Justin Long’s Poem

At the swearing in ceremony of the GUY 10 trainees on August 16, volunteer Justin Long wrote and read a great poem on our behalf. Here it is:

Swearing In August 16, 2002

We began this journey in the busy Miami heat;

None of us knowing exactly who we’d meet.

Some of us nervous, some of us bold;

Most of us glad to be leaving that darn northern cold.

A couple days later, again, we exit the plane;

Guyana sending the first wave of real heat, and the puddle of freshly dropped rain.

As we’re waiting for customs, the sweat starts to pour;

While dragging overstuffed bags, two men walk thru the door.

“I am Claudius Prince” and “Call me Kitty” they say;

“We’re with the Peace Corps, so follow us, we’ll lead the way.”

Soon after, twenty-three Americans pile the bus and drive thru the night;

Talking, gaffing, laughing, watching the people and staring at Georgetown lights.

Arriving at Ocean View, we are treated to a feast;

The juice, the veggies, the hot sauce, and oh yes the Guyanese love their meats.

Upon filling our bellies and meeting volunteers and staff, all of us are in high hopes;

For tomorrow we start training and begin to learn the ropes.

As the scorching sun rises and the palms sway in the breeze;

We meet our fearless facilitators: Ken, Colin, Fiona, Greg, Akeel and Marcia.

Along to meet our technical trainers we finally go;

To work with Hazel, Russell, Pam, and Sir Basdeo.

We made it through the long process to get where we are and now we’re all pleased;

Yet some of us are nervous to meet our host families.

We ask “will they like me?” and “how’s it going to be be?”

But from the moment we meet, they make us feel welcome and free.

We’re learning to cook and to clean like Guyanese;

And attempting to understand and speak a bit of (some of us not so well);

Complimenting our hosts comes the experience of Monar and Angie;

Teaching us traditions of a que-que and Jhandie.

Health educators, teachers and IT profs we’ll hopefully be;

Thanks to our patient tech trainers who work with us ah so wonderfully.

We’ve tried a bit of dancing, swimming, boating and singing;

There’s pictures of the soca, cricket, labba, and the sounds of saltfish and boom-boom buses that keep our ears ringing.

The past two months have seemed to fly by;

With images of _Mocha, Grove, South and Georgetown now engrained in our eye.

The days at St.Cuthberts, Diamond Community Center and GNBC we are left to ponder;

As we now head to our sites here, there and some way over yonder.

The joy we feel to get out and serve these up coming two years;

Overshadows the thought of washing and cooking and other silly fears.

With all we have learned from the Guyanese in their land;

Keeping us healthy and free from Dengue;

Nurse Jean and Sheridan give us the shots and help us on our way.

Then there’s the people who keep Peace Corps running smoothly;

Allison, Rita, Michelle, Sasha and James, our over-achieving admin crew.

Claudius, Machu and Kitty, three peas in a pod

Julie, Julie our volunteer coordinator;

When there’s communication between us and staff, she’s our fabulous mediator.

For all your hard work on behalf of us lowly trainees, we do applaud;

There’s Earl and Terrance, the men in charge;

Finding our sites, giving advice, and letting us know our impact here can be large.

These ten weeks have had their share of blood, sweat and tears;

Yet we’ve learned about an amazing culture, how to make a positive difference, and even some about Banks beers.

We hope to give back with our time, skills, resources and our hands;

So from each and every one of us here in Guy 10;

We say thanks for everything and we look forward to seeing you all soon again!

(We’d like all the staff, trainers, host families, and counterparts to stand. Thank you all so much for your time, effort and support on our behalf.)