Meet: QHO Guyana 2016

The Guyana initiative will be underway in only a few short days, and we could not be more excited. As we all make preparations in our respective hometowns the reality is beginning to set in: we’re actually doing this. With that being said, we could not have made it here without the support from you, our amazing friends and family! Thank you a thousand times over.
Our amazing Program Directors, Jamie and Maddy, will be on their way to Guyana tomorrow (safe travels)! We could not be more thankful for the guidance they’ve given us through the year, nor more excited to see their smiling faces at the airport on Sunday.
The 8 of us Peer Educators will travel from Toronto together on Saturday evening, eventually separating into groups for Georgetown and Berbice, but not before doing a little acclimatizing together in Georgetown. We’ve spent the year learning how diverse yet cohesive of a group we are and all look forward to working and living together. Here’s a little snippet about each of us!
Calgary, Alberta native and graduate (ugh) from Health Studies, which has fostered a passion that she can’t wait to put forth in Guyana! Lexi will be living in Berbice for the course of initiative, and can’t wait to see the extravagant method Patrick devises to brew his precious coffee (“Instant coffee? Woof”). In her younger years Lexi lived overseas, where she was introduced to her greatest love of all: elephants. The obsession is still very, very real. In the days leading up to initiative, Lexi is most nervous about the likelihood of someone killing her in her sleep due to her incessant snoring habit (sorry Berbice!), and is most excited to finally meet and form relationships with all the kids.

Shayna could not be more excited to be heading off on this amazing adventure! As a recent Kinesiology graduate, Shayna has developed a strong passion for health and the human body, and is excited to utilize all that she has learned through her degree. She is looking forward to experiencing Guyana’s unique culture (and food!!), and developing meaningful relationships with the children in Georgetown. Shayna is scared of the real world she will have to face as a graduate, but can’t wait to see what’s in store for the future. After a year of preparation, learning, bonding and planning, Shayna is beyond excited to move forward in this experience with her amazing fellow peer educators.

Gracie has just finished her 3rd year studying Psychology & Sociology at Queen’s. This will be her first time leaving North America and she can’t wait to explore a country so far from home! Gracie is most nervous for sweating her pants off while her body acclimatizes to the Guyanese heat, but is looking forward to spending time at the Ruimveldt Children’s Aid Centre that the team has heard so much about!

Cora has just completed her first year at Queen’s and she has loved every minute of it. She is from a small town in Ontario (that’s literally called Tiny), which has inspired a great desire to continue travelling and exploring the world, wanting to see all that it has to offer. Cora can’t wait to immerse herself in the Guyanese culture, learning from the incredible people that the team will build unforgettable relationships with, as well as being able to share information about important health topics. Joining Queen’s Health Outreach has been one of the best decisions she’s made and she is so excited to embark on this journey to Guyana!

Becca has just finished off her third year as a life sciences student at Queen’s. She is beyond excited to bring her passion for the human body and keeping it healthy to the Georgetown community! Becca has always loved learning in every way possible and can’t wait to exchange ideas with the students of Guyana. Anxious to get there and can’t wait to implement the lessons that the team has been perfecting all year!

Andrew hails from Canada’s capital city and just completed his undergraduate degree in Life Sciences. His experience with QHO throughout the year was a steady source of comfort and refreshingly different learning throughout his last year and all the hard work is now culminating as he joins his lovely teaching partners for the mutually educational initiative in Georgetown (which he thinks is the perfect send-off from the Queen’s community). An abnormally toasty individual, Andrew is wary of his adjustment to Guyana’s heat and is already bracing himself for the inevitable sweat. He is most excited to make connections with the students by finding common ground, which seems hard to identify at first, but Andrew is more than ready for that challenge!  

Born and raised in Calgary Alberta, Patrick is going into the fourth year of his Bachelors of Science majoring in Biology at Queen’s University. Being a part of QHO has been an amazing experience for Patrick and has lead him towards his love of teaching.  He is excited to start teaching with his talented Berbice, teaching partners, and is confident that it will a learning experience for all of them.  Patrick is by no means a morning person and will have to rely on the skills of his Berbice housemates to ensure he is awake on time each morning.  It is going to be a roller coaster of an experience but Patrick is confident that he and everyone in the Guyana initiative will meet the challenge and will grow from the experience.

Shannen cannot wait to embark on this Guyana adventure with such a motivated, fun and supportive group of people. It is crazy to think that what we have been working towards all year is now only days away! QHO has been an integral part of Shannen’s graduating year at Queen’s, where she studied Kinesiology and fostered a passion for health and the human body. Shannen will be teaching and living in Berbice over the course of initiative and is so excited to meet and share important health information with the students. Look for her attempting to run around the village in the sweltering heat—this will be an adjustment without a doubt. Shannen is excited and nervous all at once for the incredible challenge and reward that she believes this experience will bring and could not be happier to be a part of the journey.

So there you have it, the fantastic Guyana crew. Although we’re all feeling apprehensive and excited about different things, I think we can say one thing is true… We all can’t wait to try pumpkin curry. Catch ya on the flip side!

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