Georgetown, our new home!

Hey there,
        Joe checking in here from Georgetown, Guyana. We left Pearson Int’l Airport last night at about 11:00 and arrived at Cheddi Jagan Airport this morning at 7:40. There is no time change between Georgetown and Toronto, so we were in the air for about 7 hours total with a bit less than a 2 hour lay over in Port of Spain. We all met really friendly fellow passengers during the flight, one of which gave Beth and I some rare breed of banana called apple bananas or silk figs. We walked out of the airplane onto the tarmac into a balmy 29 degrees celsius morning, and immediately you could feel the humidity in the air. My fingers were sticking together and it was almost like you could drink the water out of the air. We stood for a minute on the tarmac and tried to soak in our surroundings as it struck us all that our 8 months of preparation had finally come to an end and we had arrived in Guyana! Pretty phenomenal feeling.

Taxi ride to Georgetown

        Jamie and Kelly met us once we had navigated through the small airport customs and picked up our baggage. Luckily everything was intact and untampered with. With the help of a friendly cab driver Jamie and Kelly negotiated a mini bus taxi to drive us the hour back to downtown Georgetown and we all enjoyed the drive back as we got our first introduction to the sites around Georgetown. The habit of honking at every car on the road by every car definitely seemed to be a little unfamiliar for most of us newly arrived peer educators. We arrived at Rima Guesthouse by around 9 this morning and could already feel the day heating up. I must say the heat is something that despite being warned sufficiently by our Project Directors, none of us were really ready for just how hot it is and today has actually been quite a mild day. Anyway, we spent the rest of the day walking around and exploring with the group, taking out money at the Scotia Bank and resting from our travels. After a nap in the early afternoon, we grabbed some lunch around the corner at Jerrie’s restaurant and got to experience some of the local cuisine. I ate a dish called Channa, which is a spicy chickpea dish and an eggball, which is a hard boiled egg cooked in a layer of cassava. Some of the others had either jerked chicken or baked chicken and “cook up”, which is essentially rice cooked with beans and some vegetables, seasoned and all mixed together. All in all, it was a delicious meal and I think we all enjoyed it thoroughly, though some of our stomachs may take some time adjusting to the spicy food.
      After a couple of meetings to go over some of the logistical details of keeping track of everything while we are on project, we went over some teaching details and are now preparing to go for dinner at another restaurant in town. After dinner we may head down to the “sea wall”, which is a popular hangout on Sunday evenings. Today has been a great first day and while we are all definitely still adjusting, I can say that I am so excited to get started on teaching and getting out to see more of the country. The Georgetown team is hitting the ground running and are teaching tomorrow afternoon. Alyssa and I are heading to New Amsterdam on Wednesday morning and are looking forward to getting settled in at our new home there. From the sounds of Jamie’s meeting with our partner social worker Omeshwar there is a ton of stuff for us to do and we are gonna be super busy, which is incredibly exciting! Well it is time to get ready for dinner so until next time, cheers from the Guyana team.

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