Our Interns' First Day in Guyana

 Sydney's Thoughts:

When I first heard about Plastic City I literally thought it was a city made of plastic homes and buildings. Now that I have seen it for myself I know that it is not that at all, it is so much more. When we first came into plastic city I could immediately see the poverty that we were about to enter into. Shacks are people’s homes and wooden planks are used as pathways so you are not walking in the mud. Weeds and plants cover the ground, so without the path it is very hard to walk. Most people, especially the kids, walk around without shoes on their feet. But this doesn’t even compare to where we were about to enter into the jetty.  When we walked into the jetty I was in complete shock! 

Angie had told us that the jetty is the “poorest” part of Plastic City, but I obviously had no idea what poor really meant. As you walk through the jetty you walk on an above ground rock wall. This path is in a straight line and takes you right to the Atlantic Ocean. The wall is maybe two feet wide which makes it difficult to walk on and it is nearly impossible to pass people. On each side of the path is standing water filled with mud and trash. Because there is so much standing water and trash covers the ground, it smells like raw sewage. Mangroves surround the jetty so you feel like you are in the middle of the jungle. People live in shacks that are raised up so that when the water comes through it doesn’t completely destroy their homes. These shacks are basically scraps of wood, metal, or anything useable. Walking through the jetty was unlike anything I have seen or experienced. This way of living was completely shocking to me. I have been on mission trips before and I thought I knew what helplessness looked like.  However, after this experience in the Jetty, I realize what hurting really means and what it truly looks like. This experience opened my eyes to true poverty. My heart hurts for these people and their situation. All I want to do is help in any way I can. [Written by Sydney]

Amber's Thoughts:
Plastic City was unlike anything I have ever experienced or seen in my life. I didn’t really know what to expect walking into Plastic City other than the pictures I have seen. But I can now say that today’s experience has shown me that pictures come nowhere close to what in looks like first hand. Walking through the city I felt like I was in a different world. It was very hard for me to wrap my head around how I live where I live, and how these people live where they live
·          I have a bathroom; they have an outhouse.
·          I have a water bed; they have a blanket on the floor.
·         I have a kitchen with a refrigerator and they don’t even have electricity.
·         When I’m in the United States and hot, I go inside the house to get cool, in Plastic City they go outside to get cool.
·         When I want to go out into town I jump in my truck, when they want to go somewhere they use their feet. 
I can honestly say it shocked me to realize how much I depend on electricity in my daily life and what I take for granted every day. Walking on the jetty wall and seeing the poorer houses of the area - it was all I could do not to cry. It really struck home to see that people just like me and you could live like that.
Once again the Lord has just showed me how blessed I really am to live where I live and how much he has truly blessed me with everything that I have. While we were in Plastic City yesterday I also realized that children who had a father or male figure in the home were living better than children without that male figure. In Plastic City when the child has a father {or male figure) they have income.  When a man is in the picture they have a better place to live. When I understood how the lack of a male figure impacts life in Plastic City it really it home, because I am blessed with a wonderful father.  I have a father who loves and supports me.  Finally, Plastic City also made me think that if my family lived there then we would be a minority simply because my father is in the picture.  Fathers or male figures have a major role in a child’s life.  Knowing this and seeing it in real life now makes me want to pray.  My prayer for Plastic City is that, men from the church here in Vreedenhoop will step into PAL and give these young children the role model they need in their life.