Essequibo Adventures & A Press Release !

Hey All!

Leslie here. We have been really busy the past week and a half and that is the reason for our lack of blogs! But we promise to start blogging more often to ensure that everyone back at home is up to date with our work.

This past weekend Ms. Toney took us to Essequibo for 2 days. As mentioned previously, she is the Youth Director for all of Guyana and thus has to travel to a variety of regions (not just Georgetown) to ensure the proper functioning of her programs. She decided to make this both an educational and work weekend for us as well. We took what may have been the scariest boat ride for some of us, others were enjoying the waves and turns. Essequibo is only boat accessible and the dock is about an hour away from Georgetown. The boat ride was only about 40 minutes but the boat itself was a rickety wooden motor boat. It was very exciting for us and Beth and I quickly decided that the front row was the best seats for action!

Beth, Myself and Sydney on the very bumpy but fun boat ride to Essequibo!
The Georgetown Team enjoying the Black Lake before Sunset.

 Upon arriving in Essequibo we were greeted by Alex, Ms. Toney’s Youth Director for the town and our “tour guide” for the remainder of our adventures. As we usually get Sundays as our only day off during the week, this weekend we had our day off on Saturday and worked Sunday. Saturday we toured the town, had lunch, and then went to Mainstay Resort where we could swim in a black water lake and hang out on the white sand beach. Everyone was very relaxed and happy, including Ms. Toney.

The small boat that took 10 of us to Capoey Lake, a beautiful boat ride.

On Sunday, we went straight to work at 7am. Alex took us on another boat ride to a community in Capoey Lake where they are completely isolated apart from boat access. Children of the community take these similar boats to and from school everyday and that is how everyone travels here. We quickly learnt that the boats go rain or shine, as on our ride back we were being splashed both from the lake and the sky.

The community has no electricity and works off of very few solar panels that were donated from the government. We walked around the community enjoying the natural beauty and meeting the local children. As well, we were able to visit some of their Community Centres and see how their Youth Programs work. The local villagers were so kind and allowed us to taste many of their locally grown fruits, including a coconut! It was the first time any of us had drank coconut water straight from the coconut and it was a delicious treat on such a hot day.

Fresh Coconuts, a courtesy given to us from the Amerindian Villagers.

 Once we were finished at Capoey Lake we went to “Sunday Funday” in town. This is a day organized by Youth workers for children to come and compete in traditional Guyanese games. Somehow, Beth and Sydney got recruited to a Cricket team as well as a Circle Tennis team (a new game, that none of us thoroughly understand quite yet). It was really fun to see
youth from the whole community come together and hang out on this beautiful Sunday afternoon. Of course, it was accompanied by our favourite form of music here: steel drums. Kids from a local school performed for an hour and they served as the back drop of music for the festivities during the day. Once we finished with “Sunday Funday” we headed back home to Georgetown on another interesting boat ride. The weekend exhausted us, gave us many new mosquito bites and provided us with new valuable information about Amerindian communities. It was nice to experience other parts of the country and see how what the youth are like in various regions. Definitely and educational and memorable weekend!

Sydney and Beth playing (or rather, learning) how to play cricket at Sunday Funday.

We were lucky enough this year that Scotiabank Guyana decided to sponsor us and donate to our project. Jenny, our correspondent at the bank, was thrilled to have us here and learn about our curriculum. She is in the process of setting up a press release all about us, the history of QHO and QHO in Guyana, as well as our work here in Georgetown and Berbice. On Wednesday, she came to Sydney and I’s Form 2 class at Chase where she spoke on behalf of Scotiabank. She was also generous enough to drop off some piggy banks that we were able to use as prizes to the students who answered correct questions, this proved to be an awesome incentive for class participation! The students were really engaged in our STI/HIV/Healthy Relationship lesson and were excited to have their picture taken for Scotiabank! We are so grateful to Jenny and Scotiabank’s donation, every little bit of help counts to bring us back here every year and keep us a sustainable organization!

Sydney and myself teaching STI and HIV awareness on Scotiabank Day at Chase!

This teaching week we started implementing our Mental Health lessons. There proves to be a lack of knowledge on this topic here in Georgetown so we are all very excited to have discussions with the kids and educate them on these very important and relevant topics.

Until our next post,

Cheers from the Georgetown Team; Leslie, Sydney, Arash and Beth.

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