Greetings from Letter Kenny!
This is our third day here in the Berbice area! Berbice is the area surrounding and including New Amsterdam, and the new name of our project. It was renamed to Berbice because most of our teaching will be outside the city, including the small town of Letter Kenny where our house is. It has been a very busy couple of days! We arrived in New Amsterdam at around noon on Wednesday where we explored for a couple of hours before getting a car to our house in Letter Kenny. After settling in to our house, we met Omeshwar, our contact at the Ministry of Culture Youth and Sport. He is awesome and we are all very excited to be working together. After sort of briefing the three of us on his plans for us over the next two months we joined him at a meeting for the Administrative Board of the WHIM Police Station. Omeshwar is the newly elected Chairman for the board and it was a very interesting meeting and an honour that he invited us to attend. Unfortunately, this was our first introduction to the mosquitoes in Berbice and they seemed more than happy to indulge. Due to very high levels of rain lately there has been significant flooding in the region and as a result the mosquitoes are much worse than in the Georgetown. After the meeting, Omeshwar drove us to a Chinese restaurant that is literally across the road from our house in Letter Kenny. We took home some chow mein for dinner before settling in and planning our teaching lesson the following morning. We got to bed quite early after a day of exploring our new surroundings and what would be our home for almost the next 2 months.
We woke up early around 8 to prepare for our lesson and eat breakfast and I must say that it is definitely still taking some adjusting to sleeping under a mosquito net. It is something that I have never experienced and it takes some adjusting to as any body part that touches the screen may get bitten through the screen by the mosquitoes. At around 11:15 we had our first teaching session at a training college in New Amsterdam, where the students are all about to graduate by next week. The students were roughly between the age of 18-22 according to Omeshwar, and were about 15 females and 5 males.We taught goal setting and values and it went very well for our first lesson, although over time there will of course be many opportunities for improvement. After a quick lunch at the Stelling (the port), Omeshwar took us to the Letter Kenny Youth Friendly Space. This is somewhere we will be teaching a few times a week and it was so cool! However, the center has been flooded for about 5 days so when we arrived we helped build a makeshift bridge to get across the lake that seemed to surround the building. Yesterday was an opportunity to meet some of the kids we will be working with, and for them to get to know us. The kids were shy at first, but after a game of Captain, Admiral, Boom they started to warm up to us. We also played cricket! It was my first time, and it was really fun for the 30 seconds I got to play before Joe got me out.
Today we are going back to the Youth Friendly Space, and later on we are teaching our first lesson at the Guysuco Training College, where we will be teaching once a week. Apparently we have to teach condom negotiation and sexual health to about 100-120 young men, which is a little intimidating but its good to just jump in I guess! Anyway, our time is about to run out on our computer at the internet cafe so we will have to follow up again soon. We will also try to attach some pictures of where we are living and teaching as proof that we are actually here. Until next time, cheers!
Joe, Alyssa and Jamie