Queen's Health Outreach: Guyana Initiative

Week Five - We ran out of rhymes! 

This week, we continued many discussions around depression and suicide, as well as beginning substances and healthy relationships and abuse in many classes. We believe that depression and suicide are lessons that cannot and should not be rushed, so we took extra time this week to answer questions in detail and review concepts and resources before moving on to new topics. We had a short week, due to the Independence Day holiday being celebrated on Monday and are excited to have our first (fingers crossed) full week of teaching coming up for Week Six.

Since Monday was a holiday, we only had one practice with our Everest Cricket Team this week, where we participated in many strength and agility drills and then chatted with the boys on the importance of leadership, both within sport and within our communities. We identified who were role models in our lives and why, as well as devising a list of qualities that make a good leader on and off the cricket field. We played many team building games, like the Human Knot, which tested the boys team work while also having many laughs. Since it’s rainy season in Guyana, they haven’t had many opportunities to play, but we hope to catch a game and cheer them on before we leave in a few weeks!

We have also made good friends with another student staying at Rima’s Guest House named Louisa who is here from North Carolina working on her thesis with the Guyana Responsible Parenthood Association. She and her supervisor, Dr. Peters, invited us to a Pride Symposium on Thursday, hosted by the Guyana Rainbow Foundation and a new, youth-based LGBTQ+ organization called Equal Guyana. We learned about the experiences of members of the LGBTQ+ community in Guyana and the resources and programs available to forward to our students. We really enjoyed attending the Symposium and are looking forward to celebrating more Pride events with our community friends in the upcoming weeks.

Every Thursday, as previously mentioned, we do mini versions of our lessons on NTN Television – a national Guyanese news station, hosted by our good friend Reyaz. This Thursday, however, was a special broadcast, as it was the first of the Raptors seven game series with the Golden State Warriors. Reyaz, being a Golden State supporter, began politely chirping us on TV, which prompted almost each of us to end our segment with “Go Raps Go!”. This support for the Raptors has been immortalized on a Facebook livestream and resulted in a big win for Toronto. Logan is a massive Raptors fan and since the Berbice team does not have WiFi, we update the team via text through the game and on the results.

On Friday, we celebrated another cultural day with our students at Enterprise Primary School, where students all dressed in traditional clothing from their heritage. We learned about the 6 ethnicities in Guyana from the students and the traditions each has. After our lesson, we hurried back to the Guest House to pack for an exciting road trip to visit Berbice and the team out there.

Approximately 2.5 hours and a beautiful sunset had passed before we arrived in Berbice. To put an image to the stories we had been told, both this year and last, was very exciting for each of us. We got to see the bar which the Berbice team lives above, hear the infamous cockadoodledoo from Winston, the rooster next door, and the oxymoronic noise of a rural community. Omesh, a community partner with the Berbice team, dropped off homemade pumpkin and roti for dinner on Friday night which was absolutely delicious! We caught up with the team, swapped stories and shared many laughs that evening.

Since the Berbice team wakes up at the crack of dawn to both the sounds and the sunlight, all 8 of us embarked on a 6:30am run on Saturday around the community. We ate oats, as per usual, applied copious amounts of sunscreen and headed to the beach with many community friends. We spent the day at the beach playing cricket, spike ball, and playing in the ocean! Afterwards, we went back to the apartment to chill and get ready for dinner. Logan is an incredible chef, and with Caitlin’s help made the yummiest black bean burgers for dinner! After dinner, the team surprised Logan, Avery and Hannah with a convocation! Since the three of them are missing their Queen’s University graduations while they are on initiative, the team took it upon themselves to host one, complete with graduation caps, fake roses and diplomas!

This morning, we went to a Mandir and participated in a traditional Hindu ceremony with Berbice’s community friends. It was a great experience that we all enjoyed and took a lot away from. We feel very blessed to have been invited and involved as guests in a religious ceremony and lucky to have shared that as an entire team. We ate lunch with their friends at the Youth Space before packing up and heading back to Georgetown this evening.

In addition to a very exciting week behind us, we have a very exciting week ahead! We met an incredible woman at the Guest House named Olinda, who is the Vice Chairwoman of Youth, Health and Education for Essequibo. She has invited us to come and visit her home in Bartica next weekend to learn more about the region, expansion opportunities and her work in both the health and education areas.

That’s all for now! Looking forward to an amazing week and wishing all our friends and family a happy week at home!

XOXO 

The Gtown Gals

Avery, Alexa, Georgia & Sarah 

 

Whole gang's back together again!

Beach day!

Happy Graduation Ave, Han and Log!

Han & Cait on the balcony

Ave and Han in the hammock

Alexa and Kevin's new kitten!