Abigail Foreman

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

Newsletter No 6

More on life in Guyana

Home sweet home.

Just after Christmas a female pig moved into our garden and decided to give birth to piglets on our front steps. They joined the menagerie of local wildlife that seems to like our garden. We now have mother pig and six piglets firmly in residence after a brief wander away.


Sports party.

In the middle of November we had sports day at school. It was so funny. It was a scorching hot day and we were on a sports ground right next to the sea wall. Children were told just to turn up so out of 1000 Students only 300 turned up and 200 took part Claire and I were the scorer's. Most of the children ran in bare feet and they were so fast.

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There was music playing on huge loudspeakers all day. It seemed like it was just an excuse for a party!


No water !

Water Shortage strikes We have now been without water since before Christmas. At first this was because the public standpipe in the Street had been turned off. Our own water tank was empty. For a while we were collecting water to drink and wash in from the gutter in bowls and buckets but since the rainy season has ended we now do not have water at all. Our neighbours are very kindly allowing us to collect some water from them but it is not an ideal situation!


TV.

Fame at last. Since last year I have been appearing in the hottest T.V. soap in Guyana. It is called 'Agree to disagree' and is a comedy. (Abigail is obviously a hit as she has been offered a two year contract to stay on the show!) Sadly I will have to return to the U.K. when my placement with Project Trust ends.
I fit in recording sessions between teaching full time at the Comprehensive school where I teaches maths, science drama and computer studies. My persona in the soap is Abegail, Abbi or Abby, (depending on the spelling on the script ! )

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a U.S. citizen who is the Visa Officer at the U.S. embassy in George Town. The scripts are written in Creole, apart from my part, which is American English. The show is broadcast several times a week and will carry out a tour of Guyana giving live shows at Easter. (Abigail is frequently recognised in the Streets and her pupils at school love the stardom of 'Miss Abigail' )


School inspection.

The secondary school where I teach is called Bladen High. It is a large school of around 1000 pupils. The children are in very large classes with up to 60 children being taught at any one time. The most recent news from the school is that there is going to be an inspection. Whether this is as awesome as an English OFSTED inspection remains to be seen, but English educationalists please note... the staff at the school are having to lend a hand to paint the building before the inspectors arrive.

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Hopefully this will not be in the next rainy season as when it rains, the water pours through the windows as there is no glass in them and children have to frequently huddle for protection under umbrellas at one side of the room.


Resources.

We sometimes complain too about being under-resourced in English schools. One teaching assignment was about changing materials - testing factors which affect the rate salt dissolves in water (it should have been sugar but there is no caster sugar here!) By using candles to heat the water, with the children improvising holders for the beakers as there are no tripods or clamps in the school. I had nightmares in advance that the children would burn themselves, but the investigation worked and was incident free.