Jus’ Now

Obviously it’s been a little while since I’ve posted. That’s the joy of not having internet- blogs suddenly become a bit more tricky to keep up. So, I think, it’s a good time to introduce you to some Guyanese creole- “jus’ now”.

I think the first couple months of PC are designed to drive you a little insane. This isn’t a bad thing, really, but it’s intense. Ask any PCV and they’ll tell you that PST is probably one of their least favourite parts of service. A combination of living with a host family (often after living alone for several years), a jam-packed schedule of training sessions and practicum, PC watching your every move, and cultural differences makes the first three months a shock to the system. Your brain never shuts off. Sometimes I wondered why I decided to put myself through this twice.

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At a mural painting event in New Amsterdam

The first time around was intense- in Jordan there were major cultural differences, a language that sometimes left me wanting to cry (Arabic, you beautiful, evil language), long training sessions five days a week that piled on the assignments and commitments. There were good times (floating in the Dead Sea, eating fresh falafels and hummus every Friday morning with my host family), but it wasn’t easy.

Guyana, in some ways, has cut me some slack. The language here is Creolese, an English based creole that fortunately hasn’t been too difficult to pick up. Most of the training sessions were exactly the same, so it was more of a refresher than new things to take in. But there’s still a whole new way of life to which I’ve needed to adapt. There’s still “jus’ now”.

I’m getting used to jus’ now, the Guyanese version of inshallah- it means it’ll happen when it happens, and that may take a while. (It’s also great for stalling when you don’t really want to do something.) The Guyanese say it all the time in every possible context. The car will pick you up jus’ now. You’ll get your internet fixed jus’ now. We’ll get the frogs out of your sink jus’ now.

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On the way to the beach in my new village

It’s something, I think, many Americans (and Australians, thanks dad), aren’t exactly used to. We’re taught to walk with a purpose, that if work starts at 8 you’re there at 7:50. Relax once you’ve earned it. Hurry up and get it finished. Guyana works differently- slow down, it’ll get done, relax. It’s the Australian “no worries” attitude on steroids. And while at times incredibly frustrating, there’s something liberating about letting yourself take time.

In spite of this, the first four months in Guyana have flown by. I’m pretty settled into my new village in West Coast Berbice, a stone’s throw away from the muddy Atlantic and surrounded by rice paddies and palm trees. My community is small, mostly Afro-Guyanese, and very friendly. It’s just a short minibus ride to the market every Saturday, where you can get the best fruit and veg I think I’ve ever had. I’ve inherited a pet dog, Foxy, and at least fifteen chickens (I thought having chickens would be nice. I was wrong. They’re assholes). I’ve finished summer school and while exhausted, am grateful for the glimpse into the challenges I’ll be facing once the school year officially begins in two weeks’ time.

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My school for the next two years

So much has happened, so many stories I could ramble on about. Like my PST host family making fun of me as I tried (and failed) to make roti. Or getting pulled into the dance circle at a kway kway, a party the night before an Afro-Gyanese wedding, because you like to dance, right? Or getting covered in mud on the way to a woman’s house where we met her pet parrot and sat watching awful lifetime movies. It’s been a packed four months.

It’s a lot to tell. But I’ll get there. Jus’ now.

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