Wooden benches and a prodigious amounts of sand

Got a great email from Peace Corps friend that I think highly of. Here are edited segements of his email:

My site now has a movie theater? sort of. I recently went to the wooden building to see the premier of Spiderman with some friends. The wooden benches, prodigious amounts of sand, yellow-patched movie screen, and unique “underwater” lilt of the sound system made it a memorable evening. Still, despite the ambiance, Spiderman is very, very cool.

We’ve heard on the news that the east coast of the U.S. is getting some snowstorms; we’re going through winter as well, albeit in the Guyanese style. The rain has been much more intense than usual: most of the time, we get a quick thirty-minute rainstorm once or twice a day; lately, we’ve had rainstorms that’ve lasted four or five days straight. Now we know why Guyanese build their houses up on stilts: the roads are flooded or have been turned into mudslides. Welcome to the rain forest. I try to use the time we’re stuck inside to catch up on personal study and reading.

Now for the fun stuff: we took a thirteen-mile hike to Tipiru Falls, a natural rock slide cut by a tributary of the Mazaruni River. Some politician a year or two ago got the good idea of turning it into a hydroelectric plant. The project failed, leaving cement columns and rusting steel pipes in the main water chute, but it also left a reservoir at the top that makes a perfect spot to swim. Along the way, we saw toucans flying, a house where every brick was decorated with the Nike swoosh, a tree full of huge vultures, a giant termite nest, grasshoppers that looked like they were wearing war-paint, and we heard monkeys singing.

For Thanksgiving, we accepted an invitation from the U.S. Ambassador to have dinner at his home, along with about thirty other Peace Corps volunteers and Embassy people. There was real turkey and cranberry sauce, and one lady from the Embassy even made pecan pie from ingredients she found in Guyana. It was nearly as good as the pie from the James River Pie Company from home, and having it surrounded by friends made it that much better.

The big news of the months is that, after Thanksgiving, about 20 volunteers accompanied us on a trip to Baganara Island Resort. The twenty of us went there this past weekend for a little R & R. We had a great time swimming, playing Frisbee, chess, cards, and volleyball, eating good food, hiking through the jungle, and bridging the gap between the two groups of Peace Corps volunteers: the older ones in my group who’ve been in the field for over fifteen months now (540 days since Miami, but who’s counting?) and the newer group who arrived in July of this year. I feel like we got to know them well, and that we’re closer to them than the previous group was to us. We’ve already set up some joint projects, and I know we’ll be keeping in touch with a lot of them long after we’ve left Guyana.

I’m glad Thanksgiving at the Ambassador’s home was fun. I remember celebrating the Fourth of July there. It was great to eat hamburgers and hotdogs off the grill, to swim in a real pool with blue water (as opposed to swimming in a creek with black water), and to have all of the free soda and beer you can drink.