Thursday, June 5, 2014

Ok Folks! Here it is... follow my new blog at:

I look forward to you all reading, commenting, laughing, crying, shaking your head and being amazed.

Hugs to you all and hope to see you on the flipside!
Hi All!

It has been a long time since I have put effort and time into posting here...sorry about that.

As too much time has passed and I am no longer a Peace Corps Volunteer nor Response Volunteer (sheesh five years is enough, don't ya think?) I'm starting a new blog.

I'll post the link on here...but for now, Adios! Goodbye! See ya Later Alligator!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

New Beginnings

This coming Monday, I'll be starting a new Peace Corps Volunteer position called Response. For those of you outside the PC realm, Response is just that, a call answered by a former PCV to do a specific job or task in an area of need for a shorter time period than a normal two-year volunteer. The positions require certain skill sets and abilities that many former PCVs hold from past experiences. The only difference between most PCRVs (Peace Corps Response Volunteers) and myself is that they go to another country to do their service and I am doing mine in good ol' Guyana.

Someone asked me the other day if I was still in Guyana. When I answered yes, the replied with "Wow! You're a PC Legend!" I have to disagree... while I've been here for almost 4 years now, I still feel that I have made a small dent in what should have been a major crater. In all honesty, I feel like I've gained more from these experiences than I've given. After a conversation with my CD earlier this week, I realized I'm not the only one who feels this way. But for all PCVs across the board, serving and living a life of a volunteer in a third-world or developing country changes you for life, even if your service was 3 months or 4 years.

My next position will be working within the Ministry of Education implementing a new HIV/AIDS curriculum and training course for schools across Guyana. Having already been involved in a pilot program of sorts leading up to this position, I feel somewhat prepared ahead of time and eager to see this project through. Similarly, after having lived in an area familiar with HIV/AIDS persons and the community's involvement with prevention and awareness, I feel that I can have a better understanding of how to execute this project to the fullest.

With all this optimism.. I'm sure there is bound to be failure. However, I know that I'll make it through somehow, someway. And before I post this somewhat cheesy post with an equally cheesy picture, let me just give thanks to those who support me through many rough times and happy times alike.... Mica, Liza, Barry, my family, my Patentia friends, my neighbors, PC staff and GUY PCVs, my friends back home and more. Because of all of your words, hugs, smiles, challenges, corrections and suggestions, I'm a better person today. I feel that I can face the world with almost anything as long as I have you by my side.

With that.. enjoy your cheesy post and picture until next time...

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Catching Up...

It's been over a year now since I've posted on this blog. Don't really have any good excuses except loss of interest in posting most likely due to the fact that I don't have internet readily available or the fact that I'm constantly on the Essequibo Coast or pure laziness. Who can truly tell? Thanks to Mica, however, I've had a revival of interest and motivation to keep this updated more and more.

My life has been full and lively but mostly enjoyable. I therefore, did not see the point to ending my Peace Corps career. Last year, I posted in the month of February. Shortly after that post, I was accepted to stay for a third year as a Peace Corps Volunteer at my primary job. The perks to staying for a third year outweigh going home and searching for a job like speedy-gonzales while trying to acclimate back into American culture; going home for a month all expenses paid, continuing projects with renewed ferver and motivation knowing you've put so much into them, the ability to continue relationships with people you've only just begun to fall into groove with and of course, the continuous possibilities to host other RPCVs who miss their second home.

My third year was so successful and fulfilling that I couldn't peel myself away from Guyana just yet, so now I've become a Response Volunteer. A Response Volunteer is a PCV who goes to a country for a limited amount of time (typically 6-9 months) and for a very specific and detailed job. As was described to me recently, the PCRV acts almost as a consultant in this position because their ability to truly integrate into the culture within such short time limits is harder. Similarly, because of the short amount of time in country, their work takes precedence and therefore leaves the volunteer with more responsibility to shoulder than a two-year PCV. For me, however, my time between being a regular ol' PCV and a newly "sworn-in" Response Volunteer was only the matter of a few weeks and since I'll be doing the job in the same country I've been living in for the past almost 4 years, I've got a serious leg up on all the others.

Although I cannot technically talk about the specifics of my job as yet, I can tell you, followers, that my job will entail more HIV/AIDS focus specifically in the schools in terms of executing programs, curricular improvements and additions, training and educational sessions as well as evaluations. I've been looking forward to moving into this next phase of Peace Corps for a while, so my anticipation is high. I'm excited to see what we can accomplish with this task in front of us with the materials and time given to us. What a challenge!

In the meantime, my two good friends from my Peace Corps group have come back to teach at a prominent school in town so spending time with them has been the icing on my already sweet cake. Liza and Mica are truly rewards for staying so long in Guyana.

Recently, Liza came back to marry her Guyanese fiance, Marlon. Their wedding was one of truly unique aspects full of traditional Guyanese moments, mixtures of laughter and tears, family and friends and best of all, Chinese Karaoke.  

And as some of you have been guessing, yes, I'm still with Barry. He proposed to me in May and while we have not set the date as of today for our wedding, we are going strong and very eagerly looking forward to our wedding and enjoying our lives together.


So, friends, continue to look forward to updates and the fun goings-on of my life as a Peace Corps Response Volunteer and, as Barry's family and friends say, an American-Guyanese. 


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Roll De Tassa

Tassa is a form of kettle drum, presumably of Persian derivation. Tassa drums are widespread in North India. Typically, one or more tassa drums are played together with a heavy bass drum called dhol, perhaps along with brass cymbals or a metal shaker. Tassa-dhol ensembles of three to five players are especially common in street processions, whether associated with weddings, political rallies, or Muslim Muharram commemorations. In Maharashtra, ensembles of several dozen drummers compete in festivities honoring the deity Ganesh. Drummers in these ensembles are often amateurs, or specialists in other drum traditions. Brought by indentured workers to the Caribbean in the 19th century, tassa ensembles have flourished with great dynamism in Trinidad, and also in Florida, New York, Canada and various other places where the Indo-Caribbean communities are found.

So without further ado....

ROLL DE TASSA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Making A Difference

As I sit here on this cool and somewhat cloudy Saturday morning in February, I'm reflective and grateful. These past 6 months have been a blur. School days, sports, holidays, projects, friends, a closing conference, and decisions surrounded me and still do. I can genuinely say that my time here has gone by in the blink of an eye. There have been many ups and downs, obstacles and accomplishments, tears and laughter but most of all there have been memories.

The purpose of a Peace Corps Volunteer is not, however, to solely improve his/her community but to also improve the lives of others, and in turn improve their own life. I can say with confidence that I have improved the life of at least one person while here in Guyana and can only hope that I've touched the lives of others the way they have touched mine. This being said, I have had the unique opportunity to be involved with a branch of Lion's Club and their impacting project of a free community-based eye clinic. Yes, I said free. Of course we all know if we paid attention in high school economics that there is "no free lunch" meaning simply that even if YOU get a free lunch, someone somewhere else has paid for the bag you're eating it from, or the farmer has paid to grow the items inside the sandwich you're munching on; in essence, even if you get it for free, it's not free for someone else who has provided it to you. But, that's not the point...I digress.

Every year (for at least the past 2 years that I know of, maybe more before I came) a group of Lion's Club members and some of their friends and/or colleagues come en masse from Canada (in collaboration with the Lion's Club members of Guyana) to a part of Guyana (for security and safety reasons, this location information is confidential) and proceed to set up and provide free eye exams, free reading and/or prescription spectacles, free diabetes and blood pressure (and more) check-ups, and overall a free chance to see without any strings attached. The first time I had the honor of engaging in this week-long activity was in November of 2009. I'll admit I was a little hesitant to spend a week with a bunch of Canadian doctors that I did not know, but the second I was introduced to one I knew in an instant that these extraordinary people were more than just doctors.

The more I got to know and work with these group of angels, the more I realized that they were doing what I was trying to accomplish in two years in just one week. I admired and was in awe of these incredible people. The second time they came, February of 2010, I did not get the chance to work alongside them but rather reached up with them following their clinic. We had still kept in contact and seeing them again made me confirm that our friendship was unique and heartfelt. This year, they came again, with more people in their team than ever before. Although I couldn't have worked with them the entire week they came, working with them for even a couple of days was satisfying for me. But the best part of working with them, besides the selfish reasons of spending time with good friends, is seeing the impact they make on so many lives in that one week.

This time around, their clinic was able to improve 1300+ lives and their ability to see. This is no small task my friends, as all members worked from early morning hours till late afternoon not to mention the short lunch breaks they took. Alongside them, the Lion's members from Guyana helped making communications, logistics, companionship, and more, possible for this group of hard working individuals. In the end, even after they go, people will be talking about the "white doctors" that came and helped them see again; the friendly faces and moments of genuine TLC they received will imprint on all the persons involved with these projects.

For me to have even gotten the opportunity to assist and spend time amongst these people is a privilege for me. The friends I get to keep, the memories, and the experience all add up to one greater purpose...making a difference.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Randomness

Stealing this phrase from a picture Mica found in her area, I have to tell all my friends and family just how random a day in the life of a PCV can be. Take yesterday... it would take forever to explain stories, so please just bear with me.

Morning time randomness: up at 5:30, cooking and gaffing with a Guyanese cousin; killing a cockroach; sweeping; news; visiting a Guyanese person and collecting clothes for another Guyanese person; traveling in two different cars to get to one place and then a bus to get to a second place; carrying bags like a homeless person across town; checking email; making phone calls for free; arriving at a friend's house. ALL before 11 am.

Afternoon time: making lunch for three; cleaning a kitchen; going through a PCVs clothes to see what I can take; packing up same PCV to go home; listening to music; dance party; walking to the gas station to buy a coke and chips; seeing a postman friend and his family; pretending to be real live froggers dodging the traffic; being bitten by a dog; washing feet at a pipe; looking for a dead mouse.

Evening time: (I'd say starting around 6:00) cooking dinner for three; improvising; watching America's Got Talent; hearing about a tramp in overalls that needs a haircut (Otis Redding anyone?); more packing and sorting; finding a blues DVD and attempting to watch while laughing through tears; gagging; slapping mosquitoes; watching Indian Soaps; bed.

Random days, random thoughts, random life. Love this PC experience!