Three days of HIV/AIDS training

We have just completed three days of HIV/AIDS training. Going into it, most of us could imagine what we would talk about for three whole days. But in the end, much of the information was useful.

Most everyone in our group of 23 is doing well. Darren, one of the Information Technology volunteers has had a case of diarrhea for the past few days. That’s right – days! I’m sure not looking forward to having that happen to me.

I thought now might be a good time to introduce the other volunteers who I am spending all of my time with. There are 24 in all, but one of them, Peter Petzold, never showed up to our staging event in Miami.

Information Technology
Janice Brackett
Patrick Joyce
Darren McLaughlin
Lisa McNally
Jason Pearce
Russ Starck

Health Education
Aryn Bartley
Gina Brusseau
Will Carrasquil
Tammy Cole
Anna Joyce
Helen Oyen
Megan Rayman
Jessica Shannon (Long)
Nicole Shy

Hans Andersno
Tim Camuti
Stephen Casale
Shannon Ewert
Judy Houlihan
Justin Long
Dean Oyen
Emily Sutherland

We are the tenth Peace Corps group to arrive to Guyana. Guy9 started out with 25 people, but now have only 20. Guy8 started with 23 people but are now down to 12. Most of the Guy8 volunteers will be returning home around the time of my swearing in.

I’ve had a chance to meet many of the current volunteers. Sometimes, a few will join us out on a Friday or Saturday night. Others show up for ultimate Frisbee at the national park on Sunday afternoons. Our times at the park have been a lot of fun, but very messy. Since this is the rainy season, there is a lot of standing water and plenty of mud. My host mom Gale couldn’t believe how dirty I get from these games.

Speaking of my host family, we continue to get along well. Zowie, the 90-pound four-year-old, continues be a handful. She is always talking and saying my name, which doesn’t give me much down time to relax and unwind. Some mornings, while I’m eating breakfast, she’ll be walking from the shower, through the kitchen, to her room. On her way, she’ll stop next to me at the kitchen table, remove her towel, and flash me, saying “Jason… Look at me… I’m naked.” I’m still not sure how to handle this.