During Reconnect we watched a Ted Talk called “The Happiness Advantage.” (I believe based on a book.) One of the points the speaker made (I’m paraphrasing) was writing down something positive each day could help rewire your brain to think more positively. His challenge was for 21 days. Initially I was planning on writing it in a hardcopy journal and then I thought where’s the fun in that? 🙂
So, I plan to keep an ongoing post of my happy thoughts each day and will post at the end of the 21 day challenge.
Day 1 – Monday, August 21, 2017
Today I am reminded how wonderful my friends back are at home. I used hot sauce and chapstick that a friend gave me while I was home. I’ve spoken to at least 5 friends in the states today. It is so uplifting to know I’m in their thoughts even though I’m a continent away.
Day 2- Tuesday, August 22, 2017
I got to see my friends and fellow pcvs Brianna and Carly while they were visiting for their task force’s training. Carly gave me the excellent suggestion of working as a nurse on a reservation after Peace Corps. We were talking about all of the different options I’ve been considering and how they’re all great opportunities, but I could not decide because none of them checked my all the boxes on my next job wishlist.
- Making a difference for people who would have limited or no access to health care otherwise
- Experiencing another culture
- Professionally challenging
- Using my nursing degree in a more traditional sense than I am here
- Close enough to visit my little brother semi regularly
- Either contributing towards PSLF or help me to pay off my student loans another way
- More cultural ideals in common with home (think I might alternate every few years between full cultural submersion and recharging with some of my own values being more common)
I have to look into it more, but I’m very excited because I think working on a reservation might be a great next adventure.
Day 3 – Wednesday, August 23, 2017
I was able to make some headway with getting my projects started again. Found out that the Matron at Best Hospital (region 3’s regional hospital) will be out until the second week of September, which is why I haven’t been able to reach her. I was also contacted by Georgetown Public Hospital to follow up with my potentially volunteering there.
Day 4- Thursday, August 24, 2017
@ clinic one of my patients seemed really receptive to how diet modifications can help with diabetes and hypertension. Of course only time will tell, but if I’m able able to change one person’s health for the better while I’m here I’ll feel like my time time was successful. After all, if I know about one patient listening how many more might have been affected and I don’t realize? Or how many people will it be passed to?
Day 5- Friday, August 25, 2017
I seriously love my local grocery store. If I ever ask the manager when/if they’ll be getting something again (often shipments are random) he’s always quick to get it back in stock for me. Think I’m the only volunteer with with a consistent supply of bagels. Lol
Day 6 – Saturday, August 26, 2017
I need to take more walks just for the point of taking taking a walk. When I’m always on my way somewhere I’ve started to take the beauty around me for granted. Today I took a walk and was reminded even though my area is a lot more built up than most of Guyana (being so close to town) beauty still surrounds me. Even in my own neighborhood. I’m a little obsessed with how cute all the goats that find their way to grazing in my my little suburban neighborhood are, I know they’re not strays like the dogs and cats, it seems fairly common in Guyana to just just let them be free range goats. 🙂
Day 7 – Sunday, August 27, 2017
Today was fairly uneventful and I’m learning to appreciate days like this more. It’s not only good to have time to catch up on little thing, but it’s nice to have time to just be. Being an only child for the first 20 years of life I’m familiar with keeping myself occupied/entertained, but there is something to be able to have a day where there are no obligations calling your name as an adult.
Day 8 – Monday, August 28, 2017
Today I got to help my friend and fellow PCV Taylor with a live streaming project encouraging the population to prevent and treat filaria. It also gave me the opportunity to learn a little more about the disease. Filaria is caused by mosquitos carrying worms. It is treated with medication and there is an prophylactic medication available. Filaria can lead to numerous complications such as elephantitis. There are only 4 PAHO countries (western hemisphere) that still have active cases of filaria: Guyana, Haiti – who has had several successful campaigns against filaria so their rate rate has dramatically decreased, Brazil and the Dominican -both of which are currently being reevaluated as possibly having eliminated the disease.
Day 9 (kind of) – new Day 1 Wednesday, September 13, 2017
So it’s been almost 2 weeks since I last added to the positivity challenge. This is part of why is don’t journal, just don’t think about it on a regular basis. I considered just continuing on from day 9, but I think part of the speaker’s point was that by reflecting on something positive every day for a certain petiod of time is to could help to rewire your brain to be more positive- which who couldn’t benefit benefit from that? So I start a new.
The reason I have been so distracted that I forgot to write for 2 weeks was overall a good one. My projects are starting to get fired up again so they’ve been keeping me busy. I am teaching hfle at the secondary school and Health Promotion and Maintenance at the nursing school. I’m creating my own curriculum for the nursing school and class schedule – that alone would probably be enough to keep me busy during during the initial phase. I have a meeting set to get me started at Georgetown public hospital in 2 weeks. Next week our Country Desk officer from DC will be visiting and one of my Hfle classes. Both set of classes are going well thus far.
Irma passing through Florida, the first hurricane to hit the Tampa Bay area (where a lot of my friends and family lay their heads) since 1921 was definitely a distraction too. Which turned out better than expected to, another thing to be thankful for, none of my friends/families were injured and only had minimal property damage.
Day 2 – Thursday, September 14, 2017
My hfle schedule will be fixed next week to have all of my classes on Monday and Tuesday. We will no longer be teaching 9th grade, per the ministry they had to have either PE or drama so HFLE was cut. While we are disappointed not to have those classes anymore, that means we will not have to double up any classes. Overall the classes have been going well and I’m excited for this term to progress.
Day 3 – Friday, September 15, 2017
This morning my nursing class had their first test. I was concerned it would be too easy, but I think it hit went better than it hit was expecting (just enough of a challenge and still still a still a nice wayto ease them in).
Had my my last day of introductory information for hfle so we will be able to jump head first into our lessons next week.
To top off an already good day, it’s been absolutely gorgeous weather. Warm and sunny but not stifling heat. It is days like these I’m especially grateful to be living in a tropical paradise.
Day 4 – Saturday, September 16, 2017
It’s a beautiful day in Guyana. Most of my friends and family in Florida have power back now after Irma. So my parents are able to go back to their house today.
Day 5 – Sunday, September 17, 2017
This week will be the first of my new schedule. I have HFLE Monday and Tuesday. I’ll be teaching at the nursing school Wednesday and Friday morning. (I also have my Wednesday afternoon class when Peace Corps will will be observing an HFLE class but that won’t be a regular part of my schedule.) The following week I have my meeting to start nurse training at Georgetown Public Hospital. It is so exciting to see my projects starting to get off the ground.
Day 6 – Monday, September 18, 2017
My kids from last year really make me feel like I’m finding my stride here. Most of them have retained so much and have such a love for HFLE that it gives me hope that it’ll have a long term impact.
Day 7 – Tuesday, September 19, 2017
One of my classes was a little crazy today. It was a good reminder of not only how much they have grown but how much they have impacted me. All of their craziness was related to asking health questions they’d never have thought to ask before our classes started and all competing at once to ask. It helped me see how much more patient and adaptable they’ve helped me to be, because the fray didn’t bother me or throw me off.
Day 8– Wednesday, September 20, 2017
I reviewed the nursing class’ first test with them. While they didn’t do as well as I hoped, the review was productive and I think they understand the material better and we were able to cover some study tools. It was really encouraging to see their thought process on how to get from their incorrect examples to the right answer.
Day 9, Thursday, September 21, 2017
Today I’m thankful to be living in a tropical country. A friend of mine living in England was telling me about having to layer socks and blankets. While the heat can be overwhelming sometimes I’d pick it any day over the cold. The heat allows the animals and plants that live here to thrive.
Day 10– Friday, September 22, 2017
Had an excellent class at the nursing school this morning and and a productive rest of my day. I’ve updated my resume and for the first time didn’t list all of jobs/education, having having to select the most relevant, which made me reflect what a busy adult life I’ve had. Getting my AA, serving in the Air Force, getting my BSN, and now the Peace Corps, I’ve been truly fortunate to experience as much as I have.
Day 11– Saturday, September 23, 2017
Today I’m especially grateful for my Peace Corps friends. Had really good conversations with the volunteer who lives closest to me and the one farthest away last night. Today I’m seeing some of my other friends visiting town. I swung by the National Library on my way, definitely will have to return when I have more free time. We are having breakfast, going to visit some manatees, and maybe going to catch a movie. It’s always such an encouragement spending time together and hearing how everyone’s projects are going.
Seeing, feeding, and petting the manatees was amazing. There was something so surreal about interacting with them at Guyana’s National Park. Funny since there are plenty of manatees in Florida but I’ve never had the chance to interact with them at home.
We were going to see It but it was all sold out. We ended up seeing Kingsmen: The Golden Circle . It wasn’t as good as the first one but still entertaining.
Overall it was a really fantastic day. I’m super happy the girls’ projects are going well too. They have good relationships with their host families. Their laughs are infectious and even though I went into the day feeling pretty good, practically feel like I’m walking on air.
Day 12– Sunday, September 24, 2017
Today I’m reflecting on how grateful I am for my family. I was so worried I would sacrifice some of my relationship with them, especially my 6 year old brother, but if anything I’ve only grown closet to some of my family here. I talk to my cousin Kelsey almost every day and she’s a constant encouragement to me. I talk to and exchange pictures, videos, and letters with my Mom and little brother on a regular basis, which makes being away so much less challenging. On that note I’m extremely grateful to have access to enough technology to keep in touch.
Day 13– Monday, September 25, 2017
Mondays and Tuesdays are all about HFLE. The kids never cease to amaze me what sponges they are, or how grateful. Assembly before classes today consisted of time to pray, the pledge (seen below), and announcements from the HM. The The announcements today primarily were related to self esteem, child safety, an bullying which prefaced my lesson perfectly.
Day 14– Tuesday, September 26, 2017
Another good day teaching HFLE.
Day 15– Wednesday, September 27, 2017
Had a really good meeting with a nurse training program at Georgetown Public Hospital. I will be regularly working with them on nursing skills in the ER. The program has already taught them how to do CPR and place an IV, things most nurses here are never trained to do.
Day 16– Thursday, September 28, 2017
It’s a beautiful day in Guyana. Caught up with my pcv friends who are back in the states.
Day 17– Friday, September 29, 2017
My nursing school class did really well on the second test. It was really encouraging to see their progress.
Day 18– Saturday, September 30, 2017
Met some of my friends in town for lunch. They are really encouraging and make me laugh til my sides hurt.
Day 19– Sunday, October 1, 2017
I am so grateful for all the people who constitute my support system. Both here and abroad. Life is a team effort and I think I see that more here than I ever have before.
Day 20– Monday, October 2, 2017
Taylor, the volunteer I live closest to, is a constant encouragement. She is always busy with projects and and has such passion about her work.
Day 21– Tuesday, October 3, 2017
It’s the last day of the positivity challenge. While you got more than your fair share since I did over the 21 days, I think it was really good for me me to focus on the positive intentionally. I hope that it was able to brighten your day. I may do a few more of these scattered throughout my service.