First Week Back
My first week back in Paramakatoi is now over. Only 9 weeks left of fun and excitement, as Miss Odessa puts it! It felt strange coming back. Over Easter, I think it had dawned on us just how little time we have left, and I had been thinking about it so much that it almost felt like my time was up completely. It felt almost as if we were not supposed to come back, and that the year was over.
We flew in on Sunday, and Monday was a holiday for some reason. I spent a large part of the day at the creek scrubbing my clothes, which had all developed a bad smell due either to being stuck in a damp rucksack for three weeks, or from being left motionless on a line for the same amount of time. Later in the day, a student visited. Promptly after her arrival, the rain came down in a torrential attack on our roof. I now understand why it’s called the rainy season! Rosie and I went crazy, using everything we could find to catch the water that was pouring like a waterfall from the broken gutters. Our student must have thought we were certifiably insane, especially when we filled all the buckets and basins and moved on to the pots, pans and mugs.
The school is currently very unorganised, as the Grade 11s have already started sitting some of their CXC exams (aargh!!!) and so six classes have been displaced and had to be fitted into only four classrooms. My own class, 9A2 is in the same classroom as 9A1, and when I tried to register them on Tuesday, 9A1s teacher came in and started doing it at the same time, ignoring me completely, much to the students’ amusement. 10G and 10B also share a classroom, divided by a blackboard. I nearly had a revolt on my hands when I forced one class to join the one I was supposed to be teaching. At the beginning of the week, I had a fantastic lesson with 11A1 about Argumentative Essays. We ended up having a class discussion about the dangers of under-age sex – the first class discussion I’ve had. I still can’t quite believe it happened!
Being back is great. There was some letters waiting for us to collect on Monday; two letters from friends and one from mum for me, and six Guardian Weekly’s for Rosie. Despite my inability to sleep unless there is no sound, movement or light, I’ve noticed that I’m getting better at sleeping this term. My summers plans are progressing nicely, so to get fit I’ve vowed to walk down the mountain and back up at least once a week. REdO brought us some light bulbs too … so now only the kitchen and the bathroom are dark and dingy … well, them and my bedroom because for some reason my light isn’t working. When we were in Town, we bought loads more CDs, and so the Black Eyed Peas, Forro and Reggae are constantly blasting the house. I also bought some Game of Thrones DVDs, so life is awesome!
On Friday night we had a very strange dinner sitting on the airstrip with the Headmistress, Guyana’s Maths Specialist and REdO.
Yesterday (Saturday), I decided to go and bathe at Yawong and have a swim. As I reached the outskirts of the Yawong settlement, a lady we know only as Yawong Amai warned me that Konok ne’asang (rain is coming). Less than a minute after she told me this, the rain started to pour down. I hung about in the river, diving and splashing and climbing and generally enjoying myself, especially when I swam alongside a toad for a while, but then it became obvious that the rain wasn’t going to stop. I crawled out and retrieved my stuff from under a semi-burnt log. Putting my clothes back on, I realised that I’d forgotten to hide the housekey and therefore locked Rosie out of the house. The journey back up the mountain was awful. I was soaking wet, and jungle-mud is the slippiest, slimiest, slidiest mud in existence. I walked barefoot and hauled myself up the mountain using my muddy toes.
On Sunday we went for a walk along the fine trail and mucked about in the jungle a bit. It was Mothers Day, and there was a village feast, which we didn’t attend, because it was in the church. It didn’t quite seem right to turn up at the church for the first time and expect to be given food.
All in all, the first week back has rocked.