Email from Ben 8th September 2004
G'day to friends, family, sponsors, donors and ppl that gave me money to get rid of me for a year.
I touched down safely in Georgetown a little under 2 weeks ago and have been pretty busy since. I spent the first week staying at our rep, Kala's house, just outside Georgetown. We spent most the time liming around (that means lazing about, doing nothing, something which is best accomplished in a hammock). We did all the boring admin stuff like visit the High Commission and register with the TSC. But we did have some fun. We met the minister for education of Guyana for lunch at the very posh "Georgetown Club". We also happened to meet the Guyanese media there. The next day we were in at least 2 national papers and the 6:00 news. Although being tall i stood at the back and so you cant see me very well. Check out my website and it should be on there soon www.biggs.uk.com/beninguyana.
Thought i was going to have to fly down to Annai, but the cheapskates at the ministry of education stuck us on the bus instead. So 10 hours and a load of bumps later i arrived in Annai. Its absolutly beautiful down here. Wide open plains of grass land and hills jus covered in rainforest. My house is pretty nice, have a flushing toiled but no running water (that means u have to pour the water in yourself to flush it) have electricity from 6pm-10pm although sometimes as late as 12pm. My room was in a bit of a state when i arrived but as soon as i realised the bottom of my walking boots are very effective at killing cockroaches, i had it clean in no time. I am sharing a house with my partner Duncan and another volunteer from the Peace Corps, a guy called Brian. We all gettin along nicely so its all good. I jus love looking our of my window, seeing the grassy plains, the rainforest covered hills and listening to the sound of the donkeys. Yes donkeys! Ive come all the way to Guyana and we have donkeys running around the school compound. Plus they drink the water we lug up from the well and eat our trash!
The school is pretty basic but the kids are cool. About 216 pupils, split into 5 forms. I was orignally teaching lower school maths (forms 1-3 so thats Pauwi, Sakaika, Tukui, Anra, Wakuka and Sherike) but now ive lost a form 2 and 3 (Tukui and Sherike) and gained a form 4 (whose name i forget). Its gunna be hard work, lots of paperwork. This is slightly ironic as the stuff im teaching is all basic GCSE standard and is easy, but all the paperwork is hard and complex.
All in all im settling in nicely, its a bit annoying having to walk 45mins to the nearest shop for some meat for dinner/a cold drink/rum. But im hopefully buying a bike so that will cut down the time. But a little harder to cycle home in the pitch black, after a good few rums.
Look forward to hearing from you all and i'll send another update soon