Monday, October 18, 2010

Mahaicony Trip

I was looking at the response from the poll "What Would Make This Blog Better?", and I noticed practically every voter asked for "More Carrots" (It would seem there are some very strange people reading this blog). Well, your wish is my command!

Now, before I begin, the first thing I should point out is that Mahaicony is pronounced MY-CONE-EE. I have no idea why the spelling has so many extra syllables.

But anyway, Mahaicony is a neighboring (ish) congregation to us (there's Hopetown, next to us is Paradise, next to them is Mahaicony). The congregation has difficulty working their territory regularly, especially in an area that branches away from the main road and runs along a creek. So our two elders, Brown and Antony, organized a group to go work some of their seldom-worked territory. They were worried about how much support they'd get, but it turned out not to have been necessary. Forty-five from our hall showed up! In addition to that, several from a bordering congregation (called Rosignol. They border on the other side) showed up as well. Add to that the number of locals who showed for it.... we had an impressive group.

The meeting for service. Remember, this is while we're still waiting for more people to show up.
Due to the number - and since we were leaving the main road and going back a ways - we arranged to have a bush truck take the group out. It was.... interesting.

What an empty bush truck looks like.

What a full  bush truck looks like.

What a full bush truck looks like, after you decide to throw a couple more people on.

In Guyana, there is no concept of "personal space".

Me and Aaron Bakhsh were dropped off in the middle of the road, and then were told "Start working down the road until you meet the next group." We look down and see houses about 500 feet apart. So we march off.

3 miles later, we meet the next group.

Still, it was a good experience. One house in particular I remember, we met a woman who lived in New York for years and studied with Jehovah's Witnesses there, but then moved back here. Since then, she hadn't been contacted. Fortunately, that morning we had been given those "You Are Invited" papers, with the address of the Kingdom Hall and the meeting times printed on the back, so we left that with her, along with some various other literature.
Ever have one of those calls where you wish you could find out what happened afterwards?

Overall, the whole day was great. If you had told me a while ago that I'd spend a service day thrown into the back of a truck with over fifty others, driven to the middle of nowhere, and dropped off and told to walk for three miles, I would never have expected I would enjoy it. But....

Anybody look like they had a bad day?

So that was about all I've got to share about that day. One other thing though I can add: The house me and Micaiah are staying in is technically the property of another need-greater brother, who is in England right now. Only problem is, he's coming back November 5th, and bringing a friend with him, so basically, we're getting booted. However, we have found a different place to stay! (I never thought I'd be house-hunting this early in life) Here's a shot of the place.

So to close, I'd like to leave you with one last thought....

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Guyana Branch Tour, and Other Stuff

Me and Micaiah Young recently took a trip to the capital of Guyana, called Georgetown (it would be so much cooler if it was called Rupununi or something like that, I know). While there, we stopped by the branch office for a tour. Now, this isn't like a Brooklyn tour. At the Guyana branch, a tour involves being taken into each individual office and talking to almost every person who works there. For instance, we had a nice half-hour or so chat with the Service Overseer for the country, Edsel Hazel. We sat in his office, and he showed us what he does there, let us snoop through his office, etc. Then he walked with us through half the rest of the tour.

A shot of the lobby.

Edsel Hazel's "Master Map". When you can actually see it (unlike in this picture) it shows where all the congregations in the country are, the names, which ones have Kingdom Halls, etc.

The door on the left is where you walk in from the lobby. The door straight ahead takes you into the offices of the Branch Committee. And the door on the far right is a bathroom.

They keep their garage very tidy.

The nicest lawn in the country, hands down.
By contrast, here's what the rest of the capital looks like:

The be honest, there's not a whole lot else going on. So, some bits and pieces that I never got around to sharing.

(1) The best meal I've had in Guyana so far:

This..... is  IGUANA CURRY!!  It's Gr-r-r-reat!

(2) The place I go for Internet (which is where I'm at now) was a movie theater/cinema that was abandoned in the 1950's. A lady bought it and converted the Projector room into an Internet Cafe' and small bookstore! They broadcast a wireless signal, so if you bring your own laptop you can just go and sit in the auditorium! I love it.

The last picture there shows the "bookstore" part.

(3) And somehow I neglected to mention the thrilling story of: How I got from Brighton to Hopetown! Well, the whole story can be briefly summed up by one picture:

I'm so happy I got one last shot of the scooter in here.

..... aaaaand that's all I've got for now. HOWEVER: Exciting stuff happening this weekend! A group from the Hopetown congregation is heading out to do seldom-worked territory with a congregation called Myconi (named may be misspelled). There's a big village that you can only reach by heading down a dirt road in a bush truck, so we'll be piling in and heading down. We'll likely be able to work it all in a day, but it still sounds like some terrific experiences waiting (and oodles of fun, too.)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Goodbye Mike&Lara; My New House; Climbing Coconut Trees

Part 1: Goodbye Mike and Lara
Recently we attended a good-bye party for a need-greater couple who had been in Guyana for over two years, Michael and Lara Alston. Michael is the younger brother of Michelle Sanches, and it was thanks to Mike arranging things that I was able to stay with Tom and Michelle for the month or so that I did.

Actually, that's not nearly all. I first became interested in coming to Guyana because of a blog they kept the whole time they were here. I came across the blog and read it, and then e-mailed them asking general questions about the country. Originally, I didn't intend on coming at all. But through the course of several e-mails I became thrilled at the idea of being able to go and serve there. And so, for the next several months I was in constant contact with them, sending them an endless barrage of questions and asking for advice to help me prepare for coming. They kept responding happily, right up until the week I left to come here. I really don't think I could list all of the things that Mike and Lara did to help me get to Guyana.

So after all that, finding out they had to leave a month after I got there was a little disappointing, but I was very happy to be able to go to their goodbye party. It was very.... odd. The main event of the day was everyone playing a party game called "Cat and Mouse". I'm not sure if this is a Guyana thing or if it's played elsewhere too. It's very hard to describe, but it involves passing around two ties. If that sounds familiar to anyone, let me know. Otherwise, I'm assuming it's a Guyana thing.

Another event was having certain people relate stories about Mike and Lara, or just telling how much they enjoyed having them around, etc. The kind of thing that gets everybody crying during the party.

Mike and Lara

Where the party was held

Another shot of the party. Interesting note: The kid looking at the camera (named Timmy) is a Bible Study in Brighton, and just joined the Theocratic Ministry School.

From left: Naomi Hayes and Chris Hayes (the Brighton COBE). On the right is Brother Samson. During the part where everyone told stories about Mike and Lara, Samson had the best comment. See, they're leaving because Lara has major back problems, to the point where she can barely walk now. So Samson's comment was about how he once had a public talk in Brighton. "For me it was just going to be another talk, but when I see these two walk in, Lara clearly in pain, with Mike struggling to help her inside, I thought 'These two are putting forth this much effort? To come hear my talk?' So after I saw you, I made sure that I gave the best talk I had ever given."

And for the final picture of this segment: The people who got me here.
From left: Michelle Sanches, Mike and Lara Alston, Micaiah Young, and Tom Sanches.

Part 2: My New House
Some stuff about my new house, and the Hopetown congregation. First up:

One of our elders, Linel Brown (yes, that's how it's spelled). He is one of two elders in the Hopetown congregation. There was a third one, but he was re-assigned to work where the need is greater.

No, I'm NOT kidding.

The weirdest thing about it is we have 72 publishers, and our average meeting attendance is around 120. And only two elders. Another problem is, our hall is too small! The pictures don't do it justice, but still....

We've applied for a build to be done so we can get a bigger hall, but we're 14th on the list.

Now, my house!

I also have some shots of the inside, but they're not very good.

Part 3: Climbing the Coconut Tree
Now to let you all know, there are no existing pictures of me climbing one of the coconut trees. This is because everyone was laughing too hard to try to get a picture. However, I do have this: Aaron Bahksh demonstrating the correct way to climb one of these trees.

And Micaiah Young demonstrating the incorrect way to do it

A slight side story: The path back to this particular grove of trees was actually a dam that had been torn up recently. As a result, my shoes looked like this.

Cleaning off my shoes in the creek.

Tune in next time for.......