Not only have the past couple of months been busy with celebrations and holidays, but also crazy busy with work stuff. I made it through my first school term here in Guyana, and not just any school term, the longest one of the year–15 weeks! In those 15 weeks, I learned at least as many lessons including, but not limited to: how many children can fit into my room at one time, the maximum decibel level my ears can handle, how competitive a game of “Down by the Banks” can become, not to gauge success in the Peace Corps by the same standards you would back home, that Guyanese kids don’t care how sweaty you are–they still want to hug you and kiss you on the cheek, that I have the coolest counterpart this side of the Demerara, how exciting new pencils and stickers can be, and many others. With that being said, there was plenty of exciting stuff going on outside of school as well.
We’ll start with our Linden Mini Camp GLOW back in November. Myself and the other three Linden Ladies were in charge of putting together a mini version of Camp GLOW–learn more about it here http://www.campglowguyana.org/ and feel free to visit the Facebook page too, just search ‘Camp GLOW Guyana’. The camp was a huge success thanks mostly to our awesome GLOW girls, Counselors-in-training (CITs) and Counselors; and of course all of the fellow volunteers that came out to lend a hand–obviously couldn’t have done it without y’all! Unfortunately, I could only be there for one out of the two days, but I know for a fact that Day 2 was just as much fun, and hopefully just as inspiring as Day 1 for the girls attending. This is one of those things in Peace Corps where the volunteers get just as much, if not more out of it than the girls attending and I absolutely cannot wait for the big Camp GLOW coming up in August! In the meantime, I will let some pictures speak for themselves.
World AIDS Day Camp: Our HIV/AIDS Task Force (made up of 3 GUY 24s and 3 GUY 25s) received a grant that allowed PCVs all over Guyana to hold one-day camps on November 30th in honor of World AIDS day (December 1st). The goal is to educate Grade 6 children on HIV/AIDS in a fun, non-intimidating environment. There are so many misconceptions out there, and it’s important to educate the youth on the facts so that they can spread the knowledge and protect themselves. We held one here in Linden at Oriane’s school with her Grade 6 students and ended up having 26 out of 30 kids turn up–a phenomenal turnout! Behold, some pictures:
Essequibo Art Camp: A couple of other volunteers put on a week long art camp for about 40 kiddos over in Region 2. As usual with camps, lots of us were more than happy to go and lend a hand. The camp was held the week after school let out for the holidays, so it was a great time for us to take a break from site and go have fun with some crazy kids. A local family in the community where the camp was held owns a number of businesses and was nice enough to donate all of the supplies and a place to hold the camp, which was really generous of them! Supplies and space are usually two of the most challenging elements of holding camps like this. The kids had an absolute blast, hopefully learned something about different forms of art, and got to express themselves creatively which is rare in their day to day school life. I know most of you don’t really read, and just want to see pictures anyway, so here ya go!
Annnnnd last but not least we held a viewing party for the local GLOW girls to watch the documentary “Girl Rising” a few days after Christmas. We had everyone bring some food or drink, put mattresses on the floor, painted nails, gaffed, and watched the film–it follows the stories of 8 or so girls around the world, their struggles and how they overcame them. It was a good chance for everyone to reconnect and catch up, since the last time we saw these sweet ladies was Linden Mini GLOW.
Whew! That about catches you up on all of the side projects that I’ve had the opportunity to work on over the past couple months. Hope this proves to y’all that I’m not just hanging out in my hammock all day every day…although I will admit there is SOME of that going on 😉