It’s been a while since I’ve posted, but I finally have (a little) semblance of wifi so hopefully this post will actually make it out to y’all. A lot has happened over the past month – model school, wrapping up PST, and of course swearing in and moving to site!
I left off just as GUY31 was going to begin a crash course in student teaching in Guyana, or what Peace Corps calls Model School. Since the changes in the different sector framework, all three sectors (health, environment and education) would now be primarily in schools, it made sense to have some hands on training in Guyanese classrooms with real children. This is the first time PC Guyana has done Model School, and from all the comments from staff, the kids and other volunteers, I would call it a success for everyone. Each sector taught for two weeks at different schools in the area, and specific to the age group we will be teaching in the future. For health, we are teaching students ages 10-14, so we taught in a secondary school, and all our students were primarily in that age group.
Going into Model School, I was definitely feeling anxious about teaching as a whole, but Model School was a huge help and calmed my nerves. Having never taught before, and struggling with classroom management and different ways to lecture the week before, I was very nervous about how the lessons would go, would they fill in all the time, etc. Luckily my co-teacher is amazing, and we definitely complimented each other in the classroom. We also had local health teachers in the classroom observing us and giving us feedback. I left model school feeling so much more confident about teaching.
Miss Morgan and I with our students on the last day of model school!
Last Few Weeks of PST
We’re now down to the last three weeks of PST. The week back from model school, we had some more safety and medical sessions, and our Readiness to Serve interviews. We also had some down time, so a few of those days we just relaxed with friends, or hung out at Lake Capoey, making as many memories, since we would all be separated after swearing in once we get to our sites. These last few weeks were definitely hard, because PST was coming to an end, and that meant leaving my current host family (who was so wonderful) and my GUY31 family who I saw everyday to living with a new host mom and not seeing some of my friends until next year at Mid-Service Training. 1 person had already left early on in training but 4 people from the cohort also left during these last few weeks for various reasons, which was really hard to deal with and comprehend. People that have become some of my closest friends here are suddenly gone, and that was definitely hard to process, especially because they all left so close together and so close to swearing in. I will be keeping in touch with them, and hope to see them back in the States at some point! In our last weekend of PST, we also set aside time for Host Family Appreciation. I am so grateful to my training host family for taking me in, providing me with good food, company, and taking such good care of me like I was a member of their own family. As a cohort, we had an afternoon full of songs, games and thank you’s for our wonderful host fams. It was just a small token of our appreciation! The time of PST came to end, and it was time to pack up my bags and move to another host family at my new site (which was only 30 minutes away). Most people had to bring their bags with them to Georgetown (where we swore in) and then move them either by car, or plane to their new sites!
Some end of PST pics with my GUY31 Family!
As you can see, we take really good mixtape photos!
Attended a Muslim wedding the weekend before we left with some fellow PCVs!
Swearing-In as official Peace Corps Volunteers
After some last minute packing and tearful goodbyes to our training host families, we we were packed on busses, bright and early, equipped with our peace corps life jackets, on our way to Georgetown where we would swear in. The trip involved a bus to the Supenaam docks, a 30 minute, bumpy speedboat ride across the Essequibo River, and another bus from the Parika docks to Georgetown. We arrived in town, and got a tour of the Peace Corps office (which is super nice) and came to the hotel we were staying at to freshen up, eat a quick lunch, and get ready to meet our Supervisors (usually the Headmaster from the school you will be working at). We had a meet and greet with them, where we got to know each other and more about the school we’ll be working at. Our supervisors also attended the swearing in ceremony and accompanied each of us back to our sites and introduced us to our next host families. After meeting our supervisors, we had free time until the next day so we all went to Giftland Mall, where we indulged in the fast food (burgers, pizza, etc) that we hadn’t seen in 2 months! I did some shopping and went back to hotel and hung out and gaffed with everyone, as this was our last night together!
Finally, the day we’ve all been waiting for, the Swearing In Ceremony was here! The ceremony was being held at the US Ambassador to Guyana’s home (which was beautiful to say the least) and along with the terrential downpour that was happening, we had to get through security and get seated (quite a morning!) During the ceremony, which was also attended by the First Lady of Guyana, Sandra Granger, there was speeches from Ministry officials, the Peace Corps Acting Country Director, and one of our very own GUY31 volunteers. We were sworn in by the Ambassador, and all received pins and certificates. There was snacks and refreshments after, before we were all hurried back on the bus because half of us were leaving back to site that afternoon! Basically those who had to fly to site, or take boats that only run certain times of day (Region 9 and Region 1) were allowed to stay an extra night while everyone else (with some exceptions) had to travel to site that afternoon. We ate a quick lunch, and had emotional goodbyes to those we wouldn’t see for a while, and headed out. Since there was a bunch of us going back to region 2, our supervisors had arranged a bus to take us to the docks, and we all chartered a speedboat since there was so many of us. I arrived at my new host mom’s house just in time for dinner, and began unpacking some of my things. And the start of the two years officially begins! Who knew that it would come by this fast. I am so proud to be a part of such a diverse and kind-hearted cohort of which I have no doubt will all do amazing things during their service. Let the teaching begin!
GUY31 after Swearing In!
My health people 🙂
The pin we received at swearing in.
Some views from my new site!