Peace Corps volunteers not permitted outside after sunset

I found a small Internet cafe (without the cafe) just two blocks away from my host family. Since I will be staying with this host family for five weeks, I hope to be able to check in more often. Access, however, cost me $300 per hour Guyanese dollars. And since the Peace Corps pays me only $400 a week, it’s rather costly.

Our group of 23 arrived Tuesday night and were taken to a hotel in Georgetown. There, we met some of the staff and about a quarter of the current volunteers.

The next day, we had many introductions in a conference room and then were driven around the city to see some of the more popular attractions.

On Thursday, we learned a little about the local people and their customs. There is much more to learn, which is one of the reasons we were moved to a host family the next day.

Also on Thursday, we learned a lot about security. No Peace Corps volunteers are permitted to be outside of their home after the sun sets. If we do go anywhere, we have to first receive clearance from the Peace Corps office.

All of this may seem like a huge strain on your personal freedoms as Americans; and it is. Yet they did a wonderful job of presenting the need to protect us. On Thursday, the security director drove us to some of the more dangerous areas of Georgetown. Once we saw those areas, few of us further questioned his enforcement of our curfew. I’m sure I’ll write more about this later.

On Friday, the US Ambassador came by to welcome us. After that, we met our host families.

I have a family of three:

Father: Anthony
Mother: Gail
Child: Zowie, age 4

They are a first-time host family, so I told them that I’ll be sure to break them in. They laughed.

They have been very nice and hospitable. Today (Saturday), they took me to the market to find some new fruits and foods for me to try. So far, Guyanese seem to eat a lot of fish, chicken, rice, and fruit.

Zowie is a sweet girl, but she is a bundle of energy. She is curious to have, hold, and run away with anything that I happen to “introduce” to her world.

Gail has lived in this house since she was three years old. It’s about 1,000 square feet, made of wood, stands 12 foot tall stilts, has three small bedrooms, one bath, a kitchen, a living room, and one bath. They do have electricity and running water; but both are not dependable.

Their is no air conditioning or hot water, so sleeping and showering are the most difficult things to get adjusted to. I stay up at night sweating in bed and then freeze to death getting clean in the morning.

I have been taking some very low resolutions photographs with my digital camera on my Palm Pilot. I’m not sure how well they were turn out or when I’ll be able to post them, so we’ll see.

One thing I might like to receive would be receive a few of http://www.realgoods.com/‘s Solar Mosquito Guard. So if you want to send me something in the mail, try sending me one of those.

My hour is almost up, so it’s time for me to go.