Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Not so different after all

I have noticed over the past few days an interesting phenomenon. When people tell you how things are here, they imply that only Guyana, or only developing countries, are like this. This is despite the fact that exactly the same things are frequently true of England. And anywhere else you could care to mention.

Here are some of my favourite examples so far:
  • "Teachers working in special needs sometimes don't even have any specific training in special needs."
  • "People will just apply for any job available, whether or not they have ever wanted that career."
  • "Some teachers go into special needs jobs because they can't get a job in a mainstream school, not because they have a particular passion for working in that area."
  • "It's not a good idea to walk alone through the city at night."
  • "Fruit in veg can be twice as expensive in the supermarkets compared to the market."
  • "Sometimes the real decisions get made in the social times before and after work, not in the official meetings."
  • "Some people even have more than one job to make ends meet."
  • "People always start the day gaffing (chatting) and reading the papers."
  • "They often find ten foot long pythons under the market."
OK, the last one not so much...

Along similar lines, one of the current volunteers told me a lovely story about a conversation with a taxi driver - he had a work visa for the UK, so she asked him why he was still in Guyana, when most people would be itching to leave.

He said that he was scared to go there "because of all the diseases".

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