Today, Febuary 23rd, is the Guyanese holiday of Mashramani, an annual celebration of the founding of the Guyanese Republic in 1970. The holiday is celebrated as Guyana’s version of Carnival with a large parade in the heart of Georgetown, large floats for all different groups ranging from Ministry of Health to the Boom FM radio station, and many people dancing while festooned in outrageous outfits of the national colors; red, yellow, green, black, and white. Oh, there is also copious amounts of drinking and partying. Unfortunately I was unable to attend the celebrations in town today and take a bunch of pictures due to a stomach bug I happened to catch last night but that is just how life goes. Hopefully I can go next year!
In other news I’ve been very busy these last few weeks working at my health center and on some other projects I’ve been focusing on. I am trying to organize first aid classes for the teachers in the Parika schools (there are no school nurses or medical supplies in the schools here, a few months back we had a primary school student come in with a severe head laceration requiring twenty-something stitches), work with an American NGO to bring a first-responder based emergency medical system to rural regions of Guyana, and an diabetes mellitus type II epidemiology study focusing on knowledge and misconceptions about diabetes among diabetic patients and their caregivers in the Parika region. All that work is keeping me pretty busy. In my free time I have been hitting the gym, reading, learning a bit of Portuguese, and learning to cook and take care of my new house. Some people in the Peace Corps are bored allot of the time but I don’t have enough free time!
There is another Guyanese holiday in two weeks time, Pagwah (or Holi), the Hindu festival of colors. It is a fun holiday where everyone walks around and throws paint on one another. I will be going to Georgetown in a white shirt to celebrate and then leaving the next day for my vacation to Tobago where I will be staying with my family for a week in a nice beach house while relaxing and enjoying the beautiful country. I can’t wait to see everyone again and hope I don’t get sick again the night before the holiday/vacation (I’ve actually been quite well since moving, no chicungunya or dengue and I’ve been quite healthy otherwise)! Anyways, time to run back to the outhouse! Take care everyone!