Saturday, September 23, 2006

Choose Your Own Guyanese Adventure

From now on I think I'll keep up the two posts at a time. So unless otherwise specified, please scroll down when you’re done reading the first post to enjoy some more Guyanese fun.
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I’ve been writing so much about my adventures here in Guyana that I felt like it’s time the readers gave some input. So, I’ve decided to let you guys choose your own adventure. Fun! Now select wisely and you’re on your way to your very own Guyanese adventure.

It’s 5:30 am and the sun has started peeking over the horizon. You are awakened by the sound of:
a) The neighbor’s dogs barking and the roosters crowing.
b) The offensive blaring sound of Indian music exploding from your neighbor 4 houses away, but actually sounds like they set up the stereo system on your pillow.
c) Your alarm clock.

You decide to go for a run this morning on your usual path. You run a short distance down the East Bank Highway and turn off into a dirt road thick with tall bushes. Your head is clear and you’re at peace for a moment as you admire the beauty of the country. All of a sudden you get a quick burst of energy and start running faster because:
a) A pack of 5 dogs from the house you run by regularly can’t seem to remember that you’re not an intruder and chase you down barking and biting at your heels.
b) You are trying to escape a group of men making sucking noises and lewd comments.
c) The motivating beat of your favorite song starts playing on your iPod.

As usual, you walk to school with your umbrella shielding the sun rays. The entire left side of your body is darker than your right side because the sun is always on your left when walking to and from school. You look like a chocolate frosted Pop-Tart. When you arrive to school, a group of students eagerly run over to you. They:
a) Greet you with “Good morning Miss”, followed by a hug.
b) Give you snacks and fruit so you’ll have enough energy to last throughout the day.
c) Turn in their homework.

The bell rings at 8:45. School was supposed to start at 8:30. The students slowly trickle into class around 8:50, stand up, say their prayers, then wait for the teachers to walk into their “classrooms.” In your first class, you couldn’t teach the students because:
a) There are four noisy classes in one room, so none of the students could hear what you were saying even though you were yelling.
b) You had to break up multiple fights in multiple classes since the other teachers didn’t show up and the children were left unsupervised, so there was no time left to teach.
c) It was picture day for the school year book.

It’s lunch time and you’re starving! You have an hour and you spend it:
a) Eating lunch in the library while disciplining a student.
b) Eating lunch in the classroom while disciplining a student.
c) Eating lunch in the staff room while discussing different effective disciplining techniques.

In your afternoon class you give the students a quiz. You collect the papers and begin reading some of the responses. There’s a paper that catches your eye because:
a) The student is illiterate and wrote: “I frind sipenti minv entoents I frind sipenti minv entoents”
b) The student was not paying attention and wrote: “Miss bon’t teech me this. I bo not no ansr.”
c) The student wrote in purple pen when they’re supposed to write in blue or black and made lots of drawings on the border.

School’s over. You walk home with a few school children. They’re somewhat charming only when they want to be. Actually it’s only the ones that walk with you that are charming. One of them invites herself over to your apartment on Friday, which creates a domino effect of all the students wanting to visit. You finally arrive home tired and sweaty from the heat and having to carry home a bunch of books and papers. You rest for a short while, but then decide to:
a) Lesson plan. You need to prepare for the next day so better get started.
b) Do a little bit of laundry. You have a huge pile to hand wash so better get started.
c) Open a bottle of wine. You promised a friend you would meet up at a bar later, but might as well get started.

Congratulations, you just finished your very own Guyanese adventure! But if you chose c) for any of the above, then you need to start over because you just chose yourself an American adventure.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

hey, i thought c) is always the best answer to any multiple choice questions....

thanks to your vivid descriptions, i can totally picture your life in guyana! everything's so calm and peaceful until there are students starting a fight. dont forget to put on sunscreen and try to shift your unbrella a little bit, so you'll get evenly tanned. ^_^ <3f

Anonymous said...

Oh boy!!!

Because of this post, I know you're lying about how Guyana really is.

5:30 AM? Let's get serious here... you sleep 12 hours a day... through anything and everything... maybe fresh brownies will wake you, but animals and Indians... they don't have anything on you.

Running? You don't run... maybe after an ice cream truck... or a fried pickle truck if they existed...

Finally... I have the solution to all your problems. (1) Walk backwards... that way you can tan evenly. There's no need to see where you are going. Just have someone guide you. (2) Beat your students senseless. Actually, you should do it Singapore style and administer lashings. I recommend a bullwhip. I'm sure I can find one in your old hood by the West Village... actually I'm sure I can find a handful of things there. This resolves most of your problems. Students don't hand in their homework? One lashing. Students are noisy? One lashing per noisy student (for each student) Students won't let you eat lunch because you're spending time discipling one? Have another student administer lashings while you eat. Students don't want to pay attention and learn? Two lashings for not paying attention... one lashing for being illiterate.

Of course you can kill multiple birds with one stone. Let's get serious... an education is only going to do so much for these kids. What you should do is teach them how to do laundry, how to cook and how to clean. That way you can bring your dirty clothes to school and have your students work on it. What would they be learning you might ask? A practical future in indenture servitude. Yeah!

My American adventures in aren't that far off from your Guyanese adventures... but exchange roosters with correction officers, noisy classrooms with noisy jail cells, dogs with large lonely men and a pile of other people's laundry. Oh well... look's like computer time is up, time to go back to my 6x9...

Take care... and I was kidding about the beating and the indenture servitude stuff... sort of.

Anonymous said...

Yvonne! Was just looking for an old email and found your site...was so intrigued and excited for you I couldn't stop reading....so many things are so familiar and similar to my experiences in St. Lucia - the kids walking home w/you, the lashings, the colored bows in their hair, the accents, the water, the mean dogs chasing you, the men, the hissing noises of the men, the mini-buses, and the beauty of it all! I hope you're enjoying every minute, and I plan to tune in daily from now on :-)

EE said...

Hey, we're still twins - my commute makes my left side tanner than my right side too :)

I think we avoided it in New York because the buildings block out any sunlight or fresh air.