Guyana or Malaysia?
Last night, I recieved an unexpected phone call from Project Trust HQ. They have offered me a place in Guyana instead of Malaysia. I have until Wednesday to decide.
So here's what I know so far ...
Guyana is on the northern border with Brazil, and also borders Venezuela and Suriname. It's a South American country, and one of the few Carribean countries that's not an island. It is about the same size as the UK, but has only 1.5% of the population (about 750,000). Guyana is populated by people of many different nationalities, including those of African and Indian descent, but I'd probably be with the native Amarindian people. It was used to be a Dutch colony before being taken over by the British. It remained udner their rule until 1966 when it eventually achieved independance. Because of this, English is the official language, although Spanish, Portugese, Guyanese Creote and many tribal languages are also spoken there. It is almost entirely rainforest, with a very few urban areas, and also a section that is very similar to the African Savannahs. From what I've gathered, there are cowboys in the Savannah, which is pretty awesome. The country is extremely biologically diverse. There are hundreds of types of tasty fruits, thousands of animal species, and probably millions of insects to eat me alive/scare me witless. The placements are all pretty out of the way, and apparently running water and electricity are not guaranteed, and internet connection can only be found in the larger towns. So communications are very limited, especially as the post takes about 7 weeks to get there from the UK.
I'd officially be teaching Science and Maths (amusingly) but in reality I'd be teaching Biology, Chemistry and English at a Standard Grade/GCSE level. My project partner would be doing the things I'm bad at (ie Maths and Physics). School timetables are quite relaxed here, so we'd get quite a bit of time off classes to do sports competitions, fun days, international days, etc with the children. Apparently, the children often skip school to work in the mines, bring in the harvest, and hunt, and are not as focused and goody-two-shoes as the Malaysian kids apparently are.
So what now?
I am seriously considering going here instead. It sounds like everything I wanted from my year out, and I know that PT would not have suggested it if they did not think it was a good idea. Going to Guyana would be so much more challenging than Malaysia, and I feel that the bigger the challenge, the better the experience. Most people I have spoken to agree with me here. In next few days, I will be trying to find out as much as I can about this little-known country, but I think that there is not much else to learn that can be learnt in the comfort of my own home.
I shall keep you all updated, so expect another post very soon (and possibly a new website if I go to Guyana!)