Queen's Health Outreach: Guyana Initiative

Week Six

On our second to last week in Guyana, we were able to transition into different lesson topics, such a substances and substance abuse, healthy relationships and puberty (which is always a laugh with 11-year olds). This week was filled with many fun excursions with our students and opportunities that we are so lucky to have had! Since the school year is wrapping up shortly, many schools host cultural presentations, sports days or field trips in the last few weeks. For example, on Friday, Georgia and Alexa were able to join their class at the Adult Education Association to the Guyanese Health Expo. There, many booths from various health organizations and governmental entities were sharing their latest tips and tricks about health. Georgia even won a water bottle in a trivia contest about sexual health! Way to go G! They both also visited the Ministry of Health’s Mental Health Unit and the PanAmerican Health Organizations’ booths and chatted with their representatives.

Also, on Friday, our Grade 6 class at Enterprise was participating in a sports day, where they were competing against other primary schools (even our North Georgetown Grade 6 class was there!). We spent the afternoon cheering them on and chatting with them outside the classroom setting. After the sports day, we ran into many of our St. John students in the Promenade Gardens, who were presenting their Cultural presentations to the school. Each class was assigned either one of the 6 dominant ethnicities in Guyana (for Form 1 (Grade 7)), or one of the Caribbean countries (Forms 2-4 (Grades 8-10)). We watched our students present cultural dress, dance, food and history on their assigned groups and receive marks for accuracy, presentation style and teamwork. It was awesome to see our classes work together to celebrate their own cultures and that of the surrounding community.

That evening, we were joined for dinner by one of our favourite teachers and biggest supporters, Shondelle Browne-Rose. She is a teacher at St. John Secondary and has been instrumental in the success initiative within the Georgetown community. Spending the evening with her meant the world to us and was a great way to say goodbye to our St. John’s community before the students begin exams in the upcoming week.

On Saturday morning, we woke up bright and early to catch a ferry from Parika to Bartica. Last week, we were introduced to Olinda Griffiths, the Vice Chair of Health, Education and Youth for the Region 3, Essequibo. Olinda lives in Bartica and invited us to come and visit her and her family in the region to learn more about her role and career in education and health, the needs of the communities in the region and expansion opportunities for QHO. We were joined on our journey by Louisa, our friend from the guest house doing her thesis on the GRPA (if you recall from our last blog post!). The ferry across the river took about 5 hours, but we made sure to bring our journals, books, and plenty of snacks! We met Olinda at the ferry terminal in Bartica and proceeded to have the most incredible day. She showed us a beautiful quarry with a waterfall, two secondary schools in the area and their dormitories for boarding students, a park and the town’s main streets. We then went back to her farm and had dinner.

This morning, we woke up quite early to catch the sunrise over the Essequibo River. We did get caught in the rain but enjoyed every moment of the beauty and stillness of the river. Caesar, Olinda’s husband, told us many stories of his career as an underwater gold miner, and about the richness of gold in the Essequibo region. He then took us on a walk through their 10-acre property to show us their many fruit and nut trees, where the toucans and monkeys live and where he has spotted Jaguarondi!

Going into our last week of teaching, we are sad to be saying goodbye to the many students, teachers and community members we’ve been working with over the last 7 weeks. We look forward to making our last lessons fun and meaningful for the students and hoping they have learned as much from us as we have from them.

For the second to last time, sending all our friends and family back home love from Guyana and… GO RAPS GO! (had to do it for Logan)

Always yours, 

The GTown Gals

Avery, Alexa, Georgia and Sarah 

Dinner with Ms. Browne-Rose!

5 hour ferry views.

At the Quarry (with Louisa!)

With Olinda on the pier in Bartica!

Our beautiful Georgia enjoying the quarry.

Sarah with one of the 10 puppies!

Caught in a rainstorm while trying to watch the sunrise in Essequibo!

Nothing beats this view and these friends.

Good morning!