months later. Moreover, I believe in the importance of sustainability so vehemently I wanted to ensure if my project was successful during my service it would continue without me. With these two realizations extending just made sense.
What is your favorite hobby that you’ve picked up in Guyana? 
Making coffee (berry to brew); swimming, hiking and running; paddling a dugout and collecting stories. 

What is your favorite Guyanese food? 
Roasted chicken in catacurra sauce with cassava bread (calli or arrosoka). I also love pear, cassava bread, and pumpkin. 

Tell us something exciting/fun that you did during your month leave in the U.S. 

I went home to Hong Kong for an incredible visit and two of my best friends (and college teammates) came to Hong Kong for a few days. It was the first time seeing them since graduation. 

Sarah Shirley 

Tell us about the project that you are extending for. 
I recently started a computer lab at my NGO and will be continuing to work in the lab as well as start-up other programs at my center. 

How long is your extension? 
One year. 

Describe the moment that you realized you wanted to extend. 
When projects really started rolling at work, I wished I could have more time. . . then realized I could! 

What is your favorite hobby that you’ve picked up in Guyana? 
Dominoes! I’m getting pretty good at the game but still can’t slam them like Guyanese do. It’s a work in progress! 

What is your favorite Guyanese food? 
Pumpkin and roti! 

Tell us something exciting/fun that you did during your month leave in the U.S. 
One of my favorite days was playing tourist in my town (Seattle). I hit up all the major landmarks, farmers markets, weird statues and neighborhoods I haven’t been to in years. It was a really nice way to be reintroduced to my old home. 

Ever wonder where PC Guyana staff came from?
There are just some fun facts that you won’t learn in the office…

Peace Corps Guyana Staff Interviews!

Your “fav” staff member missing? More to come in the next issue!

Adannaa Alexander,
Monitoring and Evaluation Coordinator
Photo: Nigel, Jurgen, and I at the Ambassador’s Children’s Christmas Party

Where did you work before Peace Corps Guyana?
I worked as a Health Educator on an HIV prevention research project at Emory University.
What’s your favorite drink?
Coconut water

What’s your favorite Guyanese dish and your favorite non-Guyanese meal?
Ochro with fried fish and dahl. Immuno pasta; it has this sauce that’s made of olive oil, red onion, garlic carrot, celery, tomatoes, and basil.

What hobby would you get into if money and time were not an issue?
Baking. I make a really good pumpkin muffin and breakfast biscuit.

What movie would you most like to live in?
The Lion King because I like looking at animals.

What is the most annoying habit other people have?
Road rage

What takes up a lot of your time? (Other than work!)
Feeding my family and washing dishes!

What is your favorite way to spend your weekend?
Getting outside with my husband and son, like going to the park or the zoo.

Jennel Gray,
Medical Secretary

Photo: Heading out to meet friends

What job were you doing before you worked with Peace Corps Guyana?
I worked as a Pharmacist.
What’s your favorite drink?
Water 🙂

What’s your favorite Guyanese dish and your favorite non-Guyanese meal?
Guyanese: Curry(Any type) Non-Guyanese: Jerk Chicken with Rice and Peas 🙂

What hobby would you get into if money and time were not an issue?
World Travel and Youth Work.

What movie would you most like to live in?
None that I can think of at the moment. I am good with the life I live in now!

What is the most annoying habit other people have?
Being haphazard and disorganized.

What takes up a lot of your time? (Other than work!)
Church! But I LOVEEEEE IT!!

What is your favorite way to spend your weekend?
Relaxing, getting much-needed sleep and catching up with friends and family

Kury Cobham,
Country Director

What job were you doing before you worked with Peace Corps Guyana?
Development Consultant
What’s your favorite drink?
Water – really!

What’s your favorite Guyanese dish and your favorite non-Guyanese meal?
Pepper-Pot; French Fries.

What hobby would you get into if money and time were not an issue?
Surfing

What is the most annoying habit other people have?
Picking their nose in public.

What takes up a lot of your time? (Other than work!)
Sleeping.

What is your favorite way to spend your weekend?
Movie and DQ.

Sasha Lindo-Softley,Administrative/Communications Specialist

Photo: Just chilling…

What job were you doing before you worked with Peace Corps Guyana?
Teacher.
What’s your favorite drink?
Any fruit juice works.

What’s your favorite Guyanese dish and your favorite non-Guyanese meal?
Guyanese: Corilla and shrimp with rice! Non-Guyanese: Anything SEAFOOD related.

What hobby would you get into if money and time were not an issue?
Creating greeting cards.

What movie would you most like to live in?
Meet the Robinsons! 2007

What is the most annoying habit other people have?
“Who feels it, knows it.” Only caring about a particular thing until it concerns them.

What takes up a lot of your time? (Other than work!)
Motherhood

What is your favorite way to spend your weekend?
Under the covers with a good book.

Merica George,
Program and Training Specialist (Health)

Photo: My South American Journey….waiting to dig into some Ecuadorian cuisine.

What job were you doing before you worked with Peace Corps Guyana?
I was the Prevention Co-ordinator at Artistes In Direct Support, a local NGO that provided prevention programs and services to the LGBTQ community.
What’s your favorite drink?
Coke-a- Cola

What’s your favorite Guyanese dish and your favorite non-Guyanese meal?
Cook up rice Baby back ribs and chips

What hobby would you get into if money and time were not an issue?
Antique collecting

What takes up a lot of your time? (Other than work!)
My children

What is your favorite way to spend your weekend?
Sleeping and visiting my parents

Melanie Ingalls,

Director of Program and Training

Photo:  On a visit home from Peace Corps Mexico, I went to visit my sister who was keeping my chickens. My Barred Rock, Abigail, saw me get out of the car and came racing across the yard to greet me! She is, alas, no longer clucking with us, but she was a delightful and fluffy thing to behold.

What job were you doing before you worked with Peace Corps Guyana?
I served as a Volunteer in Mexico for four years from 2011-2015. Before that, I was Vice President of Education and Outreach for a statewide land trust in Massachusetts.
What’s your favorite Guyanese dish and your favorite non-Guyanese meal?
Guyanese: fish curry with green mango, Non-Guyanese: pasta Bolognese.

What hobby would you get into if money and time were not an issue?
Orchid cultivation.

What is the most annoying habit other people have?
Playing their music really loud.

What takes up a lot of your time? (Other than work!)
Reading.

What is your favorite way to spend your weekend?
Reading, sleeping, cooking, watching birds, communing with my cats.

Alesha Berkley,

Administrative Assistant

Photo: Myself and Stephanie at our staff holiday party.

What job were you doing before you worked with Peace Corps Guyana?
Bank Teller at GBTI.
What’s your favorite drink?
Water.

What’s your favorite Guyanese dish and your favorite non-Guyanese meal?
My favorite Guyanese dish is curried chicken with rice. Hmmm… I can’t think of a favorite non-Guyanese meal but my I would have to same my favorite dessert is apple pie.

What hobby would you get into if money and time were not an issue?
Cross-fit training

What movie would you most like to live in?
Not a movie… Grey’s Anatomy!!

What takes up a lot of your time? (Other than work!)
My son.

What is your favorite way to spend your weekend?
At home, sleeping in late.

Jamal Goodluck,

Programme and Training Specialist

Photo: Getting Ready to Lift Off!

What job were you doing before you worked with Peace Corps Guyana?
Reporter
What’s your favorite drink?
A COLD Guinness

What’s your favorite Guyanese dish and your favorite non-Guyanese meal?
Cook-up (Guyanese Dish) Anything Cheesy – Chicken Alfredo (Non-Guyanese Dish)

What hobby would you get into if money and time were not an issue?
Tennis and Hiking

What movie would you most like to live in?
To Sir with Love

What is the most annoying habit other people have?
Thinking too highly of themselves.

What takes up a lot of your time? (Other than work!)
Volunteering for my youth work.

What is your favorite way to spend your weekend?
Playing tennis, swimming and catching a belly fully of laughter with some good friends.

Lucy Anderson,Program Manager, Health

Photo: At the Swearing-in-Ceremony of Guy 29 PCVs.

What job were you doing before you worked with Peace Corps Guyana?
Secretariat Coordinator, Guyana Global Fund Country Coordinating Mechanism — Health Promotion Coordinator, Ministry of Health
What’s your favorite drink?
Homemade Fruit Punch made with cherries, passion fruits, pineapples, and ginger.

What’s your favorite Guyanese dish and your favorite non-Guyanese meal?
Guyanese — Curried Chicken with Dhal and Rice Jamaican — Jerk pork with peas and rice

What hobby would you get into if money and time were not an issue?
Playing musical instruments especially the Piano and probably the Violin.

What is the most annoying habit other people have?
Being Late for events

What takes up a lot of your time? (Other than work!)
Reading articles online on various topics

What is your favorite way to spend your weekend?
Sleep in, Laundry, Church, Movies(Giftland or Princess), Chatting with my family and catching up with friends who are also busy during the week.

“BUJO”, aka bullet journaling, has become a favorite pass the time activity among Peace Corps Volunteers, so we posed a few questions for currently acting BUJO peeps to get their insight into this cathartic and creative hobby.
Photos included! 

How did you find out about bullet journaling?

Allycia: Pinterest.

Mel: Pinterest!

Leah: My Guy27 friend Lori was a beast about tracking her goals and reaching them. She introduced me to the concept of bullet journaling. However, her method was very black and white chic. Impressive, but I am more of a colorful flourish kinda gal…so I did some Google image searches and went from there!

Kelsi: During PST many GUY28s were like “you have to bullet journal!” and at the time I was like “pfffft whatever” but now I have major regret about not doing this from day one.”

Becca: Lori Karker Guy27 and Pinterest.

Amber: Allycia Klein.

Gabrielle: Google. I was tired of normal journaling because when I was really low, it didn’t help much. I looked up “new journaling ideas” and voila!

Liz: Allycia Kleine inspired me!

Why do you enjoy bullet journaling?

Allycia: It keeps me sane. It’s my calendar, my schedule, my to-do list, my reminders, my market list, my water intake tracker and so much more. Instead of scraps of paper and multiple planners, my bullet journal allows me to organize everything in one notebook. It’s a huge stress reliever.

Mel: I’ve always wanted to journal, but this way has helped me set goals, be grateful, and practice overall good habits for my overall well being.

Leah: It really helps me stay on track with my personal goals. I get so pumped when I have earned the reward of filling in a grid square with a shade of hot pink (or other fun color) or I can look back at my “bookshelf” of books I have read…you get the idea.

Kelsi: It’s such a great creative outlet! It combines my love of drawing, weird organization, and wasting time. 

Becca: It relaxes me and helps keep me organized.

Amber: It gives me structure, reminds me to be grateful, motivates me in good habits, pushes me to be more creative, and gives me something to color when time is moving slow. 🙂

Gabrielle: It’s a creative outlet. It helps bring light to dark days and highlight what I do here. Especially for the days when it can feel like I did nothing, I can say, “at least I created something today.”

Liz: I love planning and making lists for just about everything and bullet journaling helps me to do this in an organized, completely customizable way with a little creativity. My monthly spread is like any normal planner but then I have lists for whatever I’m musing on in the moment.

What’s your favorite bullet journal page/tracker?

Allycia: I love them all! I guess I would be a mess without my weekly spreads.

Mel: My positive body/affirmation page. I add to it when I stumble upon good reminders or just things I need to tell myself. It’s cheesy but a great way to practice self-love.

Leah: My favorite tracker is my “30 before 30” bucket list. I came up with 30 things I want to happen before I turn 30 and I think my bullet journaling will help me accomplish those things. 

Kelsi: I made a page for transportation in Guyana to help me remember how to get places, how long it will take and how much it’ll cost. It’s kind of a mess but has also been very useful when I go back somewhere I haven’t been in awhile. I also love my birthday calendars because they are very colorful.

Becca: Probably my expense tracker.

Amber: My sleep log. Super boring but I think sleep is so important to your well-being and I very rarely think about how much time I’m getting. It makes me aware.

Gabrielle: My year in review. I love that I can plan out my year while also reflecting on all the things that happened. I love that it takes time to fill up and once they do it’s so gratifying.

Liz: My gratitude mandala! Daily gratitude is a wonderful way to practice having a positive outlook on life, and every month I try a new spread. It’s fun to watch it fill up.

What is one tip to share with new bujo peeps?

Allycia: Don’t write bullet journaling off because you’re not creative. It doesn’t require creativity. The “bullet journal” originally was straightforward and an unembellished system for organizing. What makes bullet journaling so great though is that it’s customizable, so if you want to get more creative, you can.

Mel: You’re not a weirdo for having a bujo. Be as creative as you want, try new stuff, and have fun!

Kelsi: Well, I’m pretty new but I would say one thing I wish I’d thought about from the beginning was font choice. 

Becca: Just go for it. Don’t overthink it. Mistakes will be made but it doesn’t matter!

Amber: It should be fun, not a chore. It’s a helpful tool to organize or brainstorm or reflect. But don’t do it if you don’t want to. It can be anything you want and it should not be stressful.

Gabrielle: Don’t compare yours to anyone else’s! At the end of the day, it’s a journal, it’s personal, it’s your own.

Liz: Ditto. Don’t compare! It took me awhile to let go of this. Embrace your style and how you naturally like your thoughts to look. At first, I was forcing myself to spend hours making a cute doodle because that’s what I thought it should be. And then I’m like nah I’m going to draw a spiral and call it good. I love how simple mine looks now because it’s a reflection of me!

Share a fav page from your own bujo?

Mel: (August flower and body positivity)

Leah: (birthdays and books)

Kelsi: (Guyanese food and transport)

Gabrielle: (year in review)

Liz: (gratitude mandala)

“Honest self reflection opens your mind to reprogramming, change, success and freedom.”

Vikas Runwal

A few self-reflective prompts to gear you up for 2018…

As the new year begins, it’s common for people to set New Year resolutions. It’s equally important to reflect on the past a bit to help gain a little more clarity and focus for the future ahead. That way when you do set some goals, they are rooted in an understanding of your own strengths and areas to improve in. 

Written reflection, or journaling, can be an incredible coping mechanism for some people. Studies have shown that writing out your feelings or describing stressful events on paper can significantly relieve present anxiety and may even help with long-term depression. #mentalhealthwins

Today I invite you to grab the journal and jot down a few responses to these questions. Just let the pen flow. And see how it feels.

At the end of 2018… 
What do I want to change?
What do I want to attract?
How do I want to feel?

By answering these questions honestly, you can delve a little bit deeper into what is driving you and what your focus should be for the year ahead. And then build some fresh and S.M.A.R.T. goals around these themes. #peacecorpslingo

Good luck and keep looking forward!

And if writing isn’t quite your thing…you could try bullet journaling! 

Common Phrases Heard in Guyana
Submitted by PCVs all ovah
Compiled and designed by Steven Corina

Colloquialisms, Sayings, and Words Heard Often

Submitted by Andy K, GUY30
Edited by Derek M, GUY30

Often times in Guyana there are many words that mirror standard English, with a twist, Guyanese Creoleses. Many of these interactions of speech happen around us and sometimes directly towards us. Current PCV Andy Keen, GUY30, Region 5, No. 8 Village, West Berbice has submitted some of his observations.

“I can’t make that” – I will not succeed in that endeavor
“You’re taking” – e.g. “you’re taking sun.” = you are out in the sun walking or getting a tan
“Did you reach?” –  “did you make it to your destination?”…
“Fine” – could be a good or bad thing – good in a sense that you’re good-looking, bad in a sense you are sickly/weak.
“Big man” –  you run everything. You are the man to be. A boss.
“Plenty” – numerous
“Yah mahn” –  a statement of affirmation
“Press your clothes” – iron your clothes
“Wash room” – bathroom
“Pears” – avocado
“Dahl” – lentils
“Chana” – chickpeas/garbanzo beans
“Me not able” – I am not physically able
“Push” – physically move and perform exercise
“Make yourself small” – move over and squeeze
“Nah” – no
“Cloak” – coat

FOLKLORE: Ole Haigue
Submitted by Chris Sutton, GUY30
Edited by Derek M, GUY30
Folklore is the expressive body of culture shared by a particular group of people; it encompasses the traditions common to that culture, subculture or group. These include oral traditions such as tales, proverbs, and jokes”. The Amerindians are the indigenous people of Guyana. Health volunteer Chris Sutton, GUY30 Region 9, shares a tale he learned from his community.

 

“So basically, in Guyana, they have a tale of the “ole haigue” or vampires. When new babies are born, mothers would take a blue cloth and sew an outfit for the baby to wear, marking it with a red X because it is said that the “ole haigue” likes to feed on the blood of new infants as well as on cows. Legend has it, that if you look out your window at night and you see a big ball of fire at night, that’s the “ole haigue”. The only way to keep it away from you is by drawing a line on the ground made of chalk where the “ole haigue cannot pass.”  Lastly, if a dying person has the spirit of “ole haigue” the only way it can be passed to someone else is through the hands, so nurses at the hospital say, if an older person is dying at the hospital and they try to hold your hand, never take it because they might be carrying the spirit of “ole haigue”.

FOLKLORE: Myths
Submitted by Taylor Laskowski, GUY30
Edited by Derek M, GUY30
“A myth is a traditional story consisting of events that are ostensibly historical, though often supernatural, explaining the origins of a cultural practice or natural phenomenon”. There are numerous myths within each community, health volunteer Taylor Laskowski, GUY30 Region 3 shares some popular myths from her region. 
  • Two pregnant women that are friends should not walk together because one baby will die.
  • A pregnant mother should not laugh or treat disabled or physically challenged persons unkind, because they may have a child looking like the person.
  • Pregnant mothers should not buy a baby tub for the baby until he/she is born, because they may die. 
  • Do not answer the first call late at night, because only spirits call out once. 
  • When returning home at night enter the house by your back, so that spirits wouldn’t be following you into the house. 
  • Do not rest an umbrella on the table, because someone will die. 
  • Do not hang children’s clothes late at night, because they will have restless sleep. 

FOLKLORE: Mermaids
Submitted by Chelsea Roderick, GUY30
Edited by Derek M, GUY30
Laluni Creek is where education volunteer Chelsea serves. Joining a community can be a tough transition and many volunteers find that they themselves are a topic of interest, Chelsea shares an interesting tale of how she was thought to be a mermaid.

“We have a lot of creeks in Laluni, because of this there is a lot of folklore surrounding the “water moma” or “mermaids” living in the creeks. People say they hide at the bottom or on the sides in the dark places and come out to drown you. When I first came to my village, a rumor was going around that I was actually a “water moma” and no one would swim at the creek when I was there! Now that it’s been some time and I haven’t killed anybody people are more willing to bathe and swim when I’m there.”

 

Day trips in Guyana
Whether you’re looking to explore Guyana’s history, or just trying to drink some wine, take a day and relax. 

 

Pandama Retreat 

Hidden along the highway between Georgetown and Linden you will find an eco-resort and winery owned by the lovely Warren and Tracy. You can either go for the day or make it an overnight by reserving one of the cabins or camping. Whether you are a wine enthusiast or not, this is a great place to unwind. Pandama has shady walkways to admire the beauty of the natural surroundings, a black water creek for swimming and many alcoves to sit with friends to gaff and enjoy a glass of wine.

How to get there from Georgetown:

From Georgetown take the East Bank Public Road to the junction of the Soesdyke/Linden Highway. Make a left at the junction and follow the highway for 6km ( right before you get to  Splashmins Resort) and make an immediate left onto the sand trail and follow the “CAR” signs to the Retreat.

Or. . . from town take bus 42 to the Soesdyke junction ($200). At the gas station take a car ($1000 whole car) into the resort. Don’t take stress the driver will know where to go!

For more information 
http://www.pandamaretreat.com/ 

PCV Javaris Herndon-GUY 30 exploring ruins of Dutch Fort Kyk-Over-Al.

Explore Guyana’s colonial history by taking a trip up the Essequibo River to Marshall Falls, Fort Island or Baracara falls.

For more information on guided tours: 
http://exploreguyana.org/portfolio-item/old-fort-tours/

Don’t have the funds for an expensive excursion to Barbados? No worries, take a day trip to the blue waters of Guyana!

How to get there:
From town take a hired car to Linden (about 2 hours). Take a taxi from Linden to the blue lakes. Then it is only a brief walk down into the quarry.

Halloween Spookfest!

Molly Therese with her SPOOKY Halloween treats!

During the day on Halloween, I selected Halloween themed stories to read to the kids, taught them the 5 little pumpkin song, and did Halloween artwork based on the song or stories we read.

That evening, my neighbors and friends got together to have our own spooky celebration. We carved jack o lanterns out of traditional pumpkins and also jazzed it up with a watermelon carving. I made dirt and worms snacks with Oreo spiders. They were the treat part of “trick or treat”. The adults also had a special treat. My neighbor Lisa and I made homemade jamoon wine. I made a Halloween playlist to listen to while we dressed up and had creepy face makeup done. We ended the night watching a classic Halloween movie, Hocus Pocus. It was great to share my Halloween traditions and incorporate new ones.

Steven Corina and Carolyn Rohdenburg making SCARY faces with Steven’s students!

To celebrate Halloween, I decided to add some Guyanese themes to the holiday. We decided to make our very own “Kanima” or “Jumbi” masks! Kanimas are people who turn into animals at night and Jumbis are scary Guyanese creatures (like a boogeyman). Students had a lot of fun designing their own creepy masks with the help of the teachers at my school and PCV Cara who came by to help. After all the kids made their creepy Guyana masks, we watched a fun Halloween movie using a projector in my school. It was a lot of fun and I think adding a Guyanese theme to your holiday makes it more fun for everyone.

Thanksgiving Feast!

Thoughtful Thanksgiving with Emily, Amber, and Eneka!

Emily, Amber and I had Thanksgiving in Waramuri and our friend Zimri stopped by while we were cooking. He tried the cornbread and loved it. We made plates of food for Zimri and two other families; they all really enjoyed the food and asked,“If Thanksgiving could be every weekend?” Ha.

Amber and I prepared a “Thanksgiving meal” of chicken and pumpkin and shared it out with our neighbors. As we did, we explained the importance of Thanksgiving Day as an American holiday and why we believed it originated, adding there are many things about the holiday and its history we don’t know.

In my opinion, many of our Thanksgiving Day beliefs reflect a single (incomplete) story. I personally found it a little tricky to explain Thanksgiving to my community members given the history of injustices against the native Americans beginning with the pilgrims, but we tried to tell the story as honestly as possible.

Hannukah’s Eight Crazy Nights!

Lotta Latkes with Rebecca and Emily!
Emily Lipson:
I was really proud to share my culture and holiday traditions with my Guyanese family. Although the cooking process didn’t go perfectly I had fun introducing a new holiday food to our Christmas feast! I hope to try again and perfect the recipe next year! Pro tip: Make sure the oil is really hot!
Rebecca Tatarsky:
Advice: just go for it, make sure the oil is hot, have a good grater and beware of your fingers when using the grater!

A Holly Jolly Christmas!

Gingerbread Men with Amber and Eneka

Making gingerbread Christmas cookies on Christmas eve is an Enyart family tradition. So my mom sent me all the ingredients for an epic Christmas cookie decorating competition. As the kids came in we passed out Christmas hats and they all set to work to make the best gingerbread men, tree, or star. After all of the cookies were made we went around and voted on the best cookie. We had a winner in each category and then passed them out to all the neighbors. We did the same thing with Eneka’s family in Santa Rosa!

Ringing in the New Year!

New Year in Suriname!
Going to Suriname for Old Year (Orwu Yari) was really cool. It’s their biggest holiday and it was the perfect way to bring in the new year. Dancing all day in the rain, exploring a new country, eating steak again, and laughing in ways I haven’t in awhile made it such a memorable experience. It’s affordable and nearby so why not! I think every PCV should go at least once. – Mel PCV GUY30

Guyanese Cuisine
FEATURED BLOG POST
By Carly Ratekin
To read more, visit her blog at:
https://carlygoestoguyana.wordpress.com/

“Guyanese often ask me if I like the food here and the answer is a very enthusiastic YES! Then, they usually ask me if I cook and my answer is “I love to eat so I’ve learned to do some cooking” which they think is hilarious! Loving to eat or trying new flavors is not a common thing here, but lucky for me they have amazing food so my passion is being filled.
Occasionally we’ll have fried fish with lunch. My family will tell you that I need to eat more rice because it’s their main staple, but I just can’t keep up with the huge portions of rice. I can’t describe the seasonings very well but I think there are different curries used, tomato paste sometimes, LOTS of salt, pepper sauce (which is really hot peppers ground up with vinegar and garlic), onion, garlic, and sometimes MSG.
I got a bunch of five fingers (star fruit) the other day but it wasn’t as sweet as ones I’ve had in the US. It made delicious juice though! I eat as much pineapple as I can get my hands on and it tastes pretty similar to what we get in the US. Emily (a volunteer from up the river) came to visit and brought me one of their pineapples which was much sweeter and juicier, so I guess it depends on where they’re grown in the country. There’s so much more but I’ll quit there! We eat whatever fruit is in season until it’s gone then move on to the next one. People in the village share out their fruit when it’s ripe so everyone can have a bit of everything. Almost everyone has fruit trees or a garden in their yard which makes eating fresh fruits and veggies more affordable.

Guyanese Split Pea Soup
Submitted by Andy K, GUY30
Edited by Derek M, GUY30

Region 5 education volunteer Andy shares one of his favorite meals, with instructions.

You can find him posting amazing dishes via his Instagram page@andywkeen.

Instructions and ingredients (3hr cooking time)

– Let .5 pints of split-peas soak 8-12 hours overnight. The next day, drain the pea water and wash 2-3 times. The peas are very dirty.
– Mince a handful of garlic, onion, and shallot
– Mince 2 flavor peppers (you don’t have them in the U.S
– Mince 3 sweet peppers
– Cut up 3 cups of cahlaloo (like spinach)
– Cut up 2 large carrots (cubed)
– Place your garlic, onion, shallot, and peppers in one bowl. In a separate bowl, place your cahlaloo and carrots. Leave these bowls aside.
– Cut up 2 pounds of eddo (a root vegetable here like a potato but looks like a slug)
– Cut up 2 pounds of cassava (another root vegetable)
– Cut up 2 pounds of sweet potato
– Cut up two pounds of plantain
– Place all the dried root vegetables in a large mixing bowl.
– Season 2 pounds of chicken with thyme, celery, garlic, and wiri-wiri pepper
– Pressure peas in a gallon of water for an hour with all ingredients BUT the root vegetables, chicken, and the bowl of cahlaloo and carrots.
– After 1 hour of pressuring, add the root vegetables. After the root vegetables come to a boil, add the bowl of cahlaloo and carrot.
– Add 3 stock cubes (seasoning) and 1tbl spoon of salt and oil
– Add all the root vegetables
– Meanwhile, fry chicken in the pan. Get a nice sear on the chicken. Don’t cook chicken completely as it will continue to cook once you throw it in the pressure cooker.
– When root vegetables reach a boil, add the chicken. Pressure for another 25 minutes until thick. Very thick. Add water if too thick.

Guyana International Kyokushinkai Martial Arts Academy
All across Regions Three, Four, and Five, Guyanese are participating in the Japanese martial art of Kyokushin Karate. All ages are able to engage in the butt-kicking, and most compete on a national tournament level. As the year turns over, the organization takes a break and switches focus, so now is the optimal time to join the sensation.

Normal practices happen twice a week at a community center or a nice open area. The session begins with a small ceremony in which the group bows to the sensei (teacher), the black belts, past masters, and also to the spirit of the practice. After a light warm-up session and some serious stretching, the class begins. The sensei would then lead the class in practicing one or many martial arts techniques ranging from the basic punch to spin kicks. There are also important technique “dances” which help to master techniques in succession.

The practice of Kyokushin Karate instills a sense of comradery among all students. No one brings hate or malicious intent into the dojo, and if they do, it is quickly dispelled. This is partially because of the aforementioned initial “bowing in” ceremony. The respect generated from fighting another individual makes Karate one of the best ways to make close bonds. The companionship is very intense.
The grandmaster of Kyokushin Karate, Dr. Nazim Yassim, resides in Region 3 and teaches in Wales, although he is looking to pass on the torch eventually. He helps to officiate tournaments as well as some international tournaments. This is where students and fighters really have the chance to show what they’re made of!

After Reconnect 
Submitted by Jami H, GUY30
Edited by Derek M, GUY30
Recently I was asked to describe a “perfect” day in Guyana through a Peace Corps Volunteer’s perspective, and I agreed as I thought it would be easy enough. In fact, the answer seemed quite simple: any day where someone isn’t “sipping” at me. Done; I hope the Pulitzer Prize committee remembers that there is not an “e” at the end of my name.However, after a few moments of reflection, my neurotic and over-analyzing-self soon kicked in and I began to struggle. Admittedly, I started to feel selfish trying to describe a perfect day in Guyana when other PCVs, living right down the road, may have such a dissimilar experience than my own. How am I supposed to describe a “perfect” day in Guyana? Am I supposed to be the voice of what is “perfect” in Guyana? And what is “perfect” anyway?! The level of quotations around the world “perfect” was enough to stress me out. And so, this thought process continued until I witnessed something I did not expect. It was not a day, but a moment, which in turn made my day…and for me, that moment came directly following GUY30’s Reconnect Conference.

Traveling to Reconnect, I was feeling mixed emotions. I had said goodbye to my host family, including my four-year-old host niece Safiya. In giving a brief description of Safiya, I would say she is probably the spunkiest of my host family. With a single look, she can either melt one’s heart or strike fear into the core of one’s being.

The “perfect” moment came when I had to make the small journey back to site, once again feeling anxious about settling into another routine. Upon entering my host family’s home, those anxieties did not take 24 hours to dissolve like they had during reconnect. In fact, it did not even take five minutes. This is because I was first seen and greeted by Safiya, whose eyes lit-up exclaiming, “Auntie Jami!”

Upon my arrival, the excitement from Safiya was brief as she went from all smiles to a look of anger and hurt. It was then my host mother began to explain that Safiya had asked about me every single day while I was gone, and was concerned when I stopped coming home from the health center; in the beginning, she had thought I had just left for clinic before she arrived at our house each day and was now sleeping at the health center. Before I left for Georgetown, I explained I would be gone for a few days, but I now realize Safiya did not fully understand what that meant. As such, her excitement melted away as she sat frowning at me from across the table.  A part of me had to hold back my laughter because her look was quite hysterical, but then I felt a twinge of emotion that I did not expect.

The exact feeling is hard to put into words, but simply stated it was along the lines of happiness and sadness. Sadness in the sense that only one week of my absence affected this little girl so much; I had truly hurt her feelings by leaving. Happiness in the sense that only one week of my absence affected this little girl so much; she truly missed me to the point of anger.

And so, my perfect moment had come. I felt blessed just by being missed and realized that the opportunity Peace Corps offers is more than just projects and sustainability on the surface level. If we’re lucky enough, it also offers the chance to prepare make-believe tiramisu, which Safiya was happy to do after roughly ten minutes of silent punishment in order to remind me of my place in the hierarchy of her world; after all, I’m just a guest living in it.

Have a Healthy “Self”

“Promoting health in others, and HAVE FUN! 
Peace Corps Volunteer Samantha D, GUY30 Region 1 helped establish the first-ever Health Club at her local secondary school!
In the photo, club members display their End-of-Term certificates for participation and tremendous effort (including organizing a World AIDS Day march with over 150 attendees).”

“A ‘Wildlife Club Corner’ is now the main attraction at this hinterland primary school during the lunch break. Students from the club eagerly share on the activities they have been doing as members of the local Wildlife Club with their classmates. 

Jon, GUY29, a Peace Corps Community Conservation Promoter has been working with interested youth after school to increase their knowledge and appreciation of local biodiversity and set them on the path of being the next generation of environmental stewards in their village.”

Giving Tuesday
Peace Corps Volunteers Alyse, Judy, and Kirsten, spent #GivingTuesday supporting the economic development of their communities!
They all worked with their local counterparts to develop and produce indigenous products to showcase at a craft fair hosted by the 
U.S. Embassy Guyana.
In photo: Alyse and Kirsten display their products with their counterparts.

We Love Libraries!

“Check out this cute upgrade Peace Corps Volunteer Zachary, GUY28 and community members did to their local library. Such pretty colors, so inviting.”

Youth Development Project

“Youth Development project in Region 9! Kudos to all the key players and our very own Peace Corps Volunteer Gabrielle S, GUY28 for her contribution.”

“Youth Development project targeting St. Ignatius Secondary School students
(November 13th, 2017) – Students occupying the dormitories of the St. Ignatius Secondary School have been benefiting from a Youth Development project being executed through collaborative efforts by various stakeholders.”

Big Sharing is Caring Shout Out!
Greg Stanley, GUY28 Region 2


In mid-2016 I was introduced to Greg Stanley and I have come to know him as a great resource for all things interactive and educational. Over the last 11 months has shown me a level of desire tied to not just helping but enriching the people he serves.  I don’t know of any other volunteer that has been so instrumental to my current success than Greg. Any issue that I have tied to getting the students to be engaged, his years of experience always provides sound advice, which is actionable at any resource level. I would like to share the two projects that I utilized Peace Corps Education resource and Greg’s. 


Project 1) This is a double thank you to the Peace Corps Education staff and Greg. During the 2017 summer school holiday, I received a flash drive that contained over 100 pages of interactive educational activities which I used to create a Summer Program, that ran for 4 weeks. For those 4 weeks (from July 17, 2017), my team and I focused on introducing the Positive Discipline model, conducted sessions on Behavior, Creativity, Self-Expression/Discipline, and Vocabulary as well as chaperoned fun field trips to learn various skills. One parent even supported the event by teaching the children to sew every Friday. The students I believe only stayed because of the various activities on the flash, provided Greg.


Project 2) In the most recent school term I went back to that same flash drive and was able to execute an outside ‘Alphabet Hopscotch’. This educational tool is utilized every day by the students, as part of my Print-Rich Environment goal. It is without a doubt that this permanent learning tool will outlast any memory the children will have, it the idea came from Greg. 

Again, Big Thank you! Greg Stanley. I know of your plans after Peace Corps is the most ambitious I have ever known anyone to take on. If it’s like anything you have imparted to me, you will succeed.

Your Friend,
Derek Methu, PCV GUY30 Region 6

World Mental Health Day
World Mental Health Day happens every year on October 10.
With much to cover, volunteers across Guyana shared their knowledge on the subject brightening many people’s lives.

Compiled by John Ryan

“To celebrate World Mental Health Day we talked about stress and various coping mechanisms that young mothers can use so that they have healthy pregnancies and happy lives! We started with a wonderful activity to identify and share how we’ve been feeling that week. Each woman drew a heart and then colored it according to the emotions they were feeling. For example, purple meant you were feeling amazing, green represented sick, red meant excitement, etc. The women really enjoyed the activity and it was a great way for our shy group to begin a discussion on mental health.” –Carly Ratekin

 “I spoke to my 8th graders on Mental Health. I had them come up to a poster and mark how they were feeling today: Sad, Happy, Mad, Tired, Excited! Needless to say, we had a mix of different emotions going on. When I asked the students about what do they usually correlate the word “health” to, they all said things like, “exercise”, “staying fit”, “having a good body” etc. The reason I chose this activity is that I wanted them to start thinking about how they were feeling emotionally. We don’t always consider our mental and emotional health, which is just as important to our physical health. This activity was done to demonstrate that classmates may be feeling differently than they do, but that doesn’t mean we should treat them any differently. It’s okay to take 5 sometimes and relax, eat that piece of chocolate, say no if you have to, be alone if you need to, cry if you have to; whatever it is that you need to do to keep your overall wellbeing healthy, do it! #MentalHealthAwareness” –Jamie Herring

        “On October 19th, 2017 I helped the National Psychiatric Hospital organize a Mental Health Fair. I’ve learned that mental health is a scary and difficult topic to discuss in Guyana, leaving many people isolated and ashamed of seeking help. Our goal was to engage people in an activity that gave us an opportunity to strike up a conversation about mental health and break down negative stigmas across the community.

With the help of 7 other PCVs, we put on a mental health booth where people could learn about coping mechanisms, self-care, and healthy communication.

The primary school students from St. Therese’s and All Saints even contributed to the cause by creating a banner during my HFLE session on mental health that says “We Support Mental Health: A Happy and Healthy Future is in Our Hands.” On the banner, the kids wrote ways they could support their own mental health and a way they could help a friend in need. Over 90 students participated in this activity. The banner was later displayed at the Mental Health Fair for the rest of the community to see.

The health fair was later broadcasted on the local news where Dr. K and I had the chance to talk about our initiative to encourage others to value their mental health. I loved the process of putting this event together and getting the opportunity to connect people to the betterment of their health. I hope to do something like this again!”
-Melanie Zimmerman

HIV/AIDS Task Force
World AIDS Day – December 1st, 2017
Poster Competition

Best Overall
Rosignol Health Center
PCV: Cristina Miller
Most Eye Catching
PCV: Taylor Lakowski
Most Diverse
PCV: Taylor Laskowski
Most Artistic
Waramuri
PCV: Amber Enyart
Most Informational
Essequibo Islands Secondary School
PCV: Reed Boulter
Most Creative
Santa Rosa Secondary School
PCV: Eneka Lamb

GAD (Gender And Development)
GAD wants to highlight the amazing effort put forward by the hardworking Gabrielle Swindle for establishing and managing Region 9’s very first GLOW (Girls Leading Our World) camp!

RUPUNUNI GIRL POWER!

Gabrielle Swindle: “From December 17-21, 16 Peace Corps Volunteers, and six mentors helped to put on a Camp GLOW (Girls Leading Our World) for 64 young women, ages 13-16. These camps are put on around the world and teach girls healthy lifestyle practices, keys for educational success, interregional social cohesion, and hope to inspire them to become future agents of change in their respective communities. We had girls from Annai Secondary, St. Ignatius Secondary, Sand Creek Secondary, Aishalton Secondary, and Nappi. … It waslife-changinging camp for everyone involved. RUPUNUNI GIRL POWER!”

Also a big shout out to the other volunteers who assisted in helping the camp run smoothly! 

Amaar Abdelgader, Connor Godfrey, Steven Corina, Thomas Saleh, Carolyn Rohdenburg, Dylan Karl, Ari Lynn Hoskins, Christina Miller, Emily Lipson, Melanie Zimmerman, Jami Herring, John Weber, Karin Strom, Stephanie Parente, Olayinka Opesanmi, Christopher Sutton

Volunteer Advisory Council
December Meeting Highlights & Other Reminders
VAC has representatives from each cohort to plan PCV events, discuss issues with PC staff and work on solutions collectively. VAC meets with staff quarterly.

VAC had a meeting December 4th. Medical issues were addressed including de-worming policy, birth control, and advice from PCMO’s. Greater communication between volunteers and PCMO’s is greatly encouraged.

Nonmedical issues were also brought to light such as giving volunteers notice of upcoming travel and lodging for Peace Corps events. This should be very helpful to any volunteers in any hinterland locations as well as outreach areas.

The VAC meeting also highlighted the importance of professionalism and courtesy for both volunteers and staff. Volunteers are representing Peace Corps and the United States at all times.

It is not all bitter news though.
VAC is hosting a field day on January 27 at the National Park in Georgetown.
RSVP to Briona GUY28 to ensure they can get all materials in time.
The Counterpart awards also have a submission deadline of January 19. If you are interested in more information, feel free to reach out to a VAC member and to check your email inbox.

Peer Support Network (PSN)
Contacts and Inspiring Quotes

PSN has had some member shifts recently, so here is our most updated contact list and few motivational quotes for your Mondays. Enjoy! 🙂

Carly Ratekin – 659-3811 (Call) +1-720-201-3465 (Whatsapp)

Thomas Saleh – 679-3865 (Call and Whatsapp)

Eneka Lamb – 683-5367 (Call and Whatsapp)

Gabrielle Swindle – 601-2884 (Call) +1-713-376-9461 (Whatsapp)

Allycia Kleine – 662-8586 (Call) +1-314-267-6716 (Whatsapp)

Quotes

“If you have never made a mistake you have never tried anything new.” – Albert Einstein 

“Success consists of going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm.” – Winston Churchill

“Faith is taking the first step even when you can’t see the whole staircase.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“Keep your eyes on the stars and your feet on the ground.” – Theodore Roosevelt 

“Life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it.” – Charles Swindoll

“The only way to do great work is to love what you do.” – Steve Jobs

“Change your thoughts and you change your world.” – Norman Vincent Peale

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