Back At It -- Term 2

Trip Start Aug 01, 2006
Trip End Jul 14, 2007

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Flag of Guyana  ,
Monday, January 22, 2007

     I've been back in South America for 3 weeks now after a wonderful and relaxing visit to home over Christmas. It's definitely great to be back in Guyana, although the first day or so was pretty rough, and I was wondering if Guyana had always been like this, or if I had just forgotten a lot in the 3 short weeks I was home. I think I've come to the conclusion that it's always like this, it just takes a little while to adjust. And it's amazing how quickly we can adjust back into our old ways. Here are some of the interesting things that happened while traveling and on my first couple days back:
     First off, I was very lucky to have a wonderful traveling partner, Namisi, who is another WorldTeach volunteer in my region, and is from Buffalo, NY. We met up at JFK to catch the flight back to Guyana, which is about 6 hours. The minute we stepped out of the baggage claim at the Timehri Airport we were bombarded with screaming taxi drivers who were practically trying to shove us into their cars. So Namisi and I gave each other the..."oh gosh, we're definitely back in Guyana look..." and try to make a beeline to the other end of the walkway. As we reached closer to the road, I decided to stop and talk with one of the taxi guys, since we had to take one of them, but I didn't want to get ripped off by somebody who thought I was a foreigner who doesn't know the real prices. Then, as I'm talking with this driver, another guy screams, "Jaime! Jaime my friend! Ride with me -- you remember me?! I know go exercisin' all dem days on de highway! I seen you nuff times...come now!" So that was pretty funny because I had no idea who that guy was. So we ended up going with the first guy, who was definitely less creepy.
     Later on that day (I got to my place around 9:30am), I had to go into Georgetown to run some errands. I had definitely forgotten how intense and abrasive it is there -- I kept thinking, "Why is everybody shouting everything?!" I did my stuff and met up with some friends for a while, then caught a minibus home around 8. On the way, the driver was speeding like a maniac as usual, and all of a sudden we hear a loud, "WHACK!" on the front side of the bus and the passenger side window cracks. Apparently the driver hit what he thought was a cow walking on the side of the road. He was furious, and cursing up a storm. He turned the bus around, screaming that he was going to take the cow home and sell it off in order to pay for the damages to his bus. Everyone in the minibus was like, "You crazy?! Whatchu gonna do, put the cow in the bus back here with all of us!?" So everybody is shouting now, and when we reach the place where he hit the thing, we see that it was a horse, not a cow, and it's just standing there on the side of the road with two other horses. I guess that was no good for the driver, because then we turned around again and just went on our way.

     In terms of school, so far my classes are going really well. Right now I'm teaching my 8th graders about matter, elements, atoms, compounds, etc., and my 9th graders about Energy, fuels, and alternative sources of energy. I'm also currently trying to organize materials for science projects and the national science fair, so that's keeping me really busy. I'm also doing some lessons on careers/jobs in science, so that my students might have a better idea of what they can really do after secondary school. I think some of them have no idea what the options are, and I think that if they have a goal in mind, they could definitely start making more progress immediately. 

     And here are some more random interactions I've had recently, which I thought were pretty funny:
1)  One of my 9th grade girls talking with me during break:
Student: "Miss, I love your headband!"
Me: "Thanks!"
Student: "Miss, you're like a real white woman now"
Me: "Ha, what? What does that mean? What was I before?"
Student: "Me no! (creolese for 'i don't know')'re just realer now"
2)  As I'm walking to class, 8th grade boy shouts out:  "MISS! (head-nod) Lookin' whiter dan eva today!"
3)  This was one of the cutest things ever -- One of my 8th grade students was talking with me:
Student: "Miss! What do you do in America?"
Me: "Um, what do you mean?"
Student: "Like, what do you do?"
Me: "You mean what is my job?"
Student: "Yes miss"
Me: "Well, I want to be a teacher there too"
Student: "Ok miss. Miss, a science teacher?"
Me: "Yes"
Student: "Wow, those American students are so lucky miss, because we're gonna miss you and they're gonna have a great science teacher"

4) Last Saturday at the Oasis (the internet cafe and coffee shop I always go to) I saw the President of Guyana. He was just sitting at a table filling out paperwork. That was pretty cool.

5) The other day I was writing out notes for a future lesson, and one of my 9th graders was watching me for a while, went away for a little bit, and then came back with a piece of paper he had written on and said, "Hey miss, maybe if you write it like dis too, dem chilren will understand..."  Turns out he had so graciously written me out some notes on fuels in creolese:

"Fuel- Dem ting dat you put in machines to wuk and if it na wuk den yo have to get bac yo money"

"Type of fuel- Well it get plenty fuel man it get dem fuel dat to have to get fa get energy and it get another wan ma no o yeah do wan yo tech and put in dem machine to mak it wuk"

   ~ Transcribed word for word from my student's paper
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