Our first three days in Guyana were spent living with the sisters (some of whom have lived here for their whole lives) so they could help us adjust to our new culture. Now, we’ve officially moved into our own neighborhood and our own house for the year. This is all taking some getting used to. When we were with the sisters, we didn’t have to worry about our meals, our safety, or how to get around, because all of that stuff was built in to their lifestyle already. Now, we’ve basically been pushed out of the boat and are expected to sink or swim. Granted, we’ve been given a few tools to survive, but this new life certainly takes some getting used to.
Our neighborhood seems relatively safe. Although, how are we actually suppose to be able to determine that when we don’t know much about the country? Our house and street are surrounded by gutters and ditches that keep the rain water out of the street; however, they’re all filled with trash that creates a rather gross odor for us to smell every time we step outside of our front door. Maybe we’ll get used to it…maybe. We have a gate outside of our yard that we keep locked for safety, but it’s really just an illusion of safety, anybody could hop over it if they wanted to. Our house, on the other hand, is built like a fortress. Someone would really have to take some serious measures in order to get in. Every window on the first floor has bars on it and our front and side doors have five locks each. Our biggest enemy right now seems to be the heat. Our house is warm in the morning, in the day, in the evening, and at night. It’s still much cooler to stay in the shade, but feeling sticky and sweaty ALL of the time is taking some getting used to. I’m going to say a silent prayer that I get used to the heat, because there is no way to escape it.
Yesterday around 2pm, we prepared our first meal together. We were all really excited to eat since we hadn’t in quite a while. We weren’t trying to be too eccentric with our meal, but we cooked up some rice, beans and corn, and were going to mix them all together with hot sauce and eat them with taco shells. The meal ended up being a disaster. The taco shells tasted just like laundry detergent –who knows how long they had been sitting on the shelf in the store. I thought it was just a bad first bite or something, but as I kept eating and as everyone else voiced their disgust as well, I ended up picking the shells out of the meal. The other problem, the problem that really ruined the meal for us, is that the hot sauce we bought was much too strong for any of our liking. After we had already put the sauce into the mix and stirred it in, we realized that whatever it was we had purchased was from the West Indies and was far more than our weak little taste buds could handle. We all ate about three bites because that’s all we could stomach, and we did our fair share of heavy breathing, coughing, and tearing up in response to the heat. Side note: while you’re sitting in a 90 degree house with 100% humidity, you don’t normally want to be choking down something really spicy.
We have the weekend ahead of us now and we will use it to continue to get to know our surroundings. We’re slowly picking this city apart and remembering where things are. I think I could get myself to the grocery store, farmer’s market, bank, public pool, internet cafe, and the bakery on my own, but I could just be kidding myself, I may set off for one place and end up getting completely lost! I suppose that’s the adventure of this whole kind of experience though.
This internet cafe I’m currently sitting at is only a few blocks down from my home, so I hope to be able to frequent it throughout the year. I just hope I can figure out a way to upload a photo or two once in a while to enhance any reader’s understanding of what this city looks like. It’s difficult to describe, but there’s something special about it, something different than anywhere I’ve been before.
We’ve entered the phase of this experience that exists between “we just got here, we’re so excited!” and the “honeymoon” phase. This is a critical period as we adjust to some of the things we aren’t exactly excited about. I do; however, continue to remind myself that this is the experience I signed up for, and I couldn’t be more happy about that.
Until next time!