Hi from Berbice!! We’ve passed the half way point on Initiative and time is flying by. Teaching has become second nature at this point and the students are becoming more familiar with us, and us with them.
This week we taught students lessons on anxiety disorders, depressive disorders, suicide, and how to help a suicidal friend or ourselves. These lessons were difficult to teach, but very necessary for the students to learn about because Guyana has the highest suicide rate in the world, and a lack of mental health and suicide prevention resources. We think that the lessons have been effective, as we have received many difficult questions from students in our Question Box about mental illness and suicide. The teachers and students seem to be appreciative of our lessons, and we are trying to organize parent-teacher meetings and community outreach events to spread knowledge on these topics further into the communities.
Outside of the classroom, we have gotten to better know our friends and the community in which we are staying. This weekend, we had the opportunity to visit our friend’s farm where he grows cabbages and sweet peppers. We spent the day there and talked about life in Guyana with our friends. It was nice to get a better understanding of the culture, and specifically the youth culture in Berbice. We learned many things that we can now incorporate into our upcoming lessons. We were also invited to participate in a service at the local Mandir, which was an incredible experience. We are so fortunate to be so welcomed into this community and we are grateful for the friendships and connections we have made.
We also spent a lot of time this weekend lesson planning for the coming weeks. Hannah and Caitlin are excited to be organizing an after school event at one of the schools, where they will speak to and engage with parents and students in activities about mental health and resources for mental illness and suicide prevention. They are looking forward to finalizing the details and getting the ball rolling. We hope to be able to expand this to other schools before our time here is done.
As for the team, Caitlin would like to reassure everyone that she is showering and that there is no need to worry. Isabelle is improving on her euchre skills and Hannah is no longer scared of the monsters under her bed. Logan has made sure our friends in Georgetown keep us updated on the Toronto Raptors’ progress in the NBA playoffs and we are incredibly excited that they have made it to the finals! While the bug bites are not fun, they have not stopped us all from working out almost every day. No pain, no gain! As always, we look forward to the challenges and the fun of the upcoming days and we’ll catch you next week!