“Oh No, A Blackout!”

I’ve started to establish a rhythm. Things are getting easier. I’ve completed three days of school so far and have learned a number of different things about this city and this country along the way.

After the first day of school, I wasn’t sure if I would get to continue working with the 5th grade boys, but it turns out that I do. Initially, way back when I accepted this position with MVC and agreed to move to Guyana, I thought I’d be teaching 2nd grade, but now, I’m happy that isn’t the case. Since the entire school is essentially one room separated by only chalkboards, I’ve gained an understanding about what the second grade class is like and I’m glad to be with the nine-year-old boys instead. The fifth graders are already decent readers and can comprehend most of the information that I throw at them. I’m consistently surprised by their ease at understanding directions. Also, perhaps the best part, they don’t argue or complain one bit about the work or instructions that I give them. They just get right to work in hopes that if they finish early they’ll be able to read a book or stare out into space. How can I channel Guyana when I return to schools in the United States?

After three days of taking the buses to school, I can say with complete confidence that I won’t ever get lost. I think that being able to navigate the bus system is the first sign that things are starting to feel normal. I certainly feel like a true Georgetown resident when I hop off one bus, weave through the traffic of main street, and climb into another bus in a line up on Regent Street. I especially feel like I’m fitting in now that no one pays any mind to me when I board the buses. Being white here is something that makes us stick out, but it’s nothing compared to Kenya or Uganda. I think Guyana is a pretty nice blend of races and cultures.

I’ve experienced two blackouts so far since my arrival. Once at home and once this afternoon at school. I’ve been told this is part of living in Guyana and I was warned about it before I got here. No amount of warning prepares you for the blast of heat that hits you when the fans suddenly go off though. When the first blackout happened, it was dark outside and I was home in the living room with my roommates, so we made the most of the situation and I read to them out of a book with a flashlight. Today, I was at school and the teachers groaned when the fans went off. “Oh no, not a blackout!” I couldn’t help but chuckle to myself as I glanced out the open door at the beautiful sunny day and the palm trees waving in the wind against the perfect blue sky backdrop. When you work in a school with no technology, you don’t really need power. The first blackout lasted about two hours, then second lasted about twenty minutes. There were; however, two dead cockroaches on the classroom floor today. That was exciting!

Power is one thing here that we don’t take for granted, the other is water. We have to haul every drop of our drinking water from a water point down the street to our home. Each jug weighs about 40 pounds. I’ll post some pictures of what this looks like when I get a chance. But until then, remember to appreciate having clean, potable water that comes right out of your sink INSIDE your house. I know I’ll never not appreciate running (drinkable) water again.

We’re slowly becoming more a part of this community. We’ve accepted a few invitations to dinners and events this week. We’ll see how it all goes.



One thought on ““Oh No, A Blackout!”

  1. Sounds like your students could teach students here a thing or two. I wonder how kids from here would fare in the conditions you are teaching in.

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