Friday, February 11, 2011

A Day in the Life of a FTF-Guyana Volunteer

FTF Volunteers discuss the pesticide-safety chart at Hauraruni
The Guyana Farmer to Farmer Program has three volunteers in country now, all of whom are returning to follow up after their first visits years ago. Below are some photos and an informal "day to day" commentary which sheds light on the activities and adventures of a FTF volunteer.

Volunteer Ralph Bucca is focusing on food preservation, through drying fruit in solar dryers and preserving fruit in locally-made wine. He snagged some time at a computer with an internet connection to write:

"Spent Sunday thru Tuesday getting orientated and preparing for building a solar food dryer (SFD) at the Guyana School of Agriculture. It’s hot here so I got a haircut and shave, and bought a Yucatan styled shirt. I priced out the materials for the sfd and met with the carpenter to explain it. Will build it next week when I return from the west coast. There are 2 other volunteers here, Toxicology experts, who created and built a flip chart listing all the chemicals the farmers use and their danger levels, scary stuff."

"Got up yesterday at 5am to head to the west coast. It involved crossing one river on a floating bridge to get to Parika on the Escibuque [Essequibo] River. Waited till 7am for the first speed boat to fill up with 16 passengers and stuff. We are given a life jacket and a thick yellow tarp to hold over us for the exciting 45 minute ride to Supernam, cruising thru mangrove jungle. Was picked up by Garvin, my coordinator in a cab. Went to the Mainstay resort, where I met with the Amerindian captain to explain the assignment, to return later."

"We then went to Charity, where the road ends on the Pomeroon River, a funky jungle port town. I was here 4 years ago and created a training DVD of the winemaking process. Met with the two groups I worked with before to check their progress, they need some wine making tweaking, and will build sfds when I return at the end of the week. Got driven back to Mainstay, which is at the end of a dirt sandy 7 mile trail. We took a refreshing swim in the lake. We are the only guests here now, getting special attention. Ate dinner and shot pool till 9pm. Rained during the night and into the morn. Gavin left, I’m it now. Will have first winemaking training session at 1pm. TBC."

Region 10 Farmers Association are trained on safe handling of chemicals
Fred Aleguas and Henry Spiller are conducting trainings on the safe use of chemicals and symptoms of their effects. On their first assignment years ago they conducted surveys to determine which chemicals farmers are using and what protective gear they employ, if any, and symptoms they may have experienced. Since then they have developed a durable, color-coded flip chart which summarizes the risks, recommended protection, and other information for each chemical.

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