Back From South America

Posted March 5th, 2012 in Off Topic and tagged , , by daniellegrace

Hello Everyone!

You’ll be happy to hear that I am now back from South America and up to full speed on all of your ongoing projects!

My husband and I travelled to Guyana to visit his parents, who grew up there, and recently built a house near to where they grew up.

Guyana is a complicated place to sum up quickly, but I’ll try a bit. The weather was not too hot (25-30), and it was often rainy while we were there. The majority of the people are very poor, the “minimum wage” is around $15 a day. It is considered a third world country. People really hustle to get ahead there, although there aren’t many options for work. (Cutting sugar cane, mining or farming rice.)

A lot of people my in-laws’ age are now returning from lives abroad (more Guyanese live out of the country than in it) and building “vacation homes”, which they visit for a few months each year. These relatively modern concrete homes are mixed in with the older style of wooden homes all through the villages. The disparity between these sometimes posh homes, and the sometimes very run down older homes is sometimes very great. Regardless, I had thought it would feel more dangerous than it did – it was actually a very friendly place. It was a strange feeling being the only white person – people stared, but generally not in a rude way, just in an interested way. I did get called “white lady” a bunch of times. Ha!

Things we appreciate more about Canada after visiting the third world:
- Being able to drink the water that comes from the tap
- Regular garbage pickup and recycling (Everything in the villages gets piled and burned – plastic bottles, aerosol cans, tires)
- Hot water when you shower (although when the weather is very hot, you don’t mind lukewarm)
- Not having to sleep with a mosquito net
- How winter keeps the invasive pest population down (sugar ants EVERYWHERE there!)
- Not having to bribe a cop every time you report something – like domestic violence
- Having electricians and tradespeople who bring their own equipment and know what they are doing!
- When lines are long, they add more staff. In Guyana, you just wait longer.

Things that I appreciated about the third world:
- Everyone doesn’t have their nose stuck in a smart phone at all times
- The fruits and vegetables and fish taste amazing and are so affordable
- People seem to visit each other more often (the day we wanted to go to the beach, we had to pretend we weren’t home so we wouldn’t get surprise visitors)
- Children roam around freely, bike around barefoot at night with no lights, and seem to do just fine (no helicopter parents in Guyana!)
- Cattle do the same, now that I think of it. Cows in your front yard give new meaning to the 100 mile diet!

In any case, we had an amazing trip, ate like Guyanese kings, flew in a rickety plane into the jungle to see Kaieteur Falls (the world’s largest single drop water fall) went to markets, bought fish at roadside stands, and lived like retired people. (Playing dominoes in the afternoons and going to sleep at 9:30PM.) Being able to live if not like a local, then at least like a foreign national, was an amazing experience, with none of the “anytown” feeling that comes with hotel stays and restaurant meals.

So here are a few of the 900 pictures we took (I know, I have a problem – 50% of them were of stray dogs):

An abandoned house in 64 Village, Guyana
An abandoned house in 64 Village, Guyana

Hassa fish in a basket at a roadside stand
Hassa fish in a basket at a roadside stand

Guyanese hipster schoolchildren in Skeldon
Guyanese hipster schoolchildren in Skeldon

The jungle at Kaieteur Falls, Guyana
The jungle at Kaieteur Falls, Guyana
The irrigation dams in the morning
The irrigation dams in the morning

And now, back to regular life! Drop me a line if you have any questions about social stationery or Guyana! : )

One Response so far.

  1. [...] know what I never did? Between the craziness of WedByHand, wedding invitation season, and then a quick trip to South America and back, I never DID manage to write about WedByHand this year! And boy, what a year it [...]

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