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.