Friday, November 23, 2012

Discovering Guyana through the lens of a volunteer : Video production specialists Jack and Chelsey

"Guyana is a weird country, you know. But I'm sure you've figured that out by now.." mused the newest guest at the bed and breakfast.

In fact, we had.

Jack and I met up in Miami, him having come from a hectic five weeks campaigning for the elections and I from 5 months teaching in Patagonia, Chile. It was an appropriate meet-up. As two young travelers, naturally we would be sharing a bacon pizza in Miami before heading out to teach video production in Guyana. We were excited, for the project as well as visiting a country neither one of us had considered visiting prior.

Nearly two weeks later, we are both in agreement that this country is unlike any other. From the parade of rescued dogs that meet us every time we unlock both security gates to get to our house, to a different style of chicken and rice being served at every corner, we have ceased to be surprised.

Men with dreadlocks drive horse-drawn carts, competing with traffic and taxis. Lotus flowers are "weeds" here, and manatees swim in the park pond. Chinese restaurants, curry, mosques and churches point to the mixed culture. Their English is tinged with British mannerisms and a Caribbean cool, and the buildings take you back to a colonial past.

Besides teaching video, we were taught how to experience Guyana as a local. We listened to Christmas carols played on steel drums, while eating Chinese food. We shopped at the local market, and filled up as people urged us to try new fruits like cashew, genip, jackfruit and an especially strange one called sapadilla that tasted just like brown sugar! And when it was time to get out of Georgetown, we figured out how well speedboats mix with jungle, and swim in black water. Of course, we also toured the DDL factory that makes the worlds best rum, and discovered how heat and strong rum are better if experienced separately.

Our two weeks here have been a whirlwind adventure, not only as we passed along our knowledge of video to field staff of the FTF Program, IICA and FAO, but also learning about a whole new culture.We've seen huge growth with participants ability to shoot and edit videos (with many bloopers along the way), and we've grown ourselves as we experienced a new culture. We are so thankful for the opportunity and can't wait to see the videos that come out of the team in the future!

To hear more about the trainings, our experiences and more keep posted on Chelsey's adventures at http://bumblingbrunette.wordpress.com/ 

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