Abigail Foreman

A Gap Year In: Guyana
with project trust
Aug 1999 - Aug 2000

Newsletter No 1

First Impressions

Before coming to Guyana I wasn’t quite sure what to expect although I thought it would be much more barren and not so lush and green. There are so many coconut trees everywhere !

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The most prominent thing we noticed as we drove from the airport was the smell of rum as we drove past the distilleries on the way from the airport.
I have found Guyana to be a very friendly place as most people will acknowledge you as you pass saying : "good morning", "good afternoon" or "good night".
Our local area is very noisy. At night there is loud music playing, dogs barking and people shouting. In daytime there is still music playing, people shouting and all of the different animals making all their noises. It really could be where Old Macdonald got his inspiration !
One of the most impressive qualities of Guyana is how diverse it is, not only in the landscape. In the outskirts of Georgetown there are extremely expensive houses right next to wooden shacks.
It is the heat here that is most prominent. From the moment the sun comes up it is boiling hot. When it rains it is simply wet and hot !
People may think we have an easy job with communication in an English speaking country, but the local population speak so quickly and with such a strong dialogue that it is very difficult to comprehend what is being said. I am struggling to pronounce some of the students’ names and the children laugh when I take the register !
One of the strangest and most ingenious inventions here is having drinks from plastic bags. You buy a plastic bag full of ice and the drink is poured into it. It is then drunk through a straw, but you have to make sure you hold the bag at the top or the result is a sticky mess.
Absolutely the best thing about Guyana is being able to buy fresh pineapple from a stall at the side of the road. If you ask, the top and skin are cut off and the fruit cut up for you.