The Fun That Was Peace Corps Guyana - Mark's Blog

Postings from just north of the equator. Let's see if training in CPR and First Aid prepares me to teach Health Education in a small, remote village in Guyana. I'm thinking... no. Read all about this ill advised decision! In addition, here is the required Peace Corps disclaimer: "The contents of this website are mine personally and do not reflect any position of the US government or the Peace Corps." So, please, don't confuse me with the White House Press Secretary.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Peace Corps Guyana Just Got Real

I just got back from my volunteer visit, which is the best idea Peace Corps has ever come up with. Basically, I've been in and just outside Georgetown for the past four weeks for training. But they keep asking you about where you want to be placed for your two years. But what do I know about Guyana? I haven't seen anything. It would be like living in New York City for four weeks and then having to decide where in the USA you want to live - Boston, random town in North Dakota, rural village in Alabama, or mountain town in Colorado? Being in New York tells you nothing about anywhere else. It's the same way with Georgetown. So that's part of the reason why they send us trainees on the volunteer visit - to see where the volunteers actually live and get an idea of what life might be like for the next two years. As far as I can tell, life is going to be sweet.

I went, with four other guys, to a bunch of volunteers about three hours away (at least when you take a mini-bus, then a speedboat, and then a taxi). It was across the largest river in Guyana, on the Essequibo Coast. I had a blast. The volunteers are sane, which is always good to see. Their places were really nice. Some even had ovens! Holy molley! One guy had mosquito-proofed his whole apartment, so he didn't need to sleep under a mosquito net. That seemed almost too luxurious for Peace Corps. But anyways, it was almost a tease to see these volunteers living by themselves, when we're still stuck with our host families.

But it was an amazing time. The Guyana outside of Georgetown is gorgeous. I would love to be placed there. And speaking of placement, I find out my site this Thursday afternoon. So I'm pretty excited. I talked about wanting to be in Georgetown, but now, after my volunteer visit, I would like to be on Essequibo Coast. But I'm flexible. The only thing I really want is to be placed with a NGO. Basically, most volunteers are placed in community health centers, where they do presentations and generally help. It sounds like it can be really slow and boring sometimes, especially for the first year. But there are a few sites where you work in a NGO. These organizations are mostly working with HIV/AIDS education, outreach, and prevention. From what we have heard and know, I think it would be ten times better for me. So I've been pushing PC to place me with a NGO. The problem is that most of the NGO's are located in Georgetown, which is the big, bad, scary capital of Guyana. I'm a city kid, so I know I could handle it. In fact, part of me would like to be in Georgetown to get that big city experience. But my volunteer visit was awesome, and the Essequibo Coast was amazing. So I also think that I might rather be out on the coast. I'm torn. I guess I want to work for a NGO on the coast. But (un)luckily, it's not really up to me. So we all have a second meeting with the PC staff about where we want to be placed this week. And then on Thursday they tell us. So it's basically sit back and enjoy the ride time for me.

Anyways, that's what is going on over here. I didn't know that March Madness had started until it was already the Elite Eight. So that sucks for all your Zags fans out there. They need to stop choking. And Greg, how come UCLA is all of a sudden good? I'm sure you told me about how they were good earlier, but I wasn't paying attention. Anyways, go UCLA I guess. And speaking of sports, baseball must be starting soon. Anyone should feel free to send me emails about the Giants, Red Sox, A's, Mariners, or any other team. I'd like to know anything about it all. Trent, who does Peter Gammons say is going to win it all? I need to know!!! If you guys don't tell me soon, I'm going to have to become a hardcore cricket fan. I'm already pretty good. I dominate when we play ourselves. And I can hold my own against the Guyanese PC staff. I hit a few 6-runners (which is like a homerun) and bunch of 4-runners (which is like a ground-rule double) last time we played. I think I'm going to come back to the States and join the US national team for cricket. Screw law school.


At 5:13 PM, Blogger TheAlmightyPeter said...

oh god i forgot my password and stuff. hey mark, i'll keep you up to date on baseball. the mariners are predicted for a first place finish in the AL west. rumor on the street is that they are just planning to start felix hernandez every game.

guess what, i am doing fantasy baseball with my office and it was set up on the auto draft, and guess what, i forgot to not draft roger clemens, so i used one of my higher picks to draft a pitcher not on any teams opening day roster. nuts.

At 3:33 PM, Blogger Rani_of_NY said...

Hi Mark,

I am a freelance journalist. I grew up in Guyana, but only heard of Affiance today. I noticed you didn't post since April ...what's up?



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