I’m writing this post from the Grand Coastal Hotel in Georgetown, Guyana as we finish up our GUY26 reconnect conference. It has been three months since our amazing group of volunteers completed our training and were sent off to the different corners of Guyana to do our two year tour, and now we have all returned to share our experiences and sit through some more long and repetitive lectures on how to best serve. During the last three months we have lost two volunteers to ET and I wish them both the best back home and two volunteers are back in the US on medical and we are hoping they are able to rejoin us soon. Despite having to spend 8 hours a day in class, it is nice for us to all be back together and we have had a bunch of fun hanging out, watching the world series, watching some NFL, playing dungeons and dragons (yup we’re nerds) , and we will soon be heading out to celebrate Halloween in Georgetown. We are a fun bunch of folks even if GUY25 says we are lame!
As for me, the CDC blood tests came back showing that I did officially contract chikungunya. It is an epidemic in the Caribbean right now and its long term effects are unknown. It was a miserable three weeks during the infection and the symptoms can last for an unknown length of time. I am mostly pain free but I still get some bad knee pain and stiffness in my left knee when I have been sitting for too long. I’m hoping that this arthritis isn’t permanent but it doesn’t stop me from my daily activities anymore. I’ve been getting back to the gym and am also fully back into the swing of things at work. The staff at my clinic has grown in size but thanks to my counterpart and supervisor, I still have plenty to do and have a wonderful relationship with my coworkers and our patients. I have a few projects in mind but am still hashing out the details and I hope to start working on my projects in the community soon.
I recently got the chance to visit some other parts of Guyana by heading over to Essequibo, Region 2 where some other volunteers live and got to see Essequibo Night, a festival celebrating Essequibo, promoting agriculture, selling local goods, live music, and paiwhari (cassava alcohol). It was very similar to GuyExpo, a state fair like event in Georgetown that I worked at my neighbors photo booth for except that Essequibo night partied much later into the night. It was a very fun time even if I didn’t get much sleep.
Last week I got to experience Diwali, the Hindu festival of light. The Nani I live with lit dias all over the house to celebrate and people everywhere were lighting off sparklers and fireworks up and down the streets. It was quite a spectacle seeing all that at once and seeing everyone have so much fun. The only nuisance was the teenagers with their flash-bang grenades that they all bought for Diwali. They would run down the street throwing them at each other, and since I play football with them all, one or two were thrown in my direction and when they go off they strike you blind and deaf for a few seconds and it takes a while to reorient yourself. All in all, it was a fun holiday.
Honestly there are tons more experiences I could write about and I hope to be better with updating the blog. Guyana has its ups and downs but it is an amazing place and I value every moment here and know that I am positively impacting my community and taking steps towards the career I want. I am excited about what the future holds. I miss you all and thank you all for the support.
Peace out homies!