Quick note: To the left is a link to view all my photos. The connection is very slow so I decided to create an album and just upload the pictures once. I will keep adding so please check for updates from time to time. Please feel free leave any thoughts or comments! OK, let's begin...
My flight departed Portland Thursday September 23rd at 6:00am; I arrived in Georgetown Guyana Friday at 6:30am: A 24-hour trip! (A 5 hour flight from Portland to JFK, a 10 hour layover in JFK, a 5 hour flight into Georgetown Guyana and a 3 hour taxi drive to Mike and Lara's house).
The first day here I slept. It was very hot and the fan provided little refreshment but I was so tired I slept through the heat. Lara counted 18 hours, but I must add that I didn't sleep solid the whole way through. I woke up Saturday morning feeling slightly disorientated and jet lagged but I got myself out in service. Our service group met outside Clypso Hut (which is a bar and grill, hah!) just minutes from our house.
Service here is very different from the States. For one, people actually talk to you. The local brothers call it a "Pioneer's Paradise" and I completely agree. Even though many have their own religions (Christian, Hindu and some Muslim) they all listen to what you have to share with them. There is a lot of respect for the Bible here. Since most homes have gates, rather than knocking on a front door, we yell out "Inside! Inside!" And rather than writing down house numbers you write down very descriptive notes such as "Bush Lot Village, road next to second bus shelter, 6 houses down from road, lots of flowers…" etc. It's quite amusing but very helpful for finding our way back.
We got a really good call my first morning, a girl named Ann. She is 16 years old and had very good knowledge of the Bible. I’m still getting used to the accent here, so Lara did most of the talking. She invited us into their house, which is really outside. The homes here are all on stilts because of flooding so the Guyanese use the lower space as an outdoor living room area. It shaded so it’s refreshing and this is where everyone hangs out for most of the day. Lara showed her the Truth tract and Ann picked the question about what happens to us when we die. Lara says this is a very common question since there is a high suicide rate among young people. We spent about 45 minutes talking with her. Finally we had to leave and told her we would come back next week to discuss more of the subject as well as what hope there is for those who have died. We met her mom and dad who were both really very nice.
A local brother gave me a call of his, a woman named Rachel who he had placed a Bible Teach book with. Lara and I called on her and we started a study! While we were at Rachel's though, the heat got to me pretty bad. I suddenly felt light headed and dizzy, I thought I was going to pass out! I prayed to Jehovah I could at least make it home. Rachel got me a cold glass of red drink (strawberry soda) and some delicious home cooked Indian food. It had rice, tuna and some greens with lots of spices and seasoning. It was so good! I immediately felt better, enough to make it home, but I felt so embarrassed. But Rachel was so hospitable that she didn’t mind and was glad to help.
So that was my first day day in Guyana.
Sunday meeting was also a treat. The congregation is about 50 publishers but Michael says they get about 80-90 in attendance on Sundays (bible studies). It was cool to hear the public talk, the watchtower study and the comments with accents. After the meeting I got to meet more of the friends who already knew my name since Lara and Michael had told them I was coming. They are lovely congregation! They also threw Michael and Lara a surprise going away party. It was so nice to see and hear how much the congregation loves them and are sad to see them go.
I also got to go a town called New Amsterdam, it’s about 30 minutes from our village. I got to see the market and buy fresh fruits and vegetables.
We’ve had 2 storms since I’ve been here, all with lighting, thunder and buckets of rain. It’s very exciting! One of those storms was during Thursday night meeting. The power went out and the meeting was conducted with flash lights. It was very touching to hear everyone singing without any music, it was so cool.
It is very important to bring your flashlight (called ‘torches’) to Thursday night meetings. It gets dark around 5:30pm and there are NO street lights. So by the end of the meeting (7pm) we all pull out our ‘torches’ and walk in the dark seeing only directly in front of us. And last Thursday, because it had just stormed, not only was it dark but very muddy. I, of course, wore the wrong shoes. I will try to upload the video I took of this.
Some other cool things about Guyana: The cars drive on the opposite side of the road, like in England, and the steering wheel is also on the opposite side of the car. Guyana is considered to be part of the Caribbean. The accent is a bit hard to understand, especially Creoles which, to me, sounds like a different language. Even though they speak English here, some of words are different than what we use in the States. For example:
“Mad” = Crazy
“Vexed” = Angry
“Quarrel” = Argument
“Wind” = Pass gas
“Breeze” = Wind
“Fine” = Skinny
“Thick” = Fat
“Babes” = Girl
“Flu” = General Sickness
Some of the locals get a confused look on their faces when I tell them I’m from America. They seem to think that all American’s look like Lara (blonde hair, blue eyes and white skin). We have to explain to them that I’m actually Mexican but was raised in America and that American’s come in all sorts of all colors and shades.
This week has been a blast. I feel myself adjusting quite nicely. My biggest adjustment is getting used to the heat, it’s very humid here. Even with sunscreen I'm getting very dark with all the sun I'm getting! The pace of life and the way of doing things are different here but I am excited to learn the ropes and become a local! I can’t thank Jehovah or my Portland friends enough for your wonderful help, support and encouragement in this new aspect of my life and ministry.
I miss you all and please email me and let me know of life in Portland!