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Guyana GAFF Newsletter Spring 2019


Spring 2019 Newsletter

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Dear Readers,

Welcome to the Spring 2019 Edition of GAFF!  GUY30, it was a pleasure serving with you, and we wish you the best of luck in all your future endeavors. Stay subscribed to GAFF to see what the rest of us are up to! And GAFF would like to extend a warm welcome to GUY32 who will be joining us this June! We hope that you enjoy the intriguing content that GAFF has to offer. We look forward to meeting you all soon. Hope everyone enjoys this edition. Any questions, comments or concerns? Please email us at 


– Preethi, Owen, Kelci and Samantha


Connor – June 23rd

Flavio – July 4th
Monica – July 6th
Kasey – July 18th
Samantha – July 23

Kelsey – August 3rd
Michelle – August 3rd
Kury – August 3rd
Fiona – August 13th
Emma – August 22nd
Gina – August 22nd
Pearla – August 24th
Jessie – August 26th
Zach – August 27th
Kori – August 28th
Carey – August 29th

Frederick – September 5th
Kellon – September 13th
Akeesha – September 17th
Sasha – September 18th
Preethi – September 19th
Nurse Jean – September 21st

JT- October 2nd
Adam – October 12th
Kelci – October 13th
Stephanie – October 18th
Grayson – October 21st
Tam – October 24th
Katie – October 31st



July 1st: CARICOM Day (GY)

July 4th: Independence Day (US)

August 1st: Emancipation Day (GY)

August 12th: Eid-al-Adha (GY)

September 2nd: Labor Day (US)

October 14th: Indigenous People’s Day (US)

October 27th: Diwali (GY)

November 10th: Youman Nabi (GY)

November 11th: Veterans Day (US)

The cycle of volunteers goes around and around, whether we want it to or not. Last February, the GUY30 Volunteers enjoyed a two day Close Of Service Training to help them prepare to flow back into America – a more difficult process than we like to admit. 

Staff was well-equipped to both quell our concerns, and maybe elicit some new ones that we hadn’t thought about yet as we sat through sessions about job interviews, applications, healthcare, and (who could forget) LinkedIn. Welcome back to America, GUY30! 

A panel of 5 RPCV’s living in Guyana joined the nervous volunteers for a session to help hash out the emotions of returning to a place that may not “get it”. “I hated America. I was just waiting to come back,” stated one RPCV who managed to make it back to Guyana…. and stay. Others reminded us that jobs await in corporate America, and some helped us see the potential of leaving, because it gives us the opportunity to find more places to travel. Above all, GUY30 was reminded of one important lesson: Take Your Time. 

The last few weeks of a volunteers service cannot be given back. The people we spent two years with deserve proper goodbyes, Amber (PCVL) so kindly reminded us. The places we’d been, and the experiences we gathered needed to be processed, shared, and remembered. And so, we left our COS conference filled with some fears, anxiety, and an eye for the future – but most importantly we left with a reminder, of how important these last moments truly are. 

We took our time our last 7 weeks. Students shared poems and tear-flooded eyes. Hospital staff shared gifts, food, advice, and the long-awaited hugs. And on the 2nd of April, 2019, GUY30 said goodbye to each other. 

After two years of adventure, these volunteers are off!

– PCV Samantha, GUY30

To Whom it May Concern,
We understand that you, the 32nd group of Peace Corps volunteers for Guyana, have recently arrived in country. Please accept this letter as our formal application for the position of Yes Man.
It’s important that you all know that by endeavoring on this journey, you already possess many of the traits required to be an extraordinary Yes Man in your own right. First, you eagerly clicked “submit” on your Peace Corps application. When you received a phone call to set up your interview, you might have waited to hear the voicemail but eventually you called back. Then, you arranged your laptop in the most scholastic looking area of your room and nailed your Skype interview. And when your email notified you that you had been accepted to serve, you said YES.
However, should you need someone to remind you of your zeal, we would be thrilled to be considered.
As you arrive and begin to settle into your new life, you may face several obstacles. Some, you will easily adjust to. Others will cause you to question your decisions and abilities. When you find that your resolve is wearing thin, know that this group has been through a similar experience. Because of this experience, we feel we would be exceptional in the position of Yes Man. Some of the qualities that would allow us to fulfill the rigorous requirements of being a Yes Man include:


  • love of adventures

  • spontaneity

  • joy in others’ successes

  • general lack of judgement or an appropriate amount of teasing concerning most things

Since our own arrival, we have mastered these qualities by stumbling our way over hurdles and intensely over-sharing our trials with one another. All in all, we have learned that we love to say “yes.” Yes, you can initiate that project that seems so unattainable. Yes, you can finish all of the rice on your plate. Yes, you really can speak Creolese in a manner that people will understand.
You’ve already said “yes” to one of the most significant questions; “Is Peace Corps right for me?”
Please allow us the honor of taking over when you’re uncertain and encouraging your dreams and goals for your two years of service.
Thank you for your time and consideration and welcome to Guyana!

– PCV Kelci, GUY31

“Other supervisors give orders, you gave us direction. Other supervisors give targets, you gave us a vision – Other supervisors lead by authority, you have always led us by respect. Farewell to a true leader!” 


As we say goodbye to Melanie Ingalls, our Director of Program and Training, I cannot find words that are truer than the above quote. For those of us who have had the opportunity to sit and talk with Melanie, whether it be at trainings, in meetings, or casually in the hallways, we know what we are losing a true leader in the office with her departure. Most of us come and go quite quickly – we see others rotate in and out of Guyana. Melanie has been living and working in Guyana for four years – 2x all of our services, focusing on improving and assisting the work that volunteers do, and the impact that Peace Corps has on Guyana. She has offered many of us words of wisdom, and provided a breathe of fresh air through her honesty and positive perspective. 


By the time this article is released, Melanie will have left Guyana, but the Gaff Staff knows that she will still be reading this email from across the ocean, at her new desk in Armenia, in an office that is lucky to have her. We would like to take this moment to thank Melanie for all she has done for Peace Corps Guyana. Dedicating four years of work  was a sacrifice that we are thankful for. In her time, we have seen the programs grow with the development of a new sector, and an improved training regiment. More specific and effective frameworks have been developed, and smaller communities in the hinterland have been advocated for. As said by Amber Enyart, PCVL 2018-2019:


“Melanie is an accomplished and wise woman. She has a unique way of mentoring that leaves you wanting to impress, improve, and outperform yourself. She believes in self-motivated and inspired work while also bringing all team members onto the same page. Melanie is incredibly brilliant, thorough, and large scale thinking in all of the work that she does and it has left this post far better than it was before her. She is not afraid to tackle large problems and inspires a team to follow her into the challenges of the unknown tangles, tears, and bruises that come from redoing the hard things to achieve greatness in them. This is proven by the introduction of a new sector, remodeling of all project frameworks, redesign of pre-service training, introduction of creolese as an official training language in the curriculum, and of course the international award given to Peace Corps Guyana Staff. I, for one, am changed for having worked with her, and in witnessing moments of her humility, strength, and wisdom. Her belief in me has inspired my own dreams and aspirations and is a constant reminder that I can achieve great things.


To Melanie, thank you for all that you’ve done both noticed and unnoticed, it has changed this post and left a ripple in the pond of Guyana.




Amber Enyart

GUY 28



Melanie – it is with tears in our eyes that we say goodbye! Best of luck in all your future endeavors. 


 – PCV Samantha (GUY30) and Peace Corps Guyana GAFF Editorial Board

This past February brought about the celebration of Guyana’s Republic Day, also know as Mashramani or “Mash”! Celebrated on February 23rd, the holiday celebrates Guyana becoming a Republic in 1970. The word “Mashramani” comes from the Arawak indigenous language and means “celebration after cooperative work”. The very colorful holiday is celebrated in all ten regions in Guyana, with the biggest celebration taking place in Georgetown, complete with parades, floats, costumes, and calypsos. Mash is also a big part of the Easter school term, as children from Nursery to Secondary schools take part in country wide competitions and activities including dance, calypso, dramatic poetry, and physical display. Some of our GUY31 PCVs took part in school activities with their kids! 

PCV Meredith with her group of students, “The Mob”, who won first place in the boys 14-17 hip hop category at the Region 2 Mashramani activities. Off to Nationals they go!

Let’s hear from Region 2 volunteer, Meredith!

What events did you take part in for Mash?

I was asked by my head teacher to choreograph a routine for the boys hip hop dance competition. I had enough students interested that I actually had two groups be able to  – one for the 11-13 age group and one for the 14-17 age group.  Both teams, named The Underdogs (11-13 ages) and The Mob (14-17 ages) competed against other secondary schools’ hip hop teams at the regional competition on January 20, 2019. The older group of boys, The Mob, did an amazing job and claimed first place in their category. Since they got first in the region, The Mob would be continuing on to the national Mash competition in Georgetown. Sadly, The Mob did not win any place at nationals, but they showed incredible sportsmanship and maturity. After their performance and again after awards, they told me how happy they were for the opportunity to come to nationals and how they know what it will take next year to come back and win. 

How did you like taking part in the activities?

Being apart of my school’s Mash activities was amazing. At first I was nervous about putting together an all boys hip hop dance routine on short notice, but all my reservations were thrown out the window once I saw how committed my students were. Mash was the perfect opportunity for me to get more involved in my school and community, and it really helped me connect with other students at my school that I don’t teach and/or interact with daily. I was and still am so proud of my boys who performed. In a months time I watched them work hard, overcome challenges, and grow as individuals. I was extremely impressed by their sportsmanship too. Before the awards at nationals the five of them said to me, “Miss, even if we don’t make place, we are still really proud to be able to come to this. Regardless of what happens, we are here representing our school and now we know and others know our school does have what it takes to compete with the best of the best. We will come back even better next year Miss!” 

This year’s theme was “Celebrate Mash 49 with victory in mind – Rediscovering El Dorado”. How did you incorporate this team into your activity?

The performance itself was not directly connected with the theme, but how I encouraged my dancers was. Mash is one of those events that really allows for all students to get involved. Unlike other holiday celebrations, Mash celebrates everyone in Guyana and their unity as a country. I took this point and made it more relatable to my students. I told them that “Rediscovering El Dorado” is like understanding their roots and their purpose at the school. I explained to them to think about “Celebrating with victory in mind” as a way to show other schools and the surrounding community that our school has more worth than what people think and that our students are intelligent, creative and talented.

Let’s head down to Region 9 to see what Tam was up to during Mash! 

What events did you and your school take part in for Mash?
I’d like to talk about what I did with my school. We participated in the children’s road tramp (parade). Several of my students also participated in competitions of the following categories: poetry,  costume, and skipping (jump rope).

How did the students like taking part in the activities?
My students loved being a part of Mashramani! Both in the competitions and road tramp they were proud to represent our school. They loved dancing on the road, waving to their families and friends,  and participating in the spectacle as a whole.

How did you like taking part in the activities?
It was such a blast.  During the road parade I led one of the lines of students. It was my job to get my line hyped up and excited!  It was a lot of waving,  spinning,  and jumping up. I’d never been a part of something quite this vibrant and energetic before. It was a very fun way to walk through my community.

This year’s theme was “Celebrate Mash 49 with victory in mind – Rediscovering El Dorado”. How did you incorporate this team into your activity?
My school designed our float as an oil rig. My administration interpreted “rediscovering El Dorado” as Guyana being a rising nation and receiving new recognition with the discovery and drilling of oil off the coast.  The poem was also on this theme of the new El Dorado being the discovery of oil.


Off to Region 6 to see what Kori was up to for Mash!

What events did you and your school take part in for Mash?
For MASH, my school did a march around the village. The primary children worse masks and proudly displayed their flags during the march. We chanted, “”celebrate 49 with victory in mind” as we paraded around and danced to the music from the car slowly leading the march. The march ended in the assembly area where we played music and let the children dance and sing. The week of MASH, we took place in a costume contest with the nursery students. Although we didn’t win we had fun!

How did the students like taking part in the activities?
The students loved taking part in the march around the town, any time they get to dance is always a good time. They love showing off their moves. I really felt a sense that they were proud to be Guyanese.

How did you like taking part in the activities?
I also enjoyed all the festivities. I loved seeing a display of love and appreciation for their country. After seeing other schools costumes and dances in the competition, I hope our school feels inspiration to do better next year.

This is how volunteer Emma celebrated Mash in her indigenous community in Region 1!

What events did you and your school take part in for Mash?

My school certainly went all in for Mash. We assigned teachers to each of the competition categories (dance, calypso, drama, costume) and worked for a few weeks to get ready. I worked on our harpy Eagle costume, along with my counterpart Miss Renita. We competed at district, regional, and national levels. The school won first for our costume at the regional level, and even placed in the top three at nationals for calypso. The community held a parade for Mashramani day, where the children walked through the village dancing in costumes with music playing. They also held a calypso concert that evening. 


I took part by helping with the competitions. It was fun to see how the holiday is celebrated. A lot of hard work went into the costume and I was very proud of it. 



And finally, let’s see how volunteer JT helped coach his school’s physical display team to victory in Region 10!

What events did you and your school take part in for Mash?
My school participated in the Linden Mash competition and we participated in dramatic poetry, Calypso, masquerade, dance, jump rope, and physical display. I assisted another teach with the physical display in which we did acrobatics, gymnastic skills and built human pyramids.

How did the students like taking part in the activities?
The students enjoyed getting to compete against the 5 other secondary schools and won a number of the competitions. It was a huge point of pride for them to show off the fruit of their labor and perform for the city. 

How did you like taking part in the activities?
I loved being a part of the activities. It was very familiar to me to be instructing the students in an acrobatic activity and it was very rewarding to see them perform after all of their hours put into making their performances nice and polished. The entire vibe of the main event was one of good spirited competition in celebration of Mashramani and that’s what I loved the most about it.


As you can see, our GUY31 PCVs were very busy during Mash activities. Apart from the celebrations at school, volunteers celebrated Mashramani on the 23rd by attending local parades and celebrations or heading to Georgetown for the big parade! We can’t wait for Mash 50 next year! 

– PCV Preethi, GUY31 
Interviews with GUY 31 PCVs Meredith, Kori, Tam, Emma and JT 

A Postcard to…GUY 31

March 29, 2019


Dear Guy31,


As I look back on my 27 months in Guyana I have so many contradictory feelings. I have had some of my happiest and saddest moments here, experienced unparalleled joy and sorrow, felt time stand still and simultaneously slip through my fingers. I have felt the pain of growth and the pride of seeing how far I’ve come. Now I feel a yearning to stay but a need to leave. It might seem crazy to you now, but my two years has gone by so fast and I can’t begin to articulate all the things I will miss from Guyana. 


I write this postcard to you as my way of passing on the torch. I hope you laugh and dance, try new food and go to new places, make friends out of strangers and a home out of this unique country. Enjoy the incredible highs and treasure the moments of joy that you will find in your communities—after all, you’re doing the thing so many people dream of doing someday. You might cry or scream or get sick or break down, but I hope you can lean into those emotions too because from that you will reach a greater understanding of humanity. Some days will be so hard you won’t know how to go on, but I hope you use each other to find the strength to move forward and know there are so many people cheering you on—me especially. 


It is with pride that I COS from Peace Corps Guyana and I leave with you the great responsibility of representing this amazing agency and the United States of America. Work everyday to be your best self, to spread kindness and love, and to be open to new experiences—with that, I’m confident you’ll forge a great legacy. 


With love,

Carly (Guy30)

– Edited by PCV Preethi, GUY31

…At least for another year, that is! GAFF is here to introduce you to four wonderful GUY30 PCVs who just couldn’t bear to leave the land of many waters just yet. Two of the volunteers, Christina and Julia will be extending at their sites, and the other two, Jami, and GAFF’s very own Samantha will be adding an extra letter onto their title – from PCV to PCVL! As Peace Corps Volunteer Leaders. We are so excited that you will be staying on with the rest of us! 

Meet one of your PCVLs, Samantha! Sam is extending at her site for a few months in Region 1 before joining staff as a PCVL. 

Tell us a little bit about the project you are extending for at site:
I chose to extend at site because of two projects close to my heart: a secondary school Health Club and a dormitory student female support group. Both projects were in full swing, enjoyable, and had a lot more potential for the remainder of the school year. I chose to stay so that I could work with the children in both groups and help them reach full potential/sustainability before leaving.

What will be your role as PCVL?
As a PCVL I will have many hats (as I understand it). I will be a support to staff, as well as volunteers, and an active liaison between the two for certain issues. I’m most excited to help facilitate trainings for volunteers – especially GUY32’s PST! Woot woot! Here I come Essequibo!

What do you hope to accomplish as PCVL?
As a PCVL I would really like to help bridge the gap between Guyanese and American culture. While this is our role as volunteers in general, I think that the same bridge can be “smoothed out” to assist volunteers in understanding Guyanese culture, and assist the people in Guyana to better understand Americans.

When did you realize you wanted to extend?
I decided I wanted to stay in Guyana about halfway through my service. I’m a “planner” and when I realized that I had not developed any plans for my COS, that it meant I needed to stay longer. I was torn, though, because I wanted the to try PCVL role, but I also wanted to stay in my community. When Jennel suggested that I could apply for both, I took the leap. Peace Corps staff was amazing in making sure I could finish my projects at site, as well as be a PCVL.

What is your favorite Guyanese food?
My favorite Guyanese food is bake. Bake with sausage, bake with eggs, bake with nut butter, bake with butter, bake with ANYTHIN – and anything bake 

Favorite spot in Guyana you’ve visited:
My favorite spot in Guyana is Lethem – by far. Mabaruma (my site) is a close second, but there is something really special about the Lethem savannah’s, the mountains. If anyone has the opportunity, I suggest visiting Kumu Falls, in the mountains next the Lethem. It’s like swimming in the jungle, the mountains, and the savannah all at once.

You’re a pro at this PCV thing! Any words of advice for GUY31/GUY32?
My words of advice seem cliche, but I believe they apply here more than anywhere else…. be yourself! The world can feel really confusing when you come to Guyana, but you already know everything that you need to know to get you through your service. Stay positive, and trust your instinct above all others’.


Meet Jami, your other PCVL! Jami finished service at her site in Region 6 and recently moved to Georgetown to start work as a PCVL. 

What will be your role as PCVL?
Good question…and honestly I’m not 100% sure at the moment. As of now I am trying to focus on getting up to speed with the upcoming Pre-Service Training (PST). Staff has been working for months in regards to the new GUY32 cohort arriving, so at the moment I’m playing a bit of catch up and trying to find my niche. Although I’m only 3 days into this whole PCVL thing (yeah, I called it a “thing”), staff has been very accommodating and willing to help me become situated in my new role as a PCVL

What do you hope to accomplish as PCVL?
At the moment, I’m excited about PST and getting the chance to see the inner-workings of what goes into creating and implementing the Peace Corps Guyana program. I hope to gain a greater understanding in regards to the background and development of this program, and Peace Corps as a whole.

When did you realize you wanted to extend?
I became interested in extending about 3 months after Mid-Service Training (MST). I realized I wasn’t fully ready to go back to the USA, but wanted to take on a role that was challenging in a different way than my 2 years in Canje. 

What is your favorite Guyanese food?
Tough question, as it depends on whether it’s every-day food that I’m cooking or specialty items that aren’t always around. For example, I generally love eating eggballs with sour and pepper sauce, pumpkin, baigon choka, and pineapple (a.k.a. “pine”) on a weekly basis; the BEST pine in the world, ya’ll. However, I am always pumped for Christmas due to Pepper Pot with homemade bread, or Hindu weddings/Jhandi’s for some finger-lickin’ Seven Curry. 

Favorite spot in Guyana you’ve visited:
Kaietuer was amazing, but I also hiked with some amazing friends and tour guides. When I found out I would be coming to Guyana, my main goal was to hike Mount Roraima, but since Venezuela is on the “no-go” list, I’m going to have to wait to check that off the bucket list. Bummer.

You’re a pro at this PCV thing! Any words of advice for GUY31/GUY32?
Be patient with integration and creating relationships. I’ve found that the best way to learn about Guyanese history, language and culture is to becoming comfortable with immersing yourself into the daily living; using host country nationals as a resource. A good way to develop a great understanding is to interact with the children as they are curious and less aloof than say, adults (for example). The children are especially willing to share their culture in their own way; whether it be through games/activities (like cricket, dog & bone, etc.), music, or teaching you Creolese while laughing at how “funny” you sound. In my experience, they also love sharing folklore/myths, which is a fun and entertaining way to learn about the diverse Guyanese culture. 


Meet Christina! Christina will be extending at her site in Region 5 for 13 months. 

Tell us about the project you are extending for:
I’m extending for lots of projects, but they aren’t flashy per se. For one thing we’ve been doing an ongoing statistical analyses of our chronic disease patients – specifically hypertensive and type 2 diabetic patients – and there isn’t that data anywhere in Guyana. It’s also a helpful way of looking at a patient over time and reflecting with them on what’s changed or see large changes. Sometimes a patient has an easier time of recognizing health factors when you say “things have been stable what happened at the end of last year that your blood pressure was going up-down- up so much?” and then for some patients you learn about family problems or that they misplaced tablets and they didn’t buy any replacements or other things that for various reasons they didn’t tell you before. It’s easy to fall into an assembly line in a busy health center and sometimes a doctor might see over 60 patients in a morning, so it improves patient and health provider relationships because then they also know that you actually are paying attention and care about how they are doing. When I started only a few patients were aware of their average blood pressure or blood sugar and where it was on the spectrum, but for every patient I make sure they know where they are at and now how it compares to previous years. And it influences other staff, too. We can even say overall how the clinic of 350 regular attending patients did as a group (hint: we did good). Most large clinics have no idea. It will be easy for health centers to monitor that once the computerized patient management software is in place, but that is an ongoing battle because a lot of structural systems need to be updated in the health centers. It’s nice software though, I’ve seen it, and I’m sad I can’t help my staff learn how to keep stats with it when it’s in place cause I don’t think it will be in the next year.

I’ve also been advising in the creation of a women’s group / nonprofit that wants to address mental health and it’s varying effects on society, and that’s been exciting to see it develop from a dream to being launched next month (fingers crossed) with an event that I’m keeping a secret from this interview to build intrigue. 

When did you realize you wanted to extend?
I think early on it was known I was going to extend. There wasn’t an a-ha moment, but I know it happened after I moved out on my own. I think my nurse in charge informed my project manager I was gonna be extending before I even talked about it.

What is your favorite Guyanese food?
Easy, dal & roti. It’s all I talk about every chicken filled conference.

Favorite spot in Guyana you’ve visited:
I am a sucker for a few spots in Guyana, but in general I will say the back dam. 

You’re a pro at this PCV thing! Any words of advice for GUY31/GUY32?
I’m far from a pro. But I would say be humble. Lots of volunteers were at your site before you and some you have heard of and some you haven’t and that’s not necessarily a comment on the work they did. They laid a lot of groundwork ahead of time for you to be doing what you are doing now. Think of Peace Corps as a big short term family and they were your ancestors. Even if you never met your great-grandma she played a role in getting you here.


And last but not least, we have Julia! Julia will be extending for 4 months at her site in Region 6. 

Tell us about the project you are extending for:
I wanted to extend for a few projects; playschool curriculum, health fair, adolescent health club, boys camp, and a few smaller projects.

When did you realize you wanted to extend?
I think I started considering extending halfway into service and it only grew stronger leading up to my first COS date. I love my community and knew I wasn’t ready to leave just yet. To be honest I don’t think I’ll ever be ready.

What is your favorite Guyanese food?
My favorite Guyanese food is probably seven curry. It has everything, you don’t need to pick!

Favorite spot in Guyana you’ve visited:
I’ve been to a few cool places in Guyana, but there is nothing like home (village in Region 6).

You’re a pro at this PCV thing! Any words of advice for GUY31/GUY32?
Ha! I don’t think I am a pro, but I appreciate you saying that. I guess my advice is two parts. One, don’t compare yourself to any other volunteers. What you do in your community might seem small to you, but it is actually incredible! Don’t sell yourself short or get down because you see another volunteer doing something great. My second piece of advice is, get to know your community and let them get to know you. I couldn’t have done anything without the support and friendships I made in my village.  

– PCV Preethi, GUY31

– PCV Kelci, GUY31

In January, recently COS’d GUY30 volunteer, Greg Skutches hosted a film festival in his Amerindian village, Moraikobai in Region 6. Peace Corps Volunteer Leaders (PCVLs) Becca and Amber went to support the efforts and see the amazing films created by Greg’s community. We had Becca share her experience in Moraikobai and sit down with Greg after the festival to learn a little more about the event! 

The weekend of January 25th-27th, 2019, Amber and I visited Greg in Moraikobai and attended the 1st Annual Film Festival.  While we were there, we were able to catch up on the comings and goings of the film society.

To reach him, we had to take a car to Mahaicony, then make our way 2 hours by boat up the Mahaicony River.  The scenery was beautiful and we saw a lot of wildlife including the scarlet ibis and Canje pheasant!  We finally made it to Maraikobai just in time to bathe in the river and get ready for the festival. 

As the sun went down, the villagers began to make their way to the benab for the main show.  The students involved in the film were first to arrive and sat attentively in the two front rows anxiously awaiting their big screen debut!  Auntie Herbie cooked food for everyone to buy and I had the best mattai I have ever eaten!  I ate two whole bags!

By the time the festival started, there were at least 200-250 people in attendance and eagerly anticipating the main event.  Greg made a small speech before the event began.  The entirety of the festival lasted about 1 ½ hours and included 22 films, 10 of which were story driven.  In total, Greg and the students spent around 300 hours writing, filming, directing and editing the movies.

The next day, we sat down with Greg to ask him about the preparation and work it took to organize the film festival and what he and the community gained from it.

Becca: What kind of and amount of planning went into organizing the film festival?

Greg: In the beginning, I wanted it to be a grand event; red carpet, awards, however, as time went by, my priorities changed. It became more about the students and what was good for them and the community and less about who would get awards.  Every student put as much effort as they could into it and I wanted to showcase that effort as well as entertain instead of making it a competition. The film festival alone was the right way to showcase the students.
In the lead up to the film festival, many community members helped and were supportive during the process.  The village council agreed to the use of the benab and to keep the generator running an extra hour the night of the festival. Auntie Herbie made delicious food she sold for everyone to enjoy, and Sir Akheem (a teacher) provided technical support. Brandon, the medex, donated his labor and Oumou donated her time and support from the beginning and throughout the process.

Becca: Did you have interest and/or experience with filmmaking before Peace Corps?

Greg: I worked a summer camp at Robert College in Turkey for two summers (2012 and 2014).  It is an English immersion camp aimed at teaching students English in creative ways. While working these two summers, I created two hip hop groups, Bosphorus and Boys and the Istanbuls that would write and perform their own songs. They not only were able to increase their English proficiency, they were able to work on composition, grammar, creative writing and storytelling. In addition, the art of music videos also helped to devise a cultural exchange between the American and Turkish ideas of videos. To get the videos ready for the “public,” I had to edit them which is where my interest and knowledge in filming began.

Becca: How were you able to tie the filmmaking process in with the Education Framework?

Greg: The Education Framework I am using (GLIFE) lists that “primary school students will improve literacy skills, raise academic success, and develop leadership skills through classroom and extracurricular activities.” I took this and turned it into a Film Society for the grade 6 students to learn sentence structure, grammar, composition, use of quotations, writing dialogue and creative writing.  It also was used to increase motivation and confidence in the students. All films were developed, written and performed by the students.  They even directed and filmed the scenes. The only thing I did was provide them with the guidance needed to complete the story lines and perform them, edit the films and add the music. To provide a frame of reference. I shared clips of movies to prompt their creativity. 

In addition to working within the framework, I made sure to stress the importance of the project and represent each student in a positive way.  While filming, I would say “Quiet on the set,” and “action” to stress professionality.  The students started yelling it as well! In regards to the script, guns, knives and any other weapons were off limits.  The punches happening in the films were made to look fake (think Batman style “pow”) and when the female students were involved, the fighting scenes were made to be more funny and less violent (i.e. two people punched themselves when the one being aimed at ducked) to curb the domestic violence look of it.

Becca: In what other ways have you used filmmaking in your community?

Greg: Community members have made cameos in the films and there are still more movies to be made before I leave. I have also been talking with the village council about preparing a tourism video. 
GT&T is funding a guy who I have talked with to design costumes based on the Amerindian culture for heritage, village days and Mashramani. We are working with the community to use local resources. 

Becca: How many students were impacted by the film society?

Greg: About 75 students were a part of the film society which is 75% of the school.

Becca: How has the film festival impacted the community?

Greg: It has greatly highlighted technology, community was unaware of what a projector was and introduced various ways to use it in the context of in and out of the classroom.  It has also shown a traditional place like a benab can be used for other activities which include technology, frequently playing movies on Friday or Saturday nights.  Some of the videos were compilations of photos I have taken throughout my two years and by putting them to music in a slideshow, I was able to provide scenes of the community and village life through the lens of an American. There is also drone footage of Morakobai from above which the community had probably never seen before.  All of these videos will be left for the community to enjoy long after I have said goodbye.

Becca:  In closing, what are you overall thoughts of the film festival, preparation and response?

Greg:  I was really stressed because I wanted it to be represented and received well .I realized it was not that complicated to organize and complete and was surprised how emotional I was at the end. In the end, I feel really good about the product and how it was viewed and it makes my heart feel good to know I am able to leave something for them to watch in the future. I am now looking forward to the next project.

During the festival, Amber and I talked with the community as they were coming in to the benab.  There was a story told to Amber about a granny who received instruction from her grandson’s mother, who resided in Georgetown, to attend the film festival because her grandson was featured in it.  His mother was so full of pride, she insisted Granny come out to see it!  By the end, all of the parents were delighted at what the students had accomplished.

Before we left, Amber and I also talked to a few of the students featured in the films.  When asked how they felt seeing themselves on the “big screen” Zane, a grade 6 boy, said “It makes me happy.” 

Alas, all good things must come to an end, and we had to make our way back to Georgetown all the while thinking of Captain Guyana and how we wished he would save us from our adult responsibilities and take us back to Maraikobai.

– Recently COS’d PCVL Rebecca, GUY 28

We’re back with PCV Cribs pt.2! As more GUY31 volunteers move into independent housing, we’re here to bring you the scoop on their new digs. This edition of PCV Cribs is a special one…hinterland edition! Two GUY31 PCV’s, Martin and Frances were kind enough to showcase their hinterland homes for this edition of GAFF.

Martin’s New Digs

Hi, I’m Martin and welcome to my crib! I live in an Amerindian village in Region 2 and recently moved into my own home. I live in a small two bedroom house with a great breeze and room for my hammock (a necessity)! I have a small kitchen with a gas stove, as well as my own outdoor latrine. It’s very close to my old host family, which is great and my house is always open, and I get a lot of visitors! 

Frances’s Crib

“Hey hey! Welcome to my home! It has all of the essentials you could need with added room for PLENTY of photos and reading space for all my village kiddos. Typically you will find me chilling in my hammock with my tea when I am not outside playing cricket! 


– PCV Preethi, GUY31

Nearly one year ago, 38 simultaneously excited and terrified Americans boarded a midnight flight to South America. Those somewhat delirious volunteers arrived to a lush, rainy backdrop and began what is sure to be a hugely influential love-affair with the country of Guyana. As the one-year anniversary for GUY31’s arrival approaches, GAFF would like to reflect on the accomplishments, experiences, and hopes for the future of a few of our volunteers.

“Oh shoot, they said to bring an umbrella but where did I pack it?” was Clare’s very relatable first thought when arriving to country. For many, the packing process was a stressful one filled with many internal arguments about what you may or may not have needed. And like Clare, many had their umbrellas packed away or had chosen to forgo them altogether. One of many rookie mistakes the GUY31s have learned and grown from. Now, you’ll be hard-pressed to find anyone in the cohort without the absolute essentials on them wherever they go: umbrella, water bottle, Diotame. Another very common reaction upon arrival was being intensely overwhelmed by the new sights and feelings. PCV Katie says “I just open-mouth stared at everything around me and nervously bumbled about as I tried to get my bearings.” 12 months later and many of us are still bumbling with our mouths open in awe. Nevertheless, we’re taking in every experience we can.

There are a lot of misconceptions or over-exaggerations about what service can look like. What many of our GUY31 PCVs have learned is that service is widely different from all of the pictures we carried in our minds. “Peace Corps isn’t even a little bit like I imagined it would be but I’m so glad for that,” is what Katie had to say about her time here. Clare shared a similar sentiment, “Peace Corps life is way more difficult, way more uncomfortable, and ultimately, way more joyous and fulfilling than I ever could have planned for ahead of time.” And though the interactions and experiences in-country may not be what Clare, Katie, and most other volunteers expected, it is clear that they have surpassed all predictions in the best way possible.
Since last June, volunteers have gotten to experience an array of activities and holidays. They have attended weddings, Thanksgivings, Jhandi, baby showers, and so many other events that have allowed them a front-row seat to Guyanese culture. A highlight for many was the celebration of Phagwah, or Holi; “It’s the marathon of holidays filled with powder for days,” said Clare about her favorite experience from her first year of service. “The symbolism and traditions are really powerful and the excitement [for the holiday] is palpable.”

Likewise, PCVs have had the opportunity to introduce their own activities and traditions into Guyanese communities. “The most rewarding thing so far has been teaching and performing with my dance team. Dance is such an important part of who I am,” reflected Katie “Getting to share that with the people I love here has made a huge impact on my service.”

One year in, it’s easy to look back on the time we’ve spent here and think about all of the crazy excitement and intense uncertainty we carried with us to our new home in Guyana. There were worries we probably could have eased and things we had certainly over-looked. But either way, we’re here now; A year older, bearing tans and sunburns, fervently thinking, planning, and wishing for all of the things we want for our second year of service. So, congratulations GUY31. One down, one to go!

– PCV Kelci, GUY31


FROG (Friends & Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Guyana) 

Welcomes New Board Members!! 

FROG’s new President + Chairman of the Board Mason Richards is proud to announce three new members to the Board: Nalini Tiwari Greenan, Jay Boodheshwar, and Stacey Alphonso. The new board members will focus on enhancing FROG’s mission and strategizing innovative ways of funding and supporting local programs, NGOs, and communities in and around Guyana. “We’re excited to bring in some professionals who are in the top of their fields, who are also very connected to Guyana’s history, culture and the people,” states Richards, who plans to recruit a few more board members in addition to creating a national Advisory Board of former Guyana Peace Corps Volunteers and previous leaders in the organization. Princess Ariana Austin Makonnen, FROG’s “Goodwill Ambassador” will continue to collaborate with Mason Richards and the board for upcoming projects and events

Join us in congratulating FROG’s new Board Members. 

 Nalini Tiwari Greenan was born in Guyana and moved to New York in 1980 with her family. She is a graduate of Columbia University and lives in Manhattan. Nalini started her advertising career at Young & Rubicam in New York and now owns and manages a marketing company that specializes in the Tourism, Alcohol and Fashion sectors and an importing company that imports Alcohol and Specialty Foods into the USA. She is passionate about supporting organizations that advocate equal rights for all regardless of race, religion, gender or sexual orientation and that empower women and children.

Monique L. Nelson is chair and CEO of UWG, an insight-driven, award- winning, agency. An industry thought leader, her Agency is best known for its insights into culture, aspirations and breakthrough creative product. Her mission is to connect forward-thinking brands to the more than $1.3 trillion- dollar spending in the US multicultural market. Ms. Nelson is proudly half Guyanese and half Texan, with her father hailing from Georgetown, Guyana prior to immigrating to Brooklyn, NY in the 1930’s. In addition, Monique was honored to serve as Marshall in the Iconic West Indian Day Parade 2016. 

Jay Boodheshwar emigrated with his parents, brother and sister from Guyana in 1979, as a 6-year old.  He grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, graduating from Berea High School with honors.  Mr. Boodheshwar earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Parks and Recreation Administration from Bowling Green State University. He also earned his Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Florida Atlantic University.

Mr. Boodheshwar currently serves the Town of Palm Beach, Florida, as the Deputy Town Manager.  Before his service with the Town, Mr. Boodheshwar served as the Director of Parks and Recreation for the City of Massillon, Ohio, Assistant Director of Parks and Recreation for the City of East Chicago, Indiana, Youth Services Area Manager for the City of Bloomington, Indiana, and as Recreation Supervisor for the Town of Munster, Indiana.  Mr. Boodheshwar has been active with numerous professional and non-profit boards. He currently serves as the Chairman of the Town of Palm Beach United Way, Vice-President of the Palm Beach County City Management Association, Director with the National Alliance for Youth Sports, and Member of the Florida Atlantic University School of Public Administration Alumni Society Board.He currently resides with his wife, Anne, in West Palm Beach, Florida, along with his two daughters.

 Theatrical marketer, PR influencer, and creative producer, Stacey Alphonso gained international experience early in her career in Guyana, South America, as director of communications for the country’s largest advertising agency. She wrote and produced television and radio commercials while heading the marketing and PR efforts for the country’s largest trade show “GuyExpo”. During this time, she also served as press agent to the country’s Minister of Trade and Tourism.

On her return to the US, she threw her efforts into reaching the unmet need for diversity marketing. Mecca Communications was created as her solution. For over 15 years, she brought her in-depth understanding of target marketing to “Communities of Color,” winning several awards along the way. 

FROG’s President + Chairman of the Board, Mason Richards (left); and FROG’s Goodwill Ambassador Princess Ariana Austin Makonnen (right) .



  • FROG (Friends & Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Guyana) has awarded a micro-grant to Arthurville Primary School on Wakenaam Island for “The World Map Project” an infamous project done by Peace Corps Volunteers all over the world. The focus of the project is to collaborate with teachers and parents to increase literacy levels at grades 1 to 4. Current Guyana Peace Corps Volunteers applied for the micro-grant on behalf of the school, and will facilitate the project which will begin with 5 lessons addressing different cultures around the world, 5 lessons looking at art formats from around the world, and 5 lessons to focus on maps and cartography. These lessons will utilize books from the library, videos from the internet, and craft supplies. The students will be able to build necessary skills like teamwork, leadership and delegation. FROG is excited to fund this project because if gives students the opportunity to create a sustainable work of art that will hang at their school for years to come. Wakenaam Island one of the largest islands in the Essequibo River in Guyana. Arthurville Primary School a small school with one class for each grade and a total population of 68 students.

  • FROG President Mason Richards will be attending this summer’s NPCA Peace Corps Connect 2019 conference in Austin, Texas – at the intersection of creativity and impact. During Peace Corps Connect 2019: Innovation for Good, Peace Corps communities from across the country will mix with local changemakers, and learn strategies and best practices to create more sustainable communities. There will be two and a half days full of keynote speakers, expert panels, interactive sessions, and a whole lot of fun.

    • Peace Corps Connect 2019 is hosted by NPCA and the Heart of Texas Peace Corps Association (HoTPCA), Austin’s local RPCV association. Located in Texas’s capital city of Austin, HoTPCA keeps the Third Goal alive through chapter meetups, community service, and a lot discussions around the dinner table.

FROG’s New Address:

FROG (Friends & Retuned Peace Corps Volunteers of Guyana)

712 H St NE 

Unit #827 

Washington, DC 20002


– Mason Richards, Chairman of FROG’s Board
-Edited by PCV Preethi, GUY31 

Not sure what workouts to do in Guyana without a gym? Fear no more, GUY31 PCV Liz is here to help, with a workout set that you can do with local items. You can replace free weights with cans of food, bags of rice, or other creative things you can think of! If you would like to share ideas of other cool workouts that you like to do in Guyana, email GAFF at

Squats– Keep your chest out. Pretend like your sitting in a chair or actually sit in a chair (lightly tap). Make sure your knees don’t go over your toes. Add a jump for increased difficulty and extra cardio. To make it harder, hold some heavy objects either at your sides or in the front of you at the center of your chest. 

Sumo squats- toes point 45* out. Squat to a little below 90*and stand back up or hold the squat for 5 sec each rep. To make it harder, hold a heavy object at the center of your chest just like the below photo making sure to keep your posture good, with your chest out and shoulder blades back.

Hip Raises- Lie on the floor and lift your hips as high as you can, putting pressure on your upper shoulders. Take a bag of rice and hold it on your hips to add weight, increasing the strength of your butt.

 Bicep curls– squeeze abs, chest out. Holding canned foods or bottles filled with sand. This is also a great workout with grocery bags from the market.

Shoulder Press- Lift both arms over your head and back down slowly. Can also be done one arm at a time. Can also be done sitting down.  This exercise is great with cans of food, or bags of rice.

Side Arm raises- Palms facing down or thumbs facing up, lift up and down slowly. Great with cans of food or light grocery bags.

Bench Press- Lying on the ground with your whole back touching the floor, take a heavy object, like a bag of rice or jug of water and press it up away from your body. Be sure not to drop the object on your face.

Russian Twists- with or without weights. Make sure to turn your head with your arms! This is great workout for your abs and your sides and can be done with coconuts, heavy bags of food, or water bottles.

Sit Up- Cross your arms if they are too easy. If you don’t feel any soreness hold a heavy object while you do. Bags of rice are great.

 Calf raises!  Holding grocery bags or bags of rice on your shoulders, raise up and down slowly on your toes.

– PCV Liz, GUY 31
-Edited by PCV Preethi, GUY 31

If you haven’t already gotten to know Peace Corps Guyana’s very own Nurse Jean, here’s your chance! Nurse Jean serves as one of Peace Corps Guyana’s Medical Officers, as well as the head for Peer Support Network (PSN). She’s a lovely lady who is always willing to offer support to any volunteer, and loves to chat so visit her office on the first floor of the Peace Corps Office! PSN sat down with Nurse Jean to get to know more about her.

Hometown/ Region: Moruca, Region 1
When did you become a nurse: Graduated as a Midwife in August of 1979, A Registered Nurse in August 1988 and Post Grad -MEDEX in October 1991. Worked for the Ministry of Health , now MOPH and served in Region 1 and 4.
When did you start working for PC: October 15, 1995 with a 2 year break in contract, during this time I worked for the British Virgin Islands, Health Services Authority as a Community Nurse. ( 10, 1996 to 10, 1998) . Rehired by Peace Corps Guyana in 11, 1998.
What’s been your favorite part about working with PC: My favorite part of working for Peace Corps is visiting with Peace Corps Volunteers at their sites and seeing the communities they serve through their eyes.
Favorite thing about being a nurse? I’d like to answer this question as it relates to my current job. (I do love something about each facet of my profession)
As an RN for Peace Corps my favorite thing is learning about the individuality of every PCV. It is unique, my office affords the time for each person and you know, as much as you are making the difference in peoples’ lives, you are making a difference in mine and I feel very proud that I can support you, to make your dream come through. And for what you do, so good, knowing that I could not do, makes me tremendously happy.
Favorite food: A nice piece of lukanani fish in cadacura sauce with hot pepper and cassava bread.( Indigenous dish)
If you could travel anywhere where would you go: To those parts of my country, I have not visited, Puruni in Region 7, Parima in Region 8 and Karasabi in Region 9.
#1 piece of advice you would give to the incoming cohort: “Life is a gift, it is not how fast you can run or high you can climb, it is how good you can bounce.”

– GUY 31 PSN Members
-Edited by PCV Preethi, GUY 31


Welcome back to another episode of Rad Recipes with your hosts – the GAFF crew. Today we have some extra special recipes for you guys and if you can master them you WILL get an additional +2 on your final integration score.

Image source: Wikipedia commons

Pepperpot – A Guyanese classic and especially popular in the holiday season.  Here’s what you’ll need:
A bunch of meat – (probably beef)
1 cup cassareep
bit of cinnamon 
big handful of garlic cloves garlic
peppers (wiri wiri, you know, those round red ones)
half a cup brown sugar
nuff salt
8-12 cups water
couple of onions

First, warm up a big pot with some oil and let it heat up. Toss in everything besides the water and mix mix mix. Then, pour in the water and bring to a boil. If you don’t want it too spicy, leave the peppers unbroken/cut. You’re gonna boil till you see stuff/fats rise to the surface and should skim that top layer off and toss it. Once that’s out of the way, lower to a simmer, cover, and let it go for about 3 hours. Once braised, it should be nice and soft. Pour out, garnish, and enjoy your spicy meat treat.

Homemade peanut butter
This recipe comes from Alton Brown, a favorite of mine, and if you’ve only ever had store bought jars of nut-butta then I really recommend you give it a try.
You’ll need:
15 ounces of peanuts
1.5 tablespoons of oil
1 teaspoon salt
1.5 teaspoons of honey

First, if you want to try roasting the nuts yourself, preheat the oven to three fitty. Wash, dry, toss in oil, and salt the peanuts before laying them out on a tray. You’re gonna leave them in the oven for about twenty minutes, during that time open facebook, close it, open instagram, scroll for a bit, close it, and reopen facebook to see nothing new, at which point the timer should go off. You’re going to want to remove the skins of the peanuts, which should be pretty easy if you just rub em together in your hands. For the final step, you’ll be mixing the honey, some salt, and peanuts. I would recommend either furious anger or a food processor. A blender would also work but you’ll want to add a bit of coconut/palm oil so as not be too tough on the blenders machinery (legend has it, avocado also works for this purpose).

– PCV Owen, GUY 31

Now, Peace Corps is all about working at the community level. Sustainability and realistic funding goals is the name of the game. Haven’t you ever wondered though, what kind of things you could do if funding wasn’t a limitation? Some of Guy31 offered to share their visions with us:

Kori: I would build a gym for my community center in Black Bush

Katie: Sustainable greenhouse/classroom and have students grow plants for science projects but also cook them for dinner. Also, a theater/concert thing or a research trip to iwokrama with mah club.

Meredith: I’d probably want to build a youth center in my community. Like a place for kids to hang out, play games/sports and generally stay out of trouble. I’d ask for funding so jobs can be created for this youth center.

Clare: Zip line system around the island so students and teachers could zip line into school daily.

Rachel: I’d like to attempt to redesign and rebuild the market/backstreet of my community to make it safer, more child friendly, and make it more positive community space especially since it’s so central […] Think: bright murals, streetlights, less congestion, fewer small alleys, for a start. Id like to couple the improvement of the physical space with activities to help community members working in those spaces – namely, training to help them learn entrepreneurship, personal finance, literacy, and empowerment. 

Preethi: Community center. Also a computer lab. And a healthy food cafe, it would hosts events and stuff for kids of all ages.

Martin: Black-water water-park. 

Akeesha: Probably a camp glow for the whole region that would provide food and housing.

Liz: A track camp where I give kids free shoes and T-shirts.

Ella: 1. Build a community swimming pool and teach swim lessons to people of all ages and train lifeguards. […] Guyana is the land of many waters and so many in my community don’t know how to swim and actively fear the water. [I] would love to share that joy and life saving skill with my community. 
2. Build a library. I just love public libraries and all he services they can provide a community are valuable. Books. Computers with WIFI. Printing. Educated librarians to assist with research and teach new skills. Story hours.

– PCV Owen, GUY31


JT and Kelsey are the guy 31 volunters in region 5. Recently, they’ve began a health project along with the Ministry of Public Health and local teachers. The daring reporters of GAFF are proud to bring you a short interview with these two amazing volunteers. 

Can you start off by giving a brief description of your project?
Kelsey: Here in Region 10 we are reinstating health clubs in all secondary schools throughout the region in an effort to address social issues experienced by youth. The driving belief behind the project is that an investment in the youth is an in investment in the nation’s future. 
JT: In a nutshell, we are working with the leader of the adolescent health unit in the ministry of public health to start health clubs in all the secondary schools in Linden and are supporting teachers in schools without Peace Corps volunteers or experience in HFLE.

How did the plan for this project begin?
Kelsey: While I had my own plans to establish a health club at my school, it just so happens that the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) had the same goal at the very same time. The stars aligned and we got to work! 
JT: The plan was initiated by both the ministry of PH and The The Children sake foundation, a local Linden NGO that has an Adolescent health unit of their own. Their goals serendipitously with peace Corps goal of starting health clubs in the secondary schools so an relationship was established to work towards the common goal.

Who in your community has been involved?
Kelsey: The successes of the health clubs up to this point is largely due to the high level of cooperation from a wide variety of partners. The MoPH Adolescent Health Unit in collaboration with the local NGO For the Children’s Sake Foundation has been pivotal in spreading the word, establishing credibility and providing necessary training. At a community level, our health club collaborates with the local health center, prominent businesses, PTA, general school staff and local government.
JT: Those involved directly include Peace Corps, the ministry of PH, for the children sake foundation, and HFLE teachers in the five secondary schools

Have you had any difficulties?
Kelsey: One difficulty has been finding consistent leadership among the students. Initial interest was very high, but the number of students who come to meetings is sometimes very low. With each successful project, we have more and more students that understand the impact of the club and wanting to get involved. It will simply take a little time to establish ourselves. 
JT: The main difficulties have been gathering and maintaining student interest in the club as they begin to start up.

What advice do you have for volunteers interested in similar projects?
Kelsey:  My advice for volunteers interested in starting clubs is to not be afraid to ask for help. You can’t do it alone, and you shouldn’t! Whether its donations, ideas, participation or leadership, you never know what someone has to offer unless you ask. The more people involved, the more impactful your club will be.
JT: Advice I would give to others looking to pursue a similar project would be to establish the relationships with other HFLE teachers early, maintain frequent contact and schedule meetings periodically to keep a consistent level of peer support and motivation.

What has the community reaction been?
Kelsey: Reactions have been all positive with many community members asking how they can be involved. People are eager to share their ideas of what they want to see in the community. Many people have expressed their gratitude that more and more opportunities are becoming available for the students to get involved.
JT: Community reaction has been one of cautious optimism. During community walks interviews as part of the needs assessment, people generally responded positively about the idea of having school health clubs do work in the community but also addressed the failure of other similar projects in the past.

– PCV Owen, GUY31

At site you have to keep your mind sharp, so here are a few brain teasers to keep your brains going. 

First, a classic one: 

A volunteer has to get a dog, a chicken, and a sack of corn across a river. He has a rowboat, and it can only carry him and one other thing. If the dog and the chicken are left together, the dog will eat the chicken. If the chicken and the corn are left together, the chicken will eat the corn. How does the volunteer do it?

Next, from a LSAT study guide, a logic puzzle set:

An athlete has six trophies to place on an empty three-shelf display case. The six trophies are bowling trophies F, G, and H and tennis trophies J, K, and L. The three shelves of the display case are labelled 1 to 3 from top to bottom. Any of the shelves can remain empty. The athlete’s placement of trophies must conform to the following conditions:

  • J and L cannot be on the same shelf

  • F must be on the shelf immediately above the shelf that L is on.

  • No single shelf can hold all three bowling trophies

  • K cannot be on Shelf 2

Question 1. If G and H are on Shelf 2, which of the following must be true?

1. K is on Shelf 1
2. L is on Shelf 2
3. J is on Shelf 3
4. G and J are on the same shelf
5. F and K are on the same shelf

Question 2. If no tennis trophies are on Shelf 3, which pair of trophies must be on the same shelf?

1. F and G
2. L and H
3. L and G
4. K and J
5. G and H

Question 3. If J is on shelf 2, which of the following must also be on Shelf 2?

1. K
2. G
3. F
4. L
5. H

Question 4. If Shelf 1 remains empty, which of the following must be FALSE?

1. H and F are on the same shelf
2. There are exactly three trophies on Shelf 2
3. G and H are on the same shelf
4. There are exactly two trophies on Shelf 3
5. G and K are on the same shelf

Question 5. If L and G are on the same shelf, and if one of the shelves remains empty, which of the following must be true?

1. If H is on Shelf 3, then J is on Shelf 2.
2. K and L are on the same shelf.
3. If H is on Shelf 2, then J is on Shelf 3.
4. F and K are on the same shelf.
5. If J is on Shelf 2, then H is on Shelf 1.

Lastly, it may have been awhile since you practiced your algebra, so here’s a GRE practice problem published by the Princeton review:
a and b are integers. 
a 2 = b 3
(A) Quantity A is greater. 
(B) Quantity B is greater. 
(C) The two quantities are equal. 
(D) The relationship cannot be determined from the information given. 

,,˙(p) sᴉ ɹǝʍsuɐ ʇɔǝɹɹoɔ ǝɥ┴ ˙pǝʇɐuᴉɯᴉlǝ ǝq ʍou uɐɔ (∀) ǝɔᴉoɥɔ ‘ɹǝʇɐǝɹƃ sʎɐʍlɐ ʇou sᴉ ∀ ʎʇᴉʇuɐnQ ǝsnɐɔǝq ˙lɐnbǝ ǝɹɐ sǝᴉʇᴉʇuɐnb ǝɥʇ ‘ɹǝʌǝʍoɥ ‘ǝsɐɔ sᴉɥʇ uI ˙ɯǝlqoɹd ǝɥʇ uᴉ pǝpᴉʌoɹd uoᴉʇɐnbǝ ǝɥʇ ʎɟsᴉʇɐs sɹǝqɯnu ǝsǝɥʇ ‘uᴉɐƃ∀ ˙ǝuo = q = ɐ ƃuᴉʞɐɯ sɐ ɥɔns uoɯɯoɔ ssǝl ƃuᴉɥʇǝɯos ʎɹ[┴]˙pǝʇɐuᴉɯᴉlǝ ǝq uɐɔ (Ɔ) puɐ (q) sǝɔᴉoɥɔ ‘lɐnbǝ sʎɐʍlɐ sǝᴉʇᴉʇuɐnb oʍʇ ǝɥʇ ǝɹɐ ɹou ɹǝʇɐǝɹƃ sʎɐʍlɐ ʇou sᴉ q ʎʇᴉʇuɐnQ ǝsnɐɔǝq [˙˙˙] ˙ǝǝɹɥʇ = q puɐ ʇɥƃᴉǝ = ɐ sɐ ɥɔns ǝǝɹɥʇ q = oʍʇ ɐ uoᴉʇɐnbǝ ǝɥʇ ʎɟsᴉʇɐs ʇɐɥʇ q puɐ ɐ ɹoɟ sɹǝƃǝʇuᴉ ʇuǝɹǝɟɟᴉp ʎɹ┴,, :ɥʇɐɯ Ǝɹפ ˙∀ p Ɔ p q :dǝɹd ┴∀S˥ ˙ʇǝs ǝʇǝldɯoɔ ǝɥʇ oʇ ǝɯᴉʇ sᴉɥʇ ‘uᴉɐƃɐ uǝʞɔᴉɥɔ ǝɥʇ ɥʇᴉʍ uɹnʇǝɹ ‘ʎllɐuᴉℲ ˙ʇɐoq ʎʇdɯǝ ǝɥʇ ɥʇᴉʍ ʞɔɐq ǝɯoɔ ‘ƃop ǝɥʇ ɥʇᴉʍ ʞuɐq ɹɐɟ ǝɥʇ uo uɹoɔ ʇɐɥʇ ʇnd ‘uǝʞɔᴉɥɔ ǝɥʇ ƃuᴉʌɐǝl uɹoɔ ǝɥʇ ǝʞɐʇ ‘ǝpᴉs ʇsɹᴉɟ ǝɥʇ oʇ ʞɔɐq uǝʞɔᴉɥɔ ǝɥʇ ǝʞɐʇ ‘ʞuɐq ɹɐɟ ǝɥʇ oʇ ʇᴉ ǝʞɐʇ ‘ƃop ǝɥʇ dn ʞɔᴉd ‘ʞɔɐq ǝɯoɔ ‘ʞuɐq ɹɐɟ ǝɥʇ uo ʇᴉ ǝʌɐǝl ‘ʇsɹᴉɟ ssoɹɔɐ uǝʞɔᴉɥɔ ǝɥʇ ǝʞɐ┴ :ǝlppᴉɹ

– PCV Owen, GUY31

Peer Support Network

Mission- To support Guyana’s PCVs by addressing on going physical, mental, emotional needs experienced during service, and fostering morale through encouraging healthy coping. 

Current PSN Committee Members: Elizabeth Quick, Kori Baudoin, Adam Brasher, and Katie Bortness


For More Information: 

Peer Support Network: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Why is this person calling me every month?

As peer support network, we want to reach out to all volunteers to check in on how things are going, provide a listening ear, and be of support if you need us. The PSN group has split up the GUY 31 cohort, and we each are responsible for checking on 7-8 volunteers each month. If you feel more comfortable talking to another PSN member, you can always reach out to them.

Are we obligated to talk EVERY month?

No you are not obligated to talk every month if you don’t want to! And if you don’t want to talk on the phone, no problem, just let us know which method of a check in would best suit YOU (phone calls, text message, or email).

I am thinking about seeing a counselor, how do I go about setting that up?

First, you will have to talk to our amazing and supportive staff member Nurse Jean! She will go through a baseline survey with you, maybe will last an hour, then she will refer you to Jennel to set up an appointment. The counselor is located in Georgetown.

What if I don’t like the counselor?

If it wasn’t right for you and you need further counseling from someone else, Nurse Jean or Dr. Millie can refer you to the Counseling Outreach Unit (COU), which is a Peace Corps counseling service based from the US which offer services over the phone.

What is medical evacuation for mental health? Will I get separated if I get evacuated?

Reference  Manual Section 220
If  a V/T has or develops a medical condition that cannot be medically accommodated or resolved within 45 days , the V/Trainee can be medically separated . The decision is made by Office of Health Services in consultation with the PCMO and other appropriate consultants.

This could apply for any health problem including physical, mental health, traumatic experience .

Volunteer is advised that they can appeal their medical separation ( Manual Section 282) and follow the process for the appeal.

And how long does that last? Each case is different e.g. Someone had a broken bone in the wrist and the resolution is 3 months and is cleared by their doctor and wants to return. They can appeal their case and request for reinstatement.

The decision is actually made by the Director of Medical services after a full case review.



Diversity and Inclusion Support Committee


Mission- The Diversity Inclusion and Support Committee will educate, include, and support a diverse volunteer and staff population and encourage an open dialogue about diversity and inclusivity in a multidimensional framework that incorporates volunteers, trainees, staff, and host country nationals.

Current DISC Committee Members: Kelsey Fontenot, Akeesha Giddings, Martin Alexis, and Jessie Cussac

For More Information:

Volunteer Advisory Council


Mission- The Peace Corps Guyana Volunteer Advisory Council (VAC) shall be the formal representational body for the Peace Corps Volunteers (PCVs) in Guyana. VAC acts as facilitators and mediators between all PCVs in-country and PC staff by assisting in the communication of current issues, concerns and suggestions. VAC also serves to support the fostering and strengthening of the larger PC Community (inclusive of PCVs, Staff, Counterparts, Host Families, etc.)

Current VAC Committee Members: Rachel Ansley, Frances Christianson, and Tamara Win

For More Information:

Editorial Board/GAFF Newsletter

Mission- The mission of the GAFF Newsletter is to provide a creative outlet for current volunteers to publicize events, share experiences and achievements, and learn about others perspectives on living in Guyana as a Peace Corps Volunteer. The regular distribution of the newsletter serves to enhance connections among current Peace Corps Guyana Volunteers to Peace Corps Guyana staff, Returned Peace Corps Volunteers, family and friends back home thereby supporting the overall mission of the third goal of Peace Corps, “to help promote a better understanding of Guyanese on the part of Americans.”

Current GAFF Committee Members: Preethi Murthy, Samantha Daisy (GUY30), Kelci Benesch, and Owen MkNelly


For More Information:

Guy31: If you haven’t already, please message Adrian Fredrick ( about computer account access and how to set up an account. You won’t be able to log into the office computers until you do. 

The GAFF: Spring 2019
Compiled by Chief Editor: PCV Preethi, GUY 31

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