The weekend just passed was a bit of a mini adventure for Harry and I. Monday of this week (the 6th) was a national holiday, so we decided to use our 3-day weekend to visit Aishalton, the southernmost project in Guyana. It was one of the top things on our to-do list for the term, and last weekend was probably one of our last chances now that the rainy season is setting in.
We got up at 4am on Saturday, walked about a mile to the river bank, got a boat down the Sand Creek River and then back up the Rupununi River to meet up with the “road”. We took a lift on a vehicle to Shulinab where we waited for a lot of Saturday until we got a lift with a different vehicle for the 5-hour drive to Aishalton, made longer by our detour to Sawariwau.
We arrived in Aishalton after dark on Saturday night, stayed all of Sunday and left early on Monday morning, when a third vehicle took us from Aishalton back to Shulinab (5 hours on the back of a truck in pouring rain – probably the most uncomfortable journey I have ever made). We slept a night there, got a minibus back to the river early on Tuesday morning, took a boat down the Rupununi River and up the Sand Creek River, walked the mile back to the school compound, quickly showered and dressed and made it to school barely 15 minutes before registration!
Total cost of transportation: $1000 (≈£3.05)
Total cost of accommodation: $0
I love this country!
The boat we took was $500 each way; every other bit of transport was free because we managed to hitch lifts everywhere! Sure, we had to ride on the back of pickup trucks instead of in the back, but that is entirely the norm here.
The HM for Aishalton Secondary School gave us the keys to an empty teachers’ quarters apartment, so that was free, and in Shulinab we just threw up hammocks in Faye’s benab.
While we were in Aishalton we had a look around lots of the village, (it’s huge compared to Sand Creek), watched their football team defeat Awaranau, chatted with lots of the villagers, had fun on a motorbike, had a tour of the secondary school and watched some wild cow riding… all in one day. Sadly we didn’t manage to see the Aishalton PTVs, Adam and Dougie – they had used their long weekend to visit Dadanowa!
We also managed to get online briefly, but the Internet in Aishalton is incredibly slow, which explains why I didn’t add anything to the blog while I was there.
So, that was my adventure of a weekend in Aishalton. Luckily I didn’t have to teach first thing on Tuesday, but even my lessons later in the day felt a lot more tiring than usual!
Oh, and if you ever go on a 3-day weekend trip away… try not to forget about the porridge leftovers in the kitchen. They will not smell nice when you get home.