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.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The New Year

I know I haven’t written for a long time. I’m sorry. I’ve been fairly busy as of late. First, the holidays came and went. Without going into too much detail (because I don’t think you want to sit there and read for an hour), I had a great Christmas! Eight of us decided to fly into the interior to spend three days on a part of the border between Guyana and Brazil. We went to Orinduik Falls, which is a beautiful set of cascading waterfalls that you can play in. We brought our own food, went on hikes, and just chilled out. It was a really nice, relaxing holiday.

Then at the end of December after Christmas a former Peace Corps volunteer came back to get married to a girl from his Peace Corps village. A bunch of old volunteers came back for the wedding, which was a blast. It was like the fun times of my first few months of site all over again, except I am now much more comfortable here. So my New Year’s Eve (or Old Year’s Night, as they say here) was a lot of fun with old friends. They stuck around for about a week. So it was a great holiday season!

But now, I’ve had to get back to work. I just started implementing a project that has long been in the planning stages. Working with a local HIV/AIDS organization, we are building a hydroponics greenhouse to grow vegetables that will benefit local orphaned and vulnerable children (OVSs) as well as people living with HIV/AIDS (PLs). Now, I know what you are thinking – isn’t hydroponics the fancy way of growing marijuana indoors? Well, yeah. But, that’s not what we are doing (for some reason, I don’t think President Bush would approve of using his HIV/AIDS money to fund a pot club). Hydroponics is the growing of vegetables without soil. So we are growing them in boxes filled with a mixture of sand and rice husk. This holds the plant and roots in place. Then we feed it a solution mixture that contains all the nutrients it needs. Hydroponics is totally safe and healthy, considering it doesn’t use any hard pesticides or fertilizers. And you can grow a lot of vegetables in small space. In a greenhouse that is 18 feet by 24 feet and has 22 boxes, we will probably be able to grow about 400 vegetables at a time. So it is very efficient.

The second phases of the project include using income generated from the greenhouse to fund small kitchen gardens for families of OVCs and for PLs. These kitchen gardens, in turn, will supply these households with both fresh greens (which is vital for someone who is sick with HIV/AIDS) and a small source of income (something many PLs don’t have). It is a very inventive project. Sadly for me, I can’t take credit for the idea. A former volunteer designed the project but then had to leave suddenly. So I agreed to take on the project and implement it. It’s a great idea and has some higher-ups in the USAID department watching it. If it goes well, they see it as a pilot program that could be reproduced in various other Caribbean countries. So a lot is riding on this project! No pressure.

So that is what is taking up my time. I only have three months left in Guyana. It’s bittersweet. I’m ready to move onto the next phase of life (law school, here I come!), but I’m also sad to say goodbye to Guyana. I’m proud of my achievements, but I’m sad to say goodbye to my family and friends here. It’s a mixed bag of emotions. But I have three months left, and I intend to make the best of them.


At 5:19 PM, Blogger kmcquay said...

I have a friend that is/was "stationed" in Georgetown. We have not been able to get in touch with her after the shootings in Lusignan. I heard that she was relocated, but I haven't heard anything since. Do you know anything about what is going on? I just want to make sure that she is okay.


Post a Comment

<< Home