This blog was originally posted at www.missadventuresinguyana.wordpress.com.
It has actually arrived. In all my travels, I have always found that the strangest thing was the actual arrival of the time to leave on the trip that I’ve spent so long planning. I was accepted as a YCI volunteer in early August, spent the whole fall fundraising, left Canada early to visit my family in Trinidad, and now the time to leave for Guyana draws near.
I spent my last couple of weeks in Canada shopping for this trip (personal gear, workshop and teaching supplies, house supplies) – the dollar store became my new best friend! I also discovered that some government departments have free documents that you can order from them. For example, I got food guides and nutrition posters from Health Canada. My idea is to use them in a health related workshop, so hopefully we have one
As I spend the last few days relaxing before I gallivant over to South America, many thoughts have been harassing my poor brain. So, what do I think volunteering in Guyana will be like? Well, it certainly won’t be a walk through a manicured city park, that’s for sure. I expect lots of difficulties and a huge need for patience. I also do not expect to see long term impacts of our contributions but that will just be a lesson in learning to appreciate daily “in the moment” things and achievements. I also think that “adaptation” will be the Sesame Street word of the day, everyday: adapt to heat/humidity, adapt to giant spiders and fish with teeth, adapt to a new culture, adapt to living with three virtual strangers, adapt to being the centre of attention, etc. As an introvert, many of those adaptations will be hard but there are ways to keep my sanity (for example, I will have to find a tree to hide under for some quiet solo time). Another thing that I think will require adaptation is that privacy will be MIA for those three months!!
There are many other things that I expect from this experience. They range from developing the skill to create educational yet engaging workshops to becoming proficient at river bathing. I also expect to learn leadership skills, how to make a yummy paratha, to further develop my photography skills, and to learn how to hand wash laundry in a river.
But in the end, I think it is important to approach overseas volunteering with an open mind and little expectations. Have goals, yes, but keep them a little flexible! I fully expect to learn some of the things I mentioned but also some things that I haven’t even thought of right now! As for fears, my only fear right now is that I’m not sure I brought enough memory cards for my camera.. Seriously. The world may as well end if I run out of memory cards…
-Kendra Seignoret, Youth Ambassador, Guyana 2012
Kendra is a Youth Ambassador who will be arriving in Guyana this Monday. She will be maintaining her blog as best as possible in the field. One of her fundraising initiatives has been to sell her photography online as greeting cards, which you can check out at www.traveltrunkphotography.com . For more information on what the Guyana teams have been up to, please check out the Guyana category for more posts.