Things are picking up in Berbice!

Long overdue greetings from Berbice!

Alyssa with the children at the Youth Friendly Space.

       We are very excited to report that things have really started picking up here in Berbice. Jamie left us on last Monday after a weekend of Guyanese Independence celebrations. Before getting into the things that we have been up to since Jamie left I suppose we should catch up to where we left off. On Friday the 25th, we went with Omeshwar to the flag raising ceremony in New Amsterdam, which was an evening of speeches and “cultural items” which included singing, poetry, drumming and a variety of entertaining acts. I personally enjoyed the address by the Regional Chairman, which was a very inspiring speech about Guyana breaking the bonds of its colonial masters and Guyanese people working together to develop their country rather than depend on hand outs from developed countries. I suppose obviously Joe is writing this but all in all it was a very interesting and eye-opening evening. Saturday afternoon after lunch we went to join Omeshwar at an Independence cricket tournament. We ended up getting to enjoy some very entertaining cricket and met some very interesting people. It was a very busy weekend full of celebrating with Omeshwar and we really felt at home and proud to be in Guyana during this time of celebration.

Doing some artwork as part of our values lesson.

      As I said, Jamie left Berbice on Sunday and we decided to accompany her to Georgetown so that she wouldn’t have to travel alone. After stocking up on some groceries that we can’t find in Berbice, we returned home with just Alyssa and myself for the first time. As we sat down to plan our lessons for the week, we really wanted to make an effort to seek out more teaching opportunities. We met with Omeshwar on Tuesday morning and went over some of our concerns, explaining that if there was more work for us we would be thrilled to do it. It was a very constructive meeting and we decided that one of the initiatives we would undertake was doing more outreach in the neighbourhoods around the Youth Friendly Space. While the Youth Friendly Space has been wonderful we agreed that we could be reaching more people in the community. So that afternoon we walked round Letter Kenny with Emanuel and some of the children from the space, going door to door explaining what we do at the space and inviting youth to come join us. This was a great step as we have seen an increase in attendance since doing the outreach. We also have plans to design a brochure to hand out to the other communities around the space advertising the services and facilities available. It has been very promising and the children are wonderful to do lessons with and play games. Our next goal is to attract older youth to the space so we can approach some of the more sensitive topics in our curriculum.

The Youth Friendly Space starting to fill up.

     Other than that, we have begun teaching everyday at a Business College next to the Berbice campus of the University of Guyana. The youth are between the ages of 12-20 years old and have been very receptive in our first two lessons with them. They are a little bit shy but are definitely beginning to open up with us more each day. We are still trying to negotiate a time to go to the Children’s Shelter in New Amsterdam but have to settle some of the details. Guysuco training college, where we teach about 120 guys between the age of 17-20 years old is still going very well and we are having a great time with them. They have been very responsive and seem to be taking a lot from our sessions with them. Other than that we will continue to try and find more opportunities to teach as well as helping Omeshwar hand out condoms and do outreach in the community.
     We have just rounded the halfway mark of our project here and things are getting very busy and exciting here. We also made a conscious decision to keep ourselves as busy as possible and have been getting up early to exercise and do chores before starting our days. As well, we have been cooking some of the most delicious meals and eating probably more healthy than either of us ever have. Stay tuned for a blog entry soon including some of the delicious meals that we have made since we have been here. We have to head back to Letter Kenny and prepare to head to the Youth Friendly Space for the afternoon so until next time, cheers from the Berbice team.

Alyssa and Joe

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