After Challenge Week was over and we had all recapped on everyone’s activities (literacy fairs, spelling bees, teacher workshops, and health fairs galore) we hopped on a bus to Georgetown and arrived at Shangri-la, or for Peace Corps Trainees, also known as the Windjammer. The Windjammer is a beautiful and mystical place with things such as air conditioning, wi-fi, a pool, and some semblance of FREEDOM from the day-to-day rigors of training. It was SO much fun to get to hang out with everyone (especially the Laluni folks from the hinterland training group, lovingly dubbed the “Lalunatics”) and let loose a little bit…or a lot 😉
We had one day of training with just us trainees, and the second day we met our counterparts. For those of you that don’t know, a counterpart is the person that a volunteer works alongside for their full two years, so you can imagine that this is a very important person/relationship to establish. I think there were some nerves on both ends, until I met my counterpart, who is just awesome and super chill–we even sat next to each other before we knew who the other was!
After two days of counterpart conference, we all finally got to visit our future homes. The 3 day site visit was the first time that our respective training group members had been separated by more than one town, so we all said our goodbyes and were whisked away to all corners of Guyana. Luckily, we had our CPs to escort us there this time around. Hopped a minibus from Georgetown to Linden, promptly fell asleep, banging my head against the window every now and again, and two hours later arrived in Linden! My CP dropped me off with my host dad, the local media expert for Linden, who by the way, knows literally EVERYONE in town! My nerves about the 6 month host stay were pretty much gone within 5 minutes of meeting this guy. He is super outgoing, fun, and easy-going. He took me to the house I will be living at until December and it is just lovely. They are undergoing some renovations right now, but the house is great and I have my own space at the back which is nice. For those imagining me in a hut…sorry to disappoint. We have electricity, running water (from about 8am-8pm usually), and a flush toilet. The only luxuries I am living without that one might have back in the states are air conditioning and internet, which I am glad for actually. Later that night I got to meet my host mom, who although a little bit more reserved, is equally as wonderful. I just really lucked out on host families, both for training and site.
There are three GUY 24 volunteers (the group before mine) living in a house about a ten minute walk away from where I am, which is really nice. They know the ropes when it comes to living in Linden and I know they will be a great resource for me this first 9 months or so until they leave.
Less than two weeks of training left, and then we are official volunteers…wait, what?!