Less than 30 minutes with my counterpart

This afternoon, a few things seemed to have fallen into place. This week, we have all be visiting our newly assigned sites, working with our counterparts, becoming familiar with a new territory, and learning more about what we will be doing for the next two years.

For the six of us who will be working in Georgetown, however, we have had a frustrating week. While I spent less than 30 minutes with my counterpart from the World Wildlife Fund, I have been exchanging several helpful emails with Edith McClintock. Edith is a Peace Corps volunteer serving in Suriname and has been managing the WWF’s website for all of the Guianas for the last two years.

Edith Mc Clintock wrote:
Hi Jason,

I hear you are going to be working in the Guyana WWF office. I am the old PCV working in the WWF office here in Suriname and on my way out at the end of August. We should start talking though as soon as possible. I am excited to see you have all that web experience. I had none but have been doing our web page. I have a feeling whoever they hire to replace me (hopefully someone local) will also have no experience and need some training. But in the meantime I will feel really great handing over my baby to you. Got to run, but am excited that you will be working with WWF in Guyana.

Edith

Edith McClintock
Communications & Environmental Education Officer
WWF Guianas Program

Gravenstraat 63, .O. Box 15353, Paramaribo, Suriname
Phone: 597/42 23 57, Fax: 597/42 23 49
Visit our website! http://www.wwfguianas.org/

So thanks Edith for all if the great emails this week. I’m feeling pretty happy with my assignment and some of the duties will come along with it.

I also made a few calls today in an effort to line up a few secondary projects. The one that excites me the most is the prospect of me helping the Tourism & Hospitality Association of Guyana (THAG) improve their website. It’s a perfect project combines my interest in travel and that of web development. So it was nice to be able to speak with THAG and have them agree to use my services.

The most important aspect of today was that I have found my housing. All week, the six volunteers who are stationed in Georgetown have been given the runaround by Peace Corps staff regarding our housing options here in Georgetown. Most of this week, the six of us spent our time in the volunteer lounge waiting for someone from staff to show us the six housing options they have arranged for us. It wasn’t until 3:00 p.m. on Friday that someone finally drove us around so that we could see where we might be living for the next two years.

The bad news is that we were shown only two places (reminder, there are six of us). The good news is that one of the places — the one that we all liked — can only be filled by a male volunteer due to its proximity to a rum shop across the street (not safe for a woman). And since I’m the only male out of the six of us, it looks like this will be my place.

Matt Wookie is the current volunteer living there and will be leaving the Peace Corps shortly after our swearing in. The house is on stilts and has a gated yard. Inside, there are two bedrooms; only one of which is available for the landlord is using the other for storage. It has wooden floors and an average-sized kitchen, but no stove and a very old fridge. The place will come semi-furnished. Best of all, it is located only a few blocks away from the World Wildlife Fund’s office (about 1/4 to 1/2 mile away), so I’ll be able to walk to work — saving me the hassle of riding in those uncomfortable mini-busses.

So I’m now feeling much better about my future for the next two years. Now I just have to complete two more weeks of training and get sworn in on August 16.