With the ringing in of the new year, I’ve been reflecting on 2017. I’ve been in Guyana for 1 year almost exactly, and I have so many people to thank for that accomplishment. I was home for Christmas which gave me some helpful perspective on my life here. By and large I’m really happy here, and I’ve been taking January to really soak in the joys of living here and the quintessential wonders of Guyana. Today I want to thank a few of the many people that make my life here both possible and truly amazing!
I first have to start with all the other Peace Corps Volunteers serving with me. We have a really unique bond that is so important to me. There’s something about moving to a new country and embarking on a life changing adventure that forever bonds a group. I experience things here that are impossible to explain to friends at home, but my American background means that I comprehend those experiences differently than Guyanese. Other volunteers are some of the few people who can relate to my struggles and successes, and I’m so thankful for all the times they’ve been on the other end of a phone call or a much needed hug. They’ve become my family. I’ve created some of the deepest, most honest, and most cherished friendships I can ever hope to hold. I spend so much time thinking about how my community sees me and being careful to represent the US well, so when I get to hang out with another volunteer all of the normal pleasantries fall and I’m just who I am without reservations. I wouldn’t be here without their conversations, hugs, hilarious stories, support, and love. Thanks PCG!!My cohort Guy30!
I also wouldn’t be here without all the incredible staff we have working in Georgetown and DC. We have a whole army of people to make sure that I can be effective at my site. I have a doctor or nurse on call 24/7 in case I get sick, I literally trust my life to our safety and security officer, our admin team takes care of all the financial craziness to make sure I get my living allowance on time every month, and we have a huge programming team working to make sure I have the resources and knowledge to actually do my job in the field. Though volunteers and staff don’t always see eye to eye, I don’t think they often get thanked for their hard work and I’d like to take a moment to do that. A trip to the office always includes a good laugh, a few hugs, and encouragement–and that I’m always thankful for!Volunteers and staff at our field day last week
I maybe would have starved to death without my host families… For that alone they’re deserving of the biggest thanks! It’s uncommon for volunteers here to live with host families for the full two years, but I just can’t imagine my life without them! I was blessed to live with Auntie Meno during my 10 weeks of training and I try to visit her on Saturdays still. She always has a smile on her face, a place of delicious food for me, a big hug, and so much love. I so treasure her! The family I live with now makes sure I never feel lonely in our lively home, they’re always willing to give advice about a project or issue, they sing Bob Marley with me as I play ukulele, they feed me (and my cat!), they cheer for my success, they take my clothes off the line before it rains, they’ve taught me how to fit in, they’ve explained Guyanese culture in the height of my confusion, and so much more. They’re no longer my host family. They’re my family. I couldn’t ever thank them enough for that.Auntie Meno, Sabiena, and I at the host family appreciation event
Dartmouth Village is deserving of a huge shout out! When I came back from vacation it was so wonderful to have people come up and ask how I was doing because they hadn’t seen me around for a while. I love the steady stream of ‘Good Mornin’ I hear on my walk to work, and the little conversations I have with people during the day. In sum, people are really nice to me–especially my counterparts. The health center staff welcomed me from the first day, and the teachers I work will have been supportive of all my projects. I enjoy the work I do here, but the relationships I’ve built with the people I work with are what I really treasure. Thanks to all of them for not making Dartmouth my ‘site’, but my home.Ms. Cindy is the amazing teacher I work with in grade 7My counterpart Nurse Lashana and her family at Ezron’s 5th birthday party
Are you feeling left out Mom? Well here’s some gratitude for you–and the rest of the family! I’m so lucky to live in an are with good reception and because of that I’m able to call home most days. When leaving home I was most anxious about being disconnected from the people that are most important to me, so thankfully that hasn’t been an issue! I love that I can catch one of my parents on the phone when I’m having a hard day or call my sister when I need some teaching advice. The little ‘Love you’ texts from my brother always brighten my day, and a rare facetime with the whole family is a highlight of my week. I don’t think I could have lived here for a year if my family had told me to come home every time I called. It means so much to me that they’ve encouraged me to embark on this journey even though it means they don’t get to see me. I am who I am because of them and I can’t wait for them to see this incredible place I now call home. Love you all!Celebrating family and good food while I was home
All of the people who went out of their way to see me while I was home get an extra special thanks! It was so uplifting to see the friends I’ve been missing here and hearing about all the adventures you’ve been on the past year! I’m also really thankful to everyone reading this blog! I love sharing bits of my Guyanese life and think it’s more important now than ever to learn about different places and the things people there are doing. I’ve learned so much here and hope to pass on some of the best lessons! Thanks for joining me in this journey!Rachelle and I getting ready for the Polar Plunge! I’m sorry I don’t have more pictures of all the friends I caught up with-I guess we were too busy having fun!
And finally, to all tax paying Americans… Most Guyanese don’t quite understand how Peace Corps is funded and neither do many Americans. But I’m here to thank every tax paying American for funding my life here! It’s easy to get caught up in ALL the things your tax dollars do, but a very very small bit of that goes to funding my life here. I obviously think the work we’re doing in Guyana is really important (it’s why I’m still here) which is why I think it’s important to thank you and keep you posted about the cool ways your dollars are changing the world! The current administration is cutting a lot of foreign aid and Peace Corps budget specifically, and many Americans don’t even know what the Peace Corps does anymore. I think the more we share about volunteers experiences the bigger their impact becomes and the more relevant the organization grows to be. Thanks for your interest in my Peace Corps journey, and I encourage you to visit https://www.peacecorps.gov/returned-volunteers/awards/blog-it-home/ for more blogs written around the world!