One of the hardest things for me to adjust to has been giving up the driver’s seat. Driving is my thinking time. Driving is where I feel free and independent. So coming to Guyana I definitely felt trapped…..like the jaguar in the cage I saw at the zoo today. Taxi’s are dependent living in Guyana.
Most people depend on Taxi’s to take them places and pick up whichever one is closest to them. However, as missionaries, we have to be more cautious. Street cars mean questions, marriage proposals and mood music. So we call a taxi service that we trust and wait 20 minutes every time we want to go somewhere. I could have already been there in my truck!! So, once again we hurry up to get ready….only to wait. And let’s hope we have not forgot anything that we need for the day because that is more money to bring you back to get it.
I cannot wait to get home to my truck and go anywhere I please and take as long as I want in a grocery store or in the bank. There is no place like home – but there is also no place like Guyana!
This young missionary girl has adjusted to a lot in seven short weeks….culture, daily living, city living, and just plain ole’ missionary life!
The Adjustments to Daily Living
· No pressure in the showers
· Pumping water
· Showering with rain water
· The toilet taking long to fill up
· Frogs in your toilet
· No air conditioning
· Living with open windows and doors 24/7 and putting up with Loud neighbors, community music and yes, the donkey’s till all hours.
· Slow internet
· 3 television channels
· Planning life around the bridge schedule
· Filling up bottles of water each night for drinking water
· Washing dishes by hand and setting up bleach water to sanitize them
· Sleeping with ear plugs to buffer noise and an eye mask because the sun comes up at 5:30
· Heating water to wash my face
· Paying bills in person – you don’t mail them.
Country and Cultural Adjustments
· Guyana dollars and money conversion
· Shopping in the market…..think of a flea market and you will get the idea
· Cow poop, horse poop, dog poop, on the roads, the sidewalks, the grass …just poop everywhere
· Language…it takes work to understand what people are saying to you.
· Being exposed to Hindu and Muslim faiths and discovering how my heart now breaks for them
· Small Grocery stores and limited selection of foods that I have at home.
· The cost of everything – it’s expensive to fulfill your wants and a discipline to live by needs.
· The elements – heat, rain, mud
· Sports….Love me some sports and miss my baseball
· Cricket is the game here and I don’t understand it at all
· Soccer is called football here and the 2nd biggest sport behind cricket
· “Proper” girls don’t play sports…..what does that mean for me?
· Crappy Radio
A Country Girl in a 3rd World City
· 300,000+ people packed in 5 square miles of space ….it is China Town in NYC
· Banks are crowded
· Stores are packed like sardines and you are constantly watched and expected to ask for help.
· Three-stop shopping….you buy it, go to a desk to check it, and then get your receipt checked at the door.
· Restaurants and shops all have security bars and security guards – some with big guns.
· Giftland Office Max….It has the selection of walmart in a building that is smaller than Walgreens.
There is no easy convenience living here….
· Fast Food is slow food
· Menus are bountiful in options but slim in what they actually have to eat on any given day.
· McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Cookout, ….none of those.
· Sweet tea, hamburgers, barbecue – none of that
· My favorite cereal with real milk…..not happening
· Dr. Pepper – When it is my lucky day
· Lots of “Restaurants” to eat in, but you better choose wisely or your body might not like you!
It has taken me a while to accept that I have been a short-term missionary, but I have been and being a missionary has taken some getting used to for this twenty year old girl.
· No night life that is appropriate
· Church services that are three hours long and stretch my limits
· Worship styles and service dynamics that challenge my personal style and understanding
· Getting my clothes checked for cultural appropriateness
· Walking and more walking
· Being called a white girl umpteen times a day! (Glad people know their colors! J)
· The constant slang words that I am always being called on the street
· Not being able to walk through the city without hearing something appalling from a man.
· Kiss noises constantly….the fruit of self-control has grown by leaps and bounds here!!
· Using buckets to fill water and dump it into the washing machine – speeds up the process.
· Stiff Jeans and shirts from line drying
· Bed bugs….good incentive to keep your sheets changed
· Public bathrooms with no toilet paper – learned my lesson…always carry tissue with you!
· Having to go to the bathroom in a PC outhouse
This list started one night when I was at the end of my limit. I was complaining, complaining, complaining and when it was finally all out I realized two beautiful truths. One would think after reading this that living here is really bad, but actually living it is not bad. Living here is just different. Two, when I think of bad I think of the shacks that are no bigger than one normal sized bedroom. Bad is not the word that comes to mind when I think about living here. I am still the same Amber, but living in a different place and learning to live differently.