Meanwhile, in Suriname…
It is day four for us in Suriname, and things are getting a little overwhelming. Luckily, the training schedule changed after some other Response Volunteers told them it was a little too much to pack into their initial time here.
Our trip here was broken up into pieces. Two of us met up at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and took a flight to Miami (I got a seat in the exit row! Yippee!) and spent the day at the airport, then met up with the third Response Volunteer for our flight to Curacao. Though the flight left late, it left and we had about half a day in Curacao.
Of course, though I tried to stay in the shade, I got pink just from being in the sun and near the water. However, I got to swim in the Caribbean Sea, a first for me. It was so lovely, and I hope sometime to be able to do it again, when I have more time! The sun there is amazing though – like I said, I got pink and DIDN’T lay out.
Leaving Cucacao was interesting. One of the three of us was asked for a copy of his return ticket. He told the women that we (one of the two ladies) had it, and though my ticket agent did not ask me while she was ticketing me, she asked me when the other agent went over. Hmm. Return ticket? No return ticket – open ticket, thank you! I also found out that a person has to save her boarding pass in order to leave having only paid for a transit visa (2 USD), otherwise the person is hit with another fee (32 USD). Unfortunately for me, I did not know this and had already thrown out my boarding pass, in an effort to minimize the clutter I had around me. Luckily, one of the other Vs had his, and we were able to get through on that (whew!).
When we arrived and disembarked, we were three of the last people through the customs line (i.e., a long wait). The way I saw it, though, was that we were not in torrential rains or heavy snow and cold. Then it was off to our guesthouse, to bed, and we were picked up the next morning.
The city where we will live is not large – population-wise, it is about 250,000 people. We have not seen the tourist section of the town yet, but what I am finding interesting is how early places close here. Everything – even restaurants. For example, stores generally close around 5:00, and the restaurants that were still open when we walked past a few nights ago closed by 9:00. What’s the lesson for me? Do any shopping I need to do before 5:00.
What else can I say…it’s warm here, but a good warm. It is not ridiculous hot (like the weather they had in the Midwest while I was there – 100 degrees Farenheit and humid).The sun is STRONG, so I am trying to be careful with my very white skin – I told the PC doc that I will need a lot of sunblock. It’s humid, and as we are at the tail end of the rainy season, it usually rains sometime during the day (though yesterday it did not). We have been told we are heading into the hot season for a couple of months.
The three of us have been sticking together – we are being trained together, we are staying at the same place, and two of us will be living next door to each other and working at the same place. Luckily we are all getting along! I can honestly say that both of the other Response Vs are really great, and I am glad we have good ‘chemistry’ between us. We are slowly trying to figure things out here – it is a challenge because our training is so short, that we don’t have a lot of time to acclimate. But it is nice to be others, so when we are trying to find the bus stop, we can bounce things off each other and help each other along.
This morning we all saw our apartments and met with people at our organizations. The apartments were a pleasant surprise! Mine and the other one from my organization (next door to each other) are small one bedroom apartments but are only a few years old, and have a television, a microwave, rice cooker, one has a toaster, toilet, shower, and laundry facilities. The other person will live not TOO far away and is going to be in a house where a PCV used to live, and in September another Response Volunteer will live upstairs from him.
The only little thing I don’t love…no hot water for the showers. At all. I don’t take hot showers in hot weather, but I take cool (not cold) showers in hot weather. I guess I’ll learn to take cold showers! All in all, that is my only complaint – we are considering ourselves very lucky! The other Response Vs served in Benin and Kenya in rural areas, so this is a HUUUGE difference for them.
This afternoon we are to be sworn in, tomorrow we move into our new places – and get bicycles – and Friday is our first day at our places of employment. I hope to do some exploring this weekend – apparently there are a lot of markets around – fresh food here we come!