Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Guyana, Day 5

Today I wrote my column that will appear in Sunday's Highlands County News Sun.  The topic is, of course, Guyana, which is much on my mind this week.

I realize that I haven't spoken a lot about the country.  Part of that was deliberate, because I wanted to write my column without duplicating too much information between the blog posts and the article.  Now that the column is written I feel freer to describe some things around here.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, one drives on the left side of the road here.  What I didn't mention is that it is not unusual to share the road with all kinds of livestock.  This can be scary in the dark - we almost hit a cow coming to the hotel from the airport!

The houses here are almost always 2 stories high, and that is because it floods sometimes.  The downstairs can be a living area, a place for a car, or even a shop in some cases.  The zoning laws down here are not like in the United States and it's not uncommon to see a shop in the middle of a group of houses.

We are 5 degrees from the equator here, which means tropical weather.  Today was hot as I remember Guyana to be - the kind of heat that tires you out just sitting in it.  The church building has no electricity so we have to hope for a good breeze coming through the doors to cool off. 

They grow sugar cane in Guyana - I saw some as we were out driving today.  The sugar in Guyana isn't like our granulated white sugar.  It is more like brownish-yellow crystals.  This sugar doesn't dissolve easily in hot coffee, I've discovered, but is very sweet.

Speaking of food and drink, many things here seem to have a different flavor.  We are careful what we drink; our systems can't handle the local water, so we have to drink distilled or bottled water, and anything such as coffee or tea has to be made from that.  Food has a different taste to it - today I had a spaghetti sauce that didn't taste much like the spaghetti sauce we have in the states.  It was good, mind you, just different.

The Guyanese speak English with a Jamaican flavor to their words.  Don and I sometimes have to ask someone to repeat themselves because the accent isn't always easy to understand.  But the people we have been in contact with here have all been very nice and courteous to us and they don't mind repeating themselves.

We cross a pontoon bridge every day to go from the hotel to the church building.  The bridge closes one to two times a day so it can be raised to let ships through.  But they constantly change what time they do this.  For example, today the bridge was raised at 3:30 PM, much earlier than usual.  Don, Anil, and I had lunch with a brother in Christ and then had to hurry to get a call in to Mom and then hurry over the bridge before it was raised.

Don's classes centered on various aspects of parenting today.  Tomorrow I will be talking with the women again.  Friday will be our last set of classes and it's hard to believe that we are more than halfway finished with this trip.

I hope you're finding my posts somewhat interesting and entertaining.  I will think of more things to share with you tomorrow!!

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