We are officially in our final week here in Georgetown. Only one more week to finish up classes, strengthen already made connections, create new connections for work next year and find updated resources for our students. We plan on being very busy this next couple of days doing more administrative QHO work since our teaching is coming to a close.
We have thoroughly enjoyed teaching, and the praise we have gotten for our skills has been more than appreciated. The hospitality and generosity of everyone here has been more than we could have ever asked for and this is definitely going to make leaving that much more difficult.
|The Guyana Project at Kaieteur Falls.|
Sunday was our only day off this week and we were lucky enough to have the opportunity to travel to Kaieteur Falls. For those of you who don’t know, Kaieteur Falls is the largest single drop waterfall in the world (approx. 4x the size of Niagra Falls). It was a beautiful site, breathtaking and seemingly indescribable. Words can’t do this place justice and neither can the photos.
That evening Ms. Toney invited us to a Sweet 16 Party. Sweet 16 parties in Guyana are very different from those in Canada. Everyone is semi-formal and there is tons of food and drinks for all guests to enjoy. The party was held at one of the Community Centres we frequent, and it was fun to see the transformation from centre to party room!
|Leslie and Sydney’s Dangers of Smoking Lesson!|
On Monday morning we taught a Substance Abuse lesson to the children of Valmiki Vidyalaya, a school which is about a 30 minute drive from Georgetown in a town called Lusignan. We are always thrilled to start our week off here and we had a really receptive lesson with the students about the dangers of drugs, alcohol and smoking.
Tuesday, Beth and Leslie ended two classes. The first was a Grade 7 and 8 class at Valmiki Vidyalaya in Georgetown. We taught our Mental Health lesson and then gave out certificates to the students. We were touched when the Headmaster gave us a heartwarming speech thanking us for our presence and reinforcing how important the work we are doing here is. We had students give us individual thank you speeches as well and present us with a lovely token of their appreciation – a beautiful piece of artwork for each of us. We also solidified our newly-strong connection with the school and we are so excited for the new team to start working there as soon as they arrive in Georgetown next year. Lucky for us, we have a huge opportunity to expand the project there as the school is expanding next year, so we will be able to reach that many more students.
|The Grade 7 and 8’s of Valmiki Vidyalaya with their QHO graduation certificates.|
|Leslie and Beth with our Form 1 Graduates at Chase Academy.|
After finishing up there, Beth and Leslie headed to Chase’s Academy to finish up with the Form 1’s. They were also very sad to see us leave and gave us a lovely thank you speech as well. We concluded our curriculum with a lesson on Mental Health and then gave them their certificate to commemorate their hard work throughout our 7 weeks with them. Arash and Sydney taught Substances to Reyaz Business Institute (RBI), which is comprised of about 120 students (they teach all Form’s at one time). The headmaster there, Mr. Husein, extended an invitation to us as Peer Educators to appear on his television show, which airs in the mornings, in order to discuss our work in Georgetown and the foundations of our organization. It is very exciting that we are getting so much media coverage, and hopefully will encourage other schools and organizations to want to work with QHO in future years!
Tuesday evening Ms. Toney had another surprise for us. She took us to the West Ruimveldt Community Centre to hang out with some of the youth there. The youth participate in a variety of dance classes after school and we were given a private lesson in a traditional Afro-Guyanese Dance, one that is performed during a wedding ceremony. The dance is called Kwe-Kwe (pronouced “Kway-Kway”). We sure did learn a lot and looked a little bit silly next to the actual dancers. After, we got to hang out with them and talk about the differences and similarities between Canada and Guyana, and we even showed them some of our Canadian dance moves! It was both fun and rewarding to be able to spend an evening with youth and see what their lives and activities are like outside of school.
|Sydney participating in the traditional Afro-Guyanese dance, known as the Kwe-Kwe!|
|Leslie and Sydney’s Form 2 Graduates at Chase Academy.|
Wednesday led to Sydney and Leslie finishing another class at Chase, this time the Form 2’s. We have taught every Form at Chase so it is sad that our time there is coming to an end. That afternoon, Beth and Leslie travelled back to Lusignan and did a session with the teachers at Valmiki Vidyalaya. We were so grateful that the headmaster extended this invitation to us and we were also overwhelmed with the positive comments that emerged from the teachers regarding our organization, curriculum and our teaching skills. They were extremely happy that we were able to bring this type of education to their students as it is something that is taboo to their culture to be discussed at home. Beth and Leslie discussed for 2 hours what our curriculum consists of and how we focus on teaching younger & older children a variety of topics. We also discussed Canadian eduction and it’s similarities and differences with Guyanese education. It was educational for both parties and we are so glad to have made this connection. This is a school we most definitely will be returning to next year, and for now the faculty has a copy of both our Resource Manual and Activity Book; as they plan to implement the curriculum during the year while we are gone.
That evening at the East Ruimveldt Community Centre we played another game of Cricket and tried to encourage all of the children to come out and play. We had children of all ages engaged and it was fun to see that they could work together and have great teamwork to set up and execute an activity. We played a game of boys vs. girls and although the boys took the cake, it was a close game! This is a place we have been twice a week every week since our arrival in Georgetown, so it is inevitable that leaving there will be one of the greatest challenges we face.
This week we are excited to explore Georgetown, forge new connections, and look for new opportunities for next year! Project has been so successful this year with making it sustainable, reaching a large number of students and creating and strengthening partnerships with schools and headmasters. We are all looking forward to what lies ahead for the Guyana 2013 project.
Cheers for now,
Georgetown Team (Leslie, Beth, Arash & Sydney).