Today the weather started out with a 30% chance of showers... by 6 am it was a 50% chance -- and it was raining so hard that sitting 5 feet from the window, I was getting wet. A real Nova Scotia Nor'easter! And by noon when it hadn't stopped storming for any length of time, the weather icon changed to rain! I think the weather people here trained in Canada ..... Well, I needed my "wellies" to go get lunch -- in foot-high water on the paths -- with little fishes and some small snakes .....
I said goodbye to my colleague Beverley Clarke on Friday morning after having worked her hard for the three weeks she was here. She has lots of experience with designing Problem Based Learning courses, as well as leading them in Rehabilitation Sciences at McMaster University in Canada, and she had great suggestions for improving the course ..... if I have the energy to do half of them - wow!
|She had to take her turn with the daily Guyanese Proverb and Puzzle.|
|Bev spent extra one-on-one time with many students who were eager to learn from her.|
|She taught them to love anatomy, but maybe this isn't what she had in mind.|
|One last clap!|
|Hugs all around|
|And a Floral Farewell|
I may have become too used to Guyana to see properly. One of the things that amazed Bev everyday was that nothing went as planned. There were always unannounced screw-ups. One day there were only half the students there as the other half got dismissed to go get bank accounts for their new direct deposits for their stipends. The half that was there were to go the next day ..... Some rocket science by administrators ..... I sent them all away and told them all to be back the next day. You do have to wonder: a month into the term -- why that day? Anyhow, all is well, but the students still have to line up in Accounting and sign a little piece of paper saying that they acknowledge their deposit though they haven't seen it!
Efficiency is hard to come by in Guyana. Anther day, housekeeping was told that they had to clean all the classrooms everyday, so in the middle of a class -- someone else's -- they had everyone stand outside while they cleaned and mopped the room. And this was agreed to by the director of the school ..... because housekeepers are people too. Because of The Fire (how many years ago was that?) there is still no large meeting room, so the students are evicted for Board and committee and general staff meetings with only same-day notice. Bev was right: not one school day she was here went as planned ..... It was only fitting that her trip to the airport was familiar; here's her note:
I had failed to notice all the inconveniences and disruptions day after day to doing anything that's been planned . Now I know why I am tired at 8 PM.
And unfortunately, I had become almost blase about the sometimes horrendous lives of my students. One by one the students shared some of their struggles with trying to study ..... nothing to eat, sexual assault and abuse, robbery, total household chores for the whole family, over an hour travel by minibus... We had one student withdraw from the programme because her parents refused to work and she was previously the only wage earner for them and her siblings and had to return to a better paying job. She was such a bright young woman ..... Bev was overwhelmed by all the stories, and asked me how come I wasn't? I do not know how to answer. These stories are a given ..... but maybe they shouldn't be. Actually, I do cut them a little slack!
In the slide show at the top right of the blog are the pictures that the girls from St. Ann's took of our swimming trip to Bounty Farms on Saturday. They shot over 1,000 pictures ..... and the only reason there weren't more is that they had filled a huge GB Card ..... I have shared less than 10%. (Be grateful.)
I am on my own for a while now as Dennis does not come until the 19th of October - right after the faculty from St Joseph's College and before the Canadian Psychiatrists... I'll rest now.
Thanks for reading. And the next blog will hopefully will be a guest one by Beverley.