Goodbye from Berbice 2015

What a wild week it has been to cap off the Berbice 2015 initiative! The Berbice crew said their final goodbyes to the Letter Kenny community yesterday morning before heading to Georgetown to prepare for their flights out of Guyana. Throughout the past week the Berbice PE’s bid farewell to students, teachers, and all the wonderful people they have had the opportunity to meet and develop relationships with.

As the Berbice PE’s finished up teaching in schools, they were busy establishing a new tradition of preparing school-specific reports detailing the work done in each school this year. Through compiling lessons outlines for all their classes and a letter to the Headmasters, the PE’s hope to develop institutional memory for the schools and QHO. Hopefully these reports assist in creating a seamless start to the 2016 initiative and add to the sustainability of QHO in Berbice.

Wednesday marked the final day of teaching for Jamie and Ben, while Erin and Vinyas finished in classrooms Thursday afternoon. Although our time in many classrooms was closing on Wednesday, Jamie and Vinyas had the opportunity to teach at Mibikuri Primary School in Blackbush for the first time! They were able to teach a morning session on Peer Pressure and Substance Abuse to a wonderful class of enthusiastic grade 6’s!

Time spent in every classroom has been such a pleasure. The PE’s were fortunate enough to be welcomed by many students and teachers with open arms, and to be able to be a part of such vibrant schools. We will miss all the students so much; they brought such enthusiasm, energy, and of course interesting questions into the classrooms.

When done teaching for the year, the PE’s organized a goodbye celebration for the youth in the Letter Kenny community. Although there is no way to repay the kindness the PE’s have been shown by the community, they hoped to attempt to show their gratitude through providing an opportunity for the children to relax and have fun playing games and socializing. For party snacks, Jamie whipped up some googala, a dish learned in Guyana that is small fried balls of banana bread. One of the community members with whom the PE’s had the chance to grow quite close had taught them to make this dish (among others), so it was only fitting to try it out to show their gratitude.

Erin, Jamie, Vinyas, and Ben all taught classes at Lower Corentyne Secondary School, and on Thursday the Headmaster arranged a thank-you celebration from the teachers to all of them. They were imparted with words of kindness and gratitude, and even got to hear a song dedicated to their time at the school, sung by the Headmaster himself! In addition, Erin and Ben returned to Number 59 Primary on Thursday for an additional thank you from the teachers and students, and got to spend some additional time with the students. All four of the PE’s are grateful for the kind thanks received from many students and teachers across the schools in which they taught.

The PE’s would like to take this opportunity to extend their own heartfelt gratitude to all who have helped them with this initiative. Without the donations of time and money from friends, family members, and other community members, the PEs would never have been able to run the QHO Berbice program. They hope that following this blog has helped those people share in the experience and recognize the role they have played in reaching out to so many students.

They have already heard from many students, teachers, and Headmasters that QHO’s unique teaching style and relevant teaching subjects will be welcomed gladly into schools again next year. In addition, some teachers and Headmasters are taking it upon themselves to implement some of the QHO curriculum into their regular curriculum. This is wonderful for the PE’s to see, as it reinforces the goal of QHO as a sustainable organization that works to develop school communities to implement additional health curriculum where needed and relevant.

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