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.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Read This After the Post Before

I thought I should add a little something to that last post about working with the USNS Comfort doctors and support staff. First off, those military guys and girls were great. They were really nice people. They had been on the ship for the past three months, seeing ten countries already. After Guyana, they were going to finish off in Suriname and then go back home. Though they’d been working hard, they were all, without exception, incredibly professional, efficient, and courteous. Everyone’s bedside manner with the patients was exceptional. One of my very close Guyanese friends stood in line for over six hours to see the doctor. He’s a little bit of an older man and has a back problem – he said he couldn’t remember standing that long in a very long time. Yet, he didn’t complain at all because of the bedside manner of the doctor who saw him. He said some of the nicest and most grateful things I’ve possibly ever heard someone say about a doctor. And after working with those doctors and support staff for three days, I know they deserved every last compliment they got.

Also, and possibly more importantly, I got the pleasure of eating a MRE. For those of you who are not hip to military food, MRE means “Meal Ready to Eat.” It’s the food soldiers eat while out on missions. And in case you don’t know it’s for soldiers, the logo on the front is a silhouette of a soldier with a gun. Classic! Though most might cringe at the thought of eating, say, beef pot roast out of a bag, keep in mind that most of you haven’t been living in Guyana for a year and a half. And as much as I like Guyanese food (especially when made by my host mom), I haven’t been eating much beef pot roast here. So these MREs have individually packaged foods in them – usually the main course, crackers, cheese spread, a cookie, and an energy bar. So you have to heat up the main course. But you don’t need a microwave of anything. Oh no. It’s much more interesting than that. You put the packet of beef pot roast in a larger plastic sleeve. In that plastic bag, there is a chemical packet. Then, in a slightly scary chemical experiment, you pour a bit of water into the bag and the chemical packet heats up really hot to heat your food. Crazy! The thing was actually smoking and too hot to hold within about ten seconds. After about five minutes, it’s ready to eat! Hmmm-hmmm good.

But really, it was pretty good. I mean, like I said, it’s been a little while since I’ve had beef pot roast or beef enchiladas or cheese tortellini. So they tasted amazing to me. All the military guys were laughing because they are so sick of them. But I was as happy as can be. When they were packing up on the third day, they still had a box of 20 MREs. And Hector, our military hook-up for the MREs, asked me if I wanted the whole box. Ah…. yes. So thanks to Hector, I am sharing about 20 different MREs with two other Peace Corps volunteers on the coast, both of whom are not quite as excited about these preservative-laden food packets.

So anyways, it was a lot of fun working with these guys. I think Hector might be reading this post, so thanks a lot for the MREs. Make sure to send me those pictures when you get a chance. And to any other guys or girls of the Comfort, thanks a lot! I had a blast working with you guys. And more importantly, I know how grateful people were on the Essequibo Coast after your visit. You guys really made a difference in three short days. Thanks.


At 5:59 PM, Blogger Kody May said...

I know exactly what you mean about the living in Guyana and craving beef. I came back to the US and almost cried when I had a hamburger again.


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