The President and Two Weeks Teaching…

We've left basil the Bat in our ceiling for now!

We’ve left basil the Bat in our ceiling for now!

Black Beetle

Brave enough to pick up this black beetle

My Classroom

My Class(room) – the blackboards divide me from the other classes

Dressed to Teach

A teacher at last.

House Front

The front of our house.

Living Room

Inside our house.

Our Stelling

Our stelling the jetty onto the river.


There will be lots of photos of sunsets!

Terry Tarantula

Terry the tarantula guarding our ceiling when we arrived.



The President and Two Weeks Teaching…

I am currently at the Ministry of Education offices using their computers to sort out University things so I thought I’d take this opportunity to update my blog. So much has happened I’m afraid it might be rather long…

We left Georgetown on the 26th August and after a minibus ride to Parika, a boat to Bartica and then another final boat to Goshen we arrived at our project. It’s such a beautiful area but very very quiet. When we arrived there wasn’t another person in sight or earshot. We were helped off the boat with all our bags, boxes, buckets and toilet roll, pointed in the direction of a house and left to it! The house is nice, better equipped than we expected and we’ve each got our own bedroom. However… we quickly discovered it was infested with cockroaches! They were enormous and everywhere. After the initial girlish screams and failure to whack them with a rogue shoe, we decided to empty almost a whole can of insecticide in the house and then just sweep them out… had this worked it would have been a good plan. Picture the scene…we arrive at our house tired and ready to unpack and settle in only to find that first we have to evict the resident roaches. Leaving all the windows and doors open, we inefficiently spray FISH spray all around the house. Only then does it occur to us that that might make them all come running (and flying!) out of their hiding places and towards us. At this point we dropped everything and followed them running/screaming out the door. Not quite the demure, sophisticated arrival we hoped for but there was no one around to see it! We went to find help. With the help of our neighbour, the Touchau (the village captain) and her children we returned to the house and managed to get rid of them (we got braver with the shoe). The first few days were therefore spent cleaning and bleaching everything we could reach whilst getting to know the people who came along to help us.

On our first weekend we were invited by the village captain to go over to Bartica for Pork Knocker day, a celebration of the mining industry here. It was a really good afternoon, dampened slightly by the rains but fascinating none the less. Through a slightly bizarre turn of events we ended up with the Touchau at the top of a very new, fancy building talking to a very important looking man. Turned out he was VERY important as it was His Excellency The President! I spoke to him about what we were doing in Guyana and how long for and so on but it wasn’t until we headed back down out onto the road we asked who it was. It was all so casual, like everything here; it didn’t seem like a strange thing to do which made it even more surreal!

Now two weeks into the 15 week term its going so quickly. I’m teaching grade 5, 9-10 year olds, and have them for all subjects. It’s mainly Maths, English, Science but also Social Studies, PE, Spanish, music, dance, drama, poetry and handwriting! It’s a really nice class; teaching is difficult because they are so mixed in ability, but a nice class anyway. Some of them can’t read and can barely write their names but with the “remediation classes” I have to run after school each day, I think I can get somewhere with them. It’s definitely an exhausting job and I’m starting to lose my voice a little but I have so much respect for what teachers do now! There are 19 in my class, 6 girls and 13 boys, and my classroom is just a part of the room with 100+ other pupils in it and a few blackboards. It gets very loud!

Ursula and I have also been asked to run swimming lessons after school and had our first one yesterday. It went really well, we had 9 or so of them in the river (with the rest of the school watching) practising for their inter-house competition and regionals in Bartica. I’m also judging an essay competition, running a poster competition, organising a traditional Amerindian dance for heritage, starting an art and craft club and have been given keys to open school in the mornings! Very busy but loving it so far.

The river is probably one of the best bits. It’s just in front of our house and jumping off the stelling (jetty) for a swim is the best way to cool off after school. It’s more like the sea than a river because it’s so big and quite tidal but a very muddy brown colour. Everyone we’ve met has been so friendly and helpful I can’t wait to get to know them more. Money is quite tight at the moment because we haven’t been paid yet but people are so generous it’s not really an issue at the moment. The only thing is that I can’t really afford stamps so although I’ve got lots of letters to send I can’t until I can get the stamps.

Well this has turned out quite long so I’ll stop for now. There’s so much more to write about but I’ll save it for next time 🙂

Off to find a boat home…


(Posted by Mike after the blog site had been unavailable for a while)

One Comment

  1. Carole

    ….now that’s a beetle with a 6-pack!! Sounds like you’re having a great time. Glad to hear you’re networking too – my students will be proud of you as am I:-) x

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