Thursday, January 27, 2011

Happiness according to travelwoman 1/27/11

Thank you for all the conversations and great ideas. Communicating through the blog was a great experience and now I have some more creative ideas for teaching. My happiness includes you ::))

The meaning of happiness creeps up on me. It is always like this. I've traveled often, yet, this feeling of exhilaration is like a slow intoxication. It always surprises.

Sitting in the cafe today I again realized a sense of happiness. Lately, I've found the words to name it. In front of me was a good book and a cup of warm decaf. I felt the tiredness in my muscles, but the soreness was less and I'd had a good night's sleep. I was rested enough to think and, therefore, the memories tumbled in and, I again felt a sense of achievement. I'd done it again - made a plan to travel and executed it. It was like having an unknown "bucket list" and recognizing the achievement of a goal in the middle of a surprise party.

This feeling of happiness cannot be stymied by my body's intent to let me know that I am middle aged. The sense of freedom erased the damage to my hip the drunk driver donated and the accidental strain on my lower back. I walked free for almost 20 days in Guyana and the feeling of control of my own actions was in itself a high. Forging ahead with my own dream to create educational programs in Guyana made me feel light in the midst of fighting the middle age spread. Actually, these travels also continue to motivate me to be physically healthy. So, back to those spin classes in Santa Barbara.

As time passes and I travel, the meaning of my life becomes even more clear and my personal smile stretches and stretches. The sense of freedom comes with a growing confidence and the knowledge that I am moving in the right direction.

I must also say that this sense of happiness also comes because of love and it enhances my ability to love. None of this is possible without the warm affection and continued support of loved ones. I must thank my mother for giving me both of these gifts. And, I recognize that in giving me these gifts she made it possible for me to find bonds with so many others.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Food for thought - 1/25/11

I'm at the airport after a pleasant ride and a good discussion again. I have a number of issues to present for discussion. I think they are important points to mention for those of us who care about Guyana, who discuss Guyana, who criticize Guyana, who contribute to Guyana, who are planning to return to Guyana, who think about the past and the future of Guyana..... All of these points were brought to my attention by a number of different Guyanese who live in Guyana. A few of them are Guyanese who returned to Guyana over 10 years ago.

So, I have to give you the good first. This is the kind of good I appreciate. At the airport, it was quiet. I approached the area where they check your bags. I got to the bins and a woman walked over and asked for my passport. She had a pleasant face and helped me sort my things into different bins - shoes went with the computer, the bag with the coat and the hand luggage. I beeped as I went through and another woman started moving in my direction - her smile was slow and with an easy swagger she approached me and proceeded to pat me down as if she was hugging a daughter. After that the woman asked me to open my bag. As I opened the bag I told her that I had cameras and cords in it and she said to me something like .. “Yes ah see dem ah jus’ wan’ mek sure yuh ain’ gon tie up deh pilot” an’ a big grin split sche cheeks.

I laughed and kept laughing and thought of all the women in the market places and in the hotel who found endearments to use with me all the time - baby, honey. Yes, I’m sure they use them with everyone and ah like that. More than that, I like that they made me feel as if it was personal, motherly, and at home. I entered the restroom at the airport and the toilet was not flushing as it should. When I came out, as I was washing my hands, the woman in charge of cleaning came in and she said to be “baby did it flush fuh you?” How could I not smile and explain that it was not doing its job completely. “It’s okay baby – ay’ll tek care of it.” Okay, let me confess that I totally melt when I feel spoiled.

All of the taxi drivers felt and acted like brothers. Yes, they were all referred to me by some friend so I felt safe and relaxed, but they also shared their thoughts and observations in a friendly way. I believe it could be risky to be frank about circumstances (I was told this by a woman in the market) so , in a way, they displayed a certain amount of trust.

Leavin' on a jet plane.... 1/25/11

Today I leave. How do I feel? A little sad, but I'm making arrangements to be back as soon as I can. I intend to start an education program in Lethem. The trip was worth it and my interactions with people were filled with friendliness and a great deal of shared sentiment. If there is a way to describe "home" Guyana has all the elements for me.

I have a few days in NY and then I am off to California and my students.

At the end of May I hope to be in Curacao.

I'm off for a walk and I'll check in one more time before I leave. Maybe my camera will find something interesting at the airport.

Monday, January 24, 2011

deh las' Monday an' ah tired tired tired - 1/24/11

Ah really tired; dis mornin' ah tought ah had deh energy to tek a vigorous walk down to shop fuh gifts by the post office and den walk down Robb Street to Bourda fuh buy some fruit. Well, ay ain't mek it so far.

Deh hot wata was troublesome dis mornin' den ah had to axe meself since when ay need hot wata in Guyana... stewups. When ay get over dat comebackee behavior ah bade and get ready and guh downstairs. Ah had a good conversation an' eggs wid plantain an' cassava.

Ah dress and mek it downtown an' buy some really nice gifts and a tek a photo of deh girl so people could find sche and go down deh when deh wan' fuh buy some gifts.

Deh smile today is when ah walk across deh road toward St. George's cathedral to fin' Waterloo an' walk down deh avenue. As ah get to dat road runnin' round deh church ah look up to see nuff cars comin' so ay prepare to wait for a break in traffic. As ay look towards deh cars ah see a woman approach an' ah see sche stop at deh cross walk so ay start walkin' toward sche. As sche see me comin' sche smile an' sey while sche hold deh umbrella against deh wind.."don't worry chile deh ain't gon stop even doh deh see me standin' hey... dey ain't courteous attal' hey."

Ay kept walkin' an' we stand deh togehda an' wait and wait an' deh traffic continue fuh zip pass.. den one car stop an' sche and me walk across an' sche raise sche han' an' tank deh driver an' turn to me an' sey... "heh ah kno' it had to be a woman."

Promoting Guyanese artist Paul Harris; it's a family tradition - Like father like son

Look out for this man and his books - Maybe GTlime - it's a family tradition and those of you who know this tradition - you know you'll never put them down and you'll pass them on to your children.

Here's the man and his work.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Oh beautiful Guyana - an evening at the seawall - 1/23/11

My thanks to you all who made this trip beautiful - 1/23/11

I can't begin to express my appreciation for so much time, advice, driving around, food, the interviews, the news, the names of taxi drivers, the suggestions ..... so much assistance.

My sister Ann
All at the Ariantze Hotel
Brian and Betina
Kay/Polly and her daughters and Peggy and the friends I met
Paul and Darleen
Paula and her daughter Sinead and all at Ariantze
The young people at Jerry's

In Lethem
all at the Takatu
Cristina, Wendy and more