Misericordia Guyana Service Trip 2014
Sunday, June 15, 2014 10 p.m.

Maureen Romanow Pascal, PT, DPT, NCS, Associate Professor of Physical Therapy

This is the eighth time I have been lucky enough to visit Guyana. When someone asks why I have wanted to return, I always say, “The people.”

Since the first time I came here about 10 years ago, I have met an extraordinary number of wonderful people, especially the Sisters of Mercy.

A big part of this trip is about being present to all sorts of people: staff at the places we visit, the children and adults we meet in the different ministry sites, and even sometimes people we meet casually in a public place.

I feel like I’ve done this part of my job if someone seems to have the feeling I’ve listened to them and care about their concerns. Everyone has their own story. The willingness to tell one’s story, and the time to sit and listen to it, is something we don’t always get to experience enough in the U.S., and I guess that is what I really love about coming here: the gift of time to be present to others.

At St. Paul’s Retreat Center where we are staying, there are some full-time residents who rent rooms at a reasonable price. One is a single mom with a 3-year old and one on the way. She lives in one room, and has a shared bathroom and kitchen. She was recently dismissed from her job due to her pregnancy.

Many of the staff here have shared their stories too – about health, family and each other. Gossip is alive and well. On Thursday of our second week, a ward assistant at Mercy Hospital wanted to talk to me about his job, and figuring out how to improve his skills and get the acknowledgement he deserves for all the extra duties he performs.

I also got to talk to Sr. Lionise, a Missionary of Charity who lost her dear friend Sr. Josita to illness earlier this year. It was a talk filled with tears, compassion, and sadness. A talk to tell the story again.

I know that the biggest reason I get to hear these stories is because I have the time to listen. Another factor is that my name and face has become familiar to many of the people at our ministry sites here. Many of them are now friends and like family you get to visit once every year or two.

One the final morning of our trip, I had the chance to hear a new story, from a new family member. Jamal recently started living at St. Paul’s Retreat Center. I first met him the day I was looking for my friend who is pregnant. Someone else there informed me Jamal can’t speak English, but he can speak Spanish and French. I know a little of both, and we had a nice conversation in French, just exchanging pleasantries.

Then I found out Jamal was helping out at the retreat center. We have a tradition of tipping the staff on our last day. When I gave Jamal his tip, he asked me in French if I had five minutes to sit and talk. He told me that the staff only prepares food when there are guests. Since we were leaving, and there would be no guests for a few days, that meant no food. He told me prayed to God that morning, asking for a way to get food until the next guests arrived. Then he told me our tip was the answer to his prayers.

Jamal went on to tell me that he fled Morocco during the Arab Spring. He worked at a university there, as a professor in the languages department. Now he does extra jobs at the retreat center, and can’t even speak the main language of the country. He wasn’t complaining, but I could see the pain in his face. Then he told me that this morning he didn’t pray to God; he prayed to Allah. I asked him if he was a Muslim, and he said, “Oui,” and then quickly added, “L’Islam est une religion de paix.” Islam is a religion of peace. We had a short discussion about how both Christianity and Islam should be about peace, but it hasn’t always worked out that way.
Maybe if we all had a little more time to listen to each other’s stories more often, there would be a little more peace a little more often, too.

Photo caption: The Misericordia visitors listen as Candacy Sampson, a 19-year-old developmentally disabled patient of the Ptolemy Reid Rehabilitation Center in Georgetown, Guyana, sings for them a song about accepting those with disabilities. The lyrics included the lines, “Respect those with disabilities, together we will achieve,” and “Everyone should agree, there’s a place for me in society.” Partially funded by the Guyanese government, the Center is home to the National Orthotic and Appliance Workshop for prosthetics and hearing aids and provides comprehensive programs in rehabilitation for children with various types of physical and other developmental disabilities.

#MUGuyana2014


Additional photos at:
 Flickr.com/misericordiau

Misericordia Guyana Service Trip 2014
Thursday, June 12, 2014 10 p.m.

Marianne Puhalla

What is it like staying in Guyana? The St. Paul’s Retreat Center where we are housed is a beautiful oasis in the middle of much poverty in the Vryheids Lust section of Georgetown, six miles from the city’s center. 

The center was built by the local diocese to house conferences and groups of visitors. Lucky for us, it has a newer section of rooms with for two or six beds featuring white tile floors, large windows and the obligatory mosquito nets hanging over each bed.  

Except for our two returning visitors, Jeff and Maureen, the rest of us were pretty unfamiliar with using the nets. Tucking myself in was confining at first but the tented beds soon became our personal retreat as the Guyanese mosquitos discovered all the new American flesh on which to feast. The nets have become our saviors and we look forward to tucking ourselves in at night to gain respite from the swatting.  (You sleep covered in bug spray just in case)!

There isn’t enough Deet in the world to save us! Like most in our group, I have over 50 bites on my arms and legs and am happy that they haven’t swelled or are itchy. Others aren’t as lucky. Nearly everyone in the group has one or two sore bite sites and dozens of others making it easy to remember to take your anti-Malaria pills. 

I have yet to see a window with screens in Guyana. Here at the center and even at the St. Joseph’s Mercy Hospital we visited, everything is open air, open windows with slats to keep out the rain,  allowing a range of creatures from small lizards, flying cockroaches and ants to visit at one time or another. 

The locals drive faster than a NASCAR speedway with the frightening addition of cows, horses, pigs and goats…who roam the streets freely and occasionally stop traffic as they wander. It is quite terrifying, especially when the drivers pass slower vehicles, such as horse drawn wagons, on two lane roads even when traffic is coming from the opposite direction. They use their horn to claim right away..beeping often. When they aren’t speeding and beeping they are forced to a slow crawl over cavernous potholes (the roads are just awful) and/or speed bumps that are everywhere. One taxi driver I talked to said he has to replace his tires every two months. 

There is rotting garbage along the streets in every section of town as there is no organized sanitation system. As best we can tell, sewage goes into the canals that flank the streets. What doesn’t decompose is left to pile up…thousands of plastic bottles, metal, scraps of wood. It is the smell that is most disturbing, worse in some areas than others. Our students were well prepared for it and had addressed it in the service-learning class connected with this trip. I was way more naive and the horror is with me everywhere we go.  The goats and other animals walk the streets eating what they can. So disturbing. 

And even with national treasures like Kaieteur Falls, the amazing rain forest and picturesque rivers,  it is the people that make Guyana a beautiful place. They are quick to offer a smile and a ‘Good Afternoon’ when we walk by. Those providing the services at sites we visit welcome us with open arms and say over and over again that they are making the most of what they have…caring for the children and the elderly as best they can despite knowing they are way behind  in technology, funding and the training that is available outside their world.

My hope is to share the story of Guyana and they good works that go on here by the Sisters of Mercy and others. 

Chaperone Maureen Pascal stated it best. This trip is not as much about about the students providing services as it is in helping them (and all of us) become more globally aware, and compassionate and understanding about those around us. 

#MUGuuana2014
Photos at:
Flickr.com/Misericordiau

Misericordia Guyana Service Trip 2014
Thursday, June 12, 2014 10 p.m.

Marianne Puhalla

What is it like staying in Guyana? The St. Paul’s Retreat Center where we are housed is a beautiful oasis in the middle of much poverty in the Vryheids Lust section of Georgetown, six miles from the city’s center.

The center was built by the local diocese to house conferences and groups of visitors. Lucky for us, it has a newer section of rooms with for two or six beds featuring white tile floors, large windows and the obligatory mosquito nets hanging over each bed.

Except for our two returning visitors, Jeff and Maureen, the rest of us were pretty unfamiliar with using the nets. Tucking myself in was confining at first but the tented beds soon became our personal retreat as the Guyanese mosquitos discovered all the new American flesh on which to feast. The nets have become our saviors and we look forward to tucking ourselves in at night to gain respite from the swatting. (You sleep covered in bug spray just in case)!

There isn’t enough Deet in the world to save us! Like most in our group, I have over 50 bites on my arms and legs and am happy that they haven’t swelled or are itchy. Others aren’t as lucky. Nearly everyone in the group has one or two sore bite sites and dozens of others making it easy to remember to take your anti-Malaria pills.

I have yet to see a window with screens in Guyana. Here at the center and even at the St. Joseph’s Mercy Hospital we visited, everything is open air, open windows with slats to keep out the rain, allowing a range of creatures from small lizards, flying cockroaches and ants to visit at one time or another.

The locals drive faster than a NASCAR speedway with the frightening addition of cows, horses, pigs and goats…who roam the streets freely and occasionally stop traffic as they wander. It is quite terrifying, especially when the drivers pass slower vehicles, such as horse drawn wagons, on two lane roads even when traffic is coming from the opposite direction. They use their horn to claim right away..beeping often. When they aren’t speeding and beeping they are forced to a slow crawl over cavernous potholes (the roads are just awful) and/or speed bumps that are everywhere. One taxi driver I talked to said he has to replace his tires every two months.

There is rotting garbage along the streets in every section of town as there is no organized sanitation system. As best we can tell, sewage goes into the canals that flank the streets. What doesn’t decompose is left to pile up…thousands of plastic bottles, metal, scraps of wood. It is the smell that is most disturbing, worse in some areas than others. Our students were well prepared for it and had addressed it in the service-learning class connected with this trip. I was way more naive and the horror is with me everywhere we go. The goats and other animals walk the streets eating what they can. So disturbing.

And even with national treasures like Kaieteur Falls, the amazing rain forest and picturesque rivers, it is the people that make Guyana a beautiful place. They are quick to offer a smile and a ‘Good Afternoon’ when we walk by. Those providing the services at sites we visit welcome us with open arms and say over and over again that they are making the most of what they have…caring for the children and the elderly as best they can despite knowing they are way behind in technology, funding and the training that is available outside their world.

My hope is to share the story of Guyana and they good works that go on here by the Sisters of Mercy and others.

Chaperone Maureen Pascal stated it best. This trip is not as much about about the students providing services as it is in helping them (and all of us) become more globally aware, and compassionate and understanding about those around us.

#MUGuuana2014
Photos at:
Flickr.com/Misericordiau

Misericordia Guyana Service Trip 2014
Tuesday, June 10, 2014, 9 p.m.

Jeffrey Passetti
Assistant Director, Campus Ministry

Growth can only happen when we are pushed past our limits.  

Over these past ten days in Guyana, the eight of us have been pushed, pulled, and at times dragged past our own limits, but we have all certainly grown.  

We have grown in the knowledge of a culture that differs from our own in resources and philosophy.  It is a rich and diverse culture that holds firm to the value of the human connection.  

We have experienced this daily in the warm smiles and enthusiastic greetings of the people we pass on the streets.  It is apparent from the immediate acceptance and love shown to us from the children we have met at all of the different sites.  They have touched our lives in ways that cannot be expressed in words.  

What has struck me most about the people of Guyana is that although they may lack in financial resources, they have no lack of spirit.  It is found here in abundance and flows freely from the heart.   

I am quite proud of the five students: Catie, Ann, Kayleigh, Arthur, and Megan that I have had the privilege to accompany on this journey.  Change can often paralyze us with fear and close us off to new experiences.  Throughout this time together in Guyana, they have shown me in abundance that when you keep your heart open to the unknown, true growth can occur.  


#MUGuuana2014
Photos at:
Flickr.com/Misericordiau

Misericordia Guyana Service Trip 2014
Tuesday, June 10, 2014, 9 p.m.

Jeffrey Passetti
Assistant Director, Campus Ministry

Growth can only happen when we are pushed past our limits.

Over these past ten days in Guyana, the eight of us have been pushed, pulled, and at times dragged past our own limits, but we have all certainly grown.

We have grown in the knowledge of a culture that differs from our own in resources and philosophy. It is a rich and diverse culture that holds firm to the value of the human connection.

We have experienced this daily in the warm smiles and enthusiastic greetings of the people we pass on the streets. It is apparent from the immediate acceptance and love shown to us from the children we have met at all of the different sites. They have touched our lives in ways that cannot be expressed in words.

What has struck me most about the people of Guyana is that although they may lack in financial resources, they have no lack of spirit. It is found here in abundance and flows freely from the heart.

I am quite proud of the five students: Catie, Ann, Kayleigh, Arthur, and Megan that I have had the privilege to accompany on this journey. Change can often paralyze us with fear and close us off to new experiences. Throughout this time together in Guyana, they have shown me in abundance that when you keep your heart open to the unknown, true growth can occur.


#MUGuuana2014
Photos at:
Flickr.com/Misericordiau

Misericordia Guyana Service Trip 2014
Monday, June 9 2014, 9 p.m.

Kayleigh Morein 

We are finishing up another beautiful day here in Guyana. It is so hard to believe that in just one week, we will already be on our way back home. The days just seem to be flying by! As the end of our trip gets closer, I am trying my best to take everything in - the sights, smells, people, and just the atmosphere in general. The number of nights falling asleep to the croaking of frogs, music of any and every genre, or the chirp of the kiskadee bird are limited.

Today marked the beginning of our week dedicated to serving the various sites that we were able to visit last week. I went with a few others to Ptolemy Reid for the morning. The children there are so sweet and although many of them are unaware of what is going on around them, it is evident that our presence is greatly appreciated. After reading a few books to one of the children in day care, I decided I would sing some songs to her. The wheels on the bus, Mary had a little lamb, and if you’re happy and you know it didn’t really interest her too much but the second I started to sing the itsy bitsy spider, she became a completely different kid. Her eyes lit up and she had a smile from ear to ear! I was amazed and so excited that I was able to bring so much happiness to someone who had been disinterested in everything just minutes before. 

Our afternoon was spent at the pool with some of the students from the Davis Rose school. David Rose is a school for deaf students and students with special needs. Many of them were learning how to swim and some even needed a kick board to stay afloat. After working with them for about an hour, a few of the older girls wanted to jump into the deep end and swim back to the shallow end without kick boards. The teachers from the school seemed very hesitant to let the students try, but after a little convincing, the girls started to line up for their first time in the deep end. One by one, five students were able to complete the swim from one side of the pool to the other. All of the girls were deaf and although they couldn’t hear us telling them how great they did, the smiles and thumbs up certainly got the point across. It was amazing to see how proud the students were of themselves and how much it meant to them that we were there to help and support them along the way.

I am so thankful for the past week and all of the amazing people I have met. This has certainly been an eye-opening and life-changing experience and I can’t wait to see what the rest of this week has in store! 

#MUGuuana2014
Photos at:
Flickr.com/Misericordiau

Misericordia Guyana Service Trip 2014
Monday, June 9 2014, 9 p.m.

Kayleigh Morein

We are finishing up another beautiful day here in Guyana. It is so hard to believe that in just one week, we will already be on our way back home. The days just seem to be flying by! As the end of our trip gets closer, I am trying my best to take everything in - the sights, smells, people, and just the atmosphere in general. The number of nights falling asleep to the croaking of frogs, music of any and every genre, or the chirp of the kiskadee bird are limited.

Today marked the beginning of our week dedicated to serving the various sites that we were able to visit last week. I went with a few others to Ptolemy Reid for the morning. The children there are so sweet and although many of them are unaware of what is going on around them, it is evident that our presence is greatly appreciated. After reading a few books to one of the children in day care, I decided I would sing some songs to her. The wheels on the bus, Mary had a little lamb, and if you’re happy and you know it didn’t really interest her too much but the second I started to sing the itsy bitsy spider, she became a completely different kid. Her eyes lit up and she had a smile from ear to ear! I was amazed and so excited that I was able to bring so much happiness to someone who had been disinterested in everything just minutes before.

Our afternoon was spent at the pool with some of the students from the Davis Rose school. David Rose is a school for deaf students and students with special needs. Many of them were learning how to swim and some even needed a kick board to stay afloat. After working with them for about an hour, a few of the older girls wanted to jump into the deep end and swim back to the shallow end without kick boards. The teachers from the school seemed very hesitant to let the students try, but after a little convincing, the girls started to line up for their first time in the deep end. One by one, five students were able to complete the swim from one side of the pool to the other. All of the girls were deaf and although they couldn’t hear us telling them how great they did, the smiles and thumbs up certainly got the point across. It was amazing to see how proud the students were of themselves and how much it meant to them that we were there to help and support them along the way.

I am so thankful for the past week and all of the amazing people I have met. This has certainly been an eye-opening and life-changing experience and I can’t wait to see what the rest of this week has in store!

#MUGuuana2014
Photos at:
Flickr.com/Misericordiau

Misericordia Guyana Service Trip 2014
Saturday, June 7, 2014 10 p.m.

Caitie Becker ‘14

Seen, touched, and smelled the tallest most powerful single drop waterfall in the world: check! Today we had the chance to go to Kaieteur National Park, about one hour from where we’re staying in Guyana. The park is home to a bunch of waterfalls, trees, plants, beautiful animals and Kaieteur Falls. Describing the falls through words is difficult because even a picture cannot explain how big they are. The noise of the water is so loud you can hear it from 15 minutes away.  

To get to the falls we took a tiny, very very tiny, 12 passenger plane from an airport about 5 minutes from where we’re staying. After a 45-minute delay we walked out onto the runway and hopped into a plane we all prayed would make the hour long trip. The ride there was beautiful, at least the part I saw before my nap. As we got closer we could see dense forest, trees for miles! Then we spotted them. Right below us! The water was rushing right over the edge and we all crammed next to the window to see. After making a few sharp turns we landed in a makeshift airstrip in the middle of the park. Basically it was one stretch of pavement amidst the brush and trees. Getting out we met our tour guide and made our way to the falls everyone had told us about. 

We learned about the history of the falls, the area, and the plants and animals that lived there. But, let’s be serious that wasn’t the Important stuff. So, as the guide promised we made our first stop and saw them. The only word to describe that moment was wow. It was amazingly beautiful to see them in front of us. As we stared in awe and had our photo session we were told it was time to keep going. Then we learned that we could get even CLOSER to them! By the time we made it to the third and final stop we were at the very top of the falls actually standing more than 900 feet up in the air, staring over the cliff looking at the mass of water below us. It was incredible! There were rainbows everywhere! It was absolutely a moment where you felt like God had spent a little more time designing this. 

Getting the opportunity to spend the afternoon at Kaieteur with some of my best friends definitely makes this trip an adventure of a lifetime. And Mom, don’t worry I got just close enough to the edge to see the bottom. 

#MUGuyana2014

Misericordia Guyana Service Trip 2014
Saturday, June 7, 2014 10 p.m.

Caitie Becker ‘14

Seen, touched, and smelled the tallest most powerful single drop waterfall in the world: check! Today we had the chance to go to Kaieteur National Park, about one hour from where we’re staying in Guyana. The park is home to a bunch of waterfalls, trees, plants, beautiful animals and Kaieteur Falls. Describing the falls through words is difficult because even a picture cannot explain how big they are. The noise of the water is so loud you can hear it from 15 minutes away.

To get to the falls we took a tiny, very very tiny, 12 passenger plane from an airport about 5 minutes from where we’re staying. After a 45-minute delay we walked out onto the runway and hopped into a plane we all prayed would make the hour long trip. The ride there was beautiful, at least the part I saw before my nap. As we got closer we could see dense forest, trees for miles! Then we spotted them. Right below us! The water was rushing right over the edge and we all crammed next to the window to see. After making a few sharp turns we landed in a makeshift airstrip in the middle of the park. Basically it was one stretch of pavement amidst the brush and trees. Getting out we met our tour guide and made our way to the falls everyone had told us about.

We learned about the history of the falls, the area, and the plants and animals that lived there. But, let’s be serious that wasn’t the Important stuff. So, as the guide promised we made our first stop and saw them. The only word to describe that moment was wow. It was amazingly beautiful to see them in front of us. As we stared in awe and had our photo session we were told it was time to keep going. Then we learned that we could get even CLOSER to them! By the time we made it to the third and final stop we were at the very top of the falls actually standing more than 900 feet up in the air, staring over the cliff looking at the mass of water below us. It was incredible! There were rainbows everywhere! It was absolutely a moment where you felt like God had spent a little more time designing this.

Getting the opportunity to spend the afternoon at Kaieteur with some of my best friends definitely makes this trip an adventure of a lifetime. And Mom, don’t worry I got just close enough to the edge to see the bottom.

#MUGuyana2014

Misericordia Guyana Service Trip 2014
Saturday, June 7, 2014 10 p.m.

Caitie Becker ‘14

Seen, touched, and smelled the tallest most powerful single drop waterfall in the world: check! Today we had the chance to go to Kaieteur National Park, about one hour from where we’re staying in Guyana. The park is home to a bunch of waterfalls, trees, plants, beautiful animals and Kaieteur Falls. Describing the falls through words is difficult because even a picture cannot explain how big they are. The noise of the water is so loud you can hear it from 15 minutes away.  

To get to the falls we took a tiny, very very tiny, 12 passenger plane from an airport about 5 minutes from where we’re staying. After a 45-minute delay we walked out onto the runway and hopped into a plane we all prayed would make the hour long trip. The ride there was beautiful, at least the part I saw before my nap. As we got closer we could see dense forest, trees for miles! Then we spotted them. Right below us! The water was rushing right over the edge and we all crammed next to the window to see. After making a few sharp turns we landed in a makeshift airstrip in the middle of the park. Basically it was one stretch of pavement amidst the brush and trees. Getting out we met our tour guide and made our way to the falls everyone had told us about. 

We learned about the history of the falls, the area, and the plants and animals that lived there. But, let’s be serious that wasn’t the Important stuff. So, as the guide promised we made our first stop and saw them. The only word to describe that moment was wow. It was amazingly beautiful to see them in front of us. As we stared in awe and had our photo session we were told it was time to keep going. Then we learned that we could get even CLOSER to them! By the time we made it to the third and final stop we were at the very top of the falls actually standing more than 900 feet up in the air, staring over the cliff looking at the mass of water below us. It was incredible! There were rainbows everywhere! It was absolutely a moment where you felt like God had spent a little more time designing this. 

Getting the opportunity to spend the afternoon at Kaieteur with some of my best friends definitely makes this trip an adventure of a lifetime. And Mom, don’t worry I got just close enough to the edge to see the bottom. 

#MUGuyana2014

Misericordia Guyana Service Trip 2014
Saturday, June 7, 2014 10 p.m.

Caitie Becker ‘14

Seen, touched, and smelled the tallest most powerful single drop waterfall in the world: check! Today we had the chance to go to Kaieteur National Park, about one hour from where we’re staying in Guyana. The park is home to a bunch of waterfalls, trees, plants, beautiful animals and Kaieteur Falls. Describing the falls through words is difficult because even a picture cannot explain how big they are. The noise of the water is so loud you can hear it from 15 minutes away.

To get to the falls we took a tiny, very very tiny, 12 passenger plane from an airport about 5 minutes from where we’re staying. After a 45-minute delay we walked out onto the runway and hopped into a plane we all prayed would make the hour long trip. The ride there was beautiful, at least the part I saw before my nap. As we got closer we could see dense forest, trees for miles! Then we spotted them. Right below us! The water was rushing right over the edge and we all crammed next to the window to see. After making a few sharp turns we landed in a makeshift airstrip in the middle of the park. Basically it was one stretch of pavement amidst the brush and trees. Getting out we met our tour guide and made our way to the falls everyone had told us about.

We learned about the history of the falls, the area, and the plants and animals that lived there. But, let’s be serious that wasn’t the Important stuff. So, as the guide promised we made our first stop and saw them. The only word to describe that moment was wow. It was amazingly beautiful to see them in front of us. As we stared in awe and had our photo session we were told it was time to keep going. Then we learned that we could get even CLOSER to them! By the time we made it to the third and final stop we were at the very top of the falls actually standing more than 900 feet up in the air, staring over the cliff looking at the mass of water below us. It was incredible! There were rainbows everywhere! It was absolutely a moment where you felt like God had spent a little more time designing this.

Getting the opportunity to spend the afternoon at Kaieteur with some of my best friends definitely makes this trip an adventure of a lifetime. And Mom, don’t worry I got just close enough to the edge to see the bottom.

#MUGuyana2014

Misericordia Service Trip Guyana 2014

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Ann Kaufmann

It’s hard to believe we traveled to Guyana a week ago and have just over a week until we return to the US! So far, we’ve seen many ministry sites and have met countless memorable people who have been so warm and welcoming. Hopefully this coming week will be even better than the last!!

Before coming to Guyana, I expected to see poverty and very low income areas of the region we are staying in, but after coming here, the economic inequality is apparent just looking at two houses right next to each other. On one side you can see a house being held together with rotting boards and ropes, while the house next to it has been perfectly painted with a nice white trim and a brand new fence complete with a security system. This kind of inequality is visible throughout Georgetown and the surrounding areas. Over one third of the population lives below the poverty level, and it is apparent just by viewing the exterior of the homes. 

One thing I was not prepared for before arriving to Guyana was the smells which were obvious as soon as we stepped off the plane at 2:30 a.m. on Monday. I looked at many pictures from previous trips, but of course they don’t include the variety of scents. The build up of trash, the goats, horses, pigs, and dogs roaming the streets, and the vehicles burning gasoline all contribute to the scents which can be quite unpleasant at times. Even if I was aware of this aspect before arriving, I really don’t think I would have been prepared; the only way to truly understand the atmosphere was to travel to Guyana. 

It’s one thing to look at pictures and listen to stories from past participants, but it’s completely different to experience the culture and atmosphere of a third-world country first-hand. 

The most memorable aspect of the trip has been the children. We’ve traveled to St. John Bosco Orphanage for boys, St. Ann’s Orphanage for girls, pediatric special needs clinics, hospitals, day cares, the Red Cross Convalescent Home, and many more places that were filled with children just wanting attention and to be loved. They are so willing to just jump in our arms, without asking questions, and don’t want to be put down. Many of the children do not have a family out side of the orphanage, so they are very excited to have visitors and look forward to the days when we can return. 

Despite being able to visit for just a short time, the children could not be happier to have our attention. Whether we are playing tag or just talking to them about what they’re learning in school, they’re happy to have someone take a personal interest in them. 

Yesterday was a great day for us at Ptolemy Reid! Some helped with special needs students in the classroom, practicing how to write numbers and letters, while two of us assisted the nurses in the day care. Daniel, a 9 year old boy, had a number of issues which left him unable to stand, feed himself at times, or lay on his stomach. In addition, he was non-verbal and could only communicate through pointing and grunting. Others it the day care ranged from cerebral palsy to Down syndrome to a number of other medical issues. We were only there for 2 hours, but I give the nurses and the aids a lot of credit for the work which they accomplish at Ptolemy Reid. It was a hard job for me, and I only helped for 2 hours, so I can only imagine how tough it is to work there every day. Despite this, the nurses and aids seemed to love their jobs and loved the children they worked with. For me, the whole experience was very rewarding and Ptolemy Reid is such an awesome facility that assist many Guyanese and I look forward to returning to the site next week!


#MUGuyana2014

Misericordia Service Trip Guyana 2014

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Ann Kaufmann

It’s hard to believe we traveled to Guyana a week ago and have just over a week until we return to the US! So far, we’ve seen many ministry sites and have met countless memorable people who have been so warm and welcoming. Hopefully this coming week will be even better than the last!!

Before coming to Guyana, I expected to see poverty and very low income areas of the region we are staying in, but after coming here, the economic inequality is apparent just looking at two houses right next to each other. On one side you can see a house being held together with rotting boards and ropes, while the house next to it has been perfectly painted with a nice white trim and a brand new fence complete with a security system. This kind of inequality is visible throughout Georgetown and the surrounding areas. Over one third of the population lives below the poverty level, and it is apparent just by viewing the exterior of the homes.

One thing I was not prepared for before arriving to Guyana was the smells which were obvious as soon as we stepped off the plane at 2:30 a.m. on Monday. I looked at many pictures from previous trips, but of course they don’t include the variety of scents. The build up of trash, the goats, horses, pigs, and dogs roaming the streets, and the vehicles burning gasoline all contribute to the scents which can be quite unpleasant at times. Even if I was aware of this aspect before arriving, I really don’t think I would have been prepared; the only way to truly understand the atmosphere was to travel to Guyana.

It’s one thing to look at pictures and listen to stories from past participants, but it’s completely different to experience the culture and atmosphere of a third-world country first-hand.

The most memorable aspect of the trip has been the children. We’ve traveled to St. John Bosco Orphanage for boys, St. Ann’s Orphanage for girls, pediatric special needs clinics, hospitals, day cares, the Red Cross Convalescent Home, and many more places that were filled with children just wanting attention and to be loved. They are so willing to just jump in our arms, without asking questions, and don’t want to be put down. Many of the children do not have a family out side of the orphanage, so they are very excited to have visitors and look forward to the days when we can return.

Despite being able to visit for just a short time, the children could not be happier to have our attention. Whether we are playing tag or just talking to them about what they’re learning in school, they’re happy to have someone take a personal interest in them.

Yesterday was a great day for us at Ptolemy Reid! Some helped with special needs students in the classroom, practicing how to write numbers and letters, while two of us assisted the nurses in the day care. Daniel, a 9 year old boy, had a number of issues which left him unable to stand, feed himself at times, or lay on his stomach. In addition, he was non-verbal and could only communicate through pointing and grunting. Others it the day care ranged from cerebral palsy to Down syndrome to a number of other medical issues. We were only there for 2 hours, but I give the nurses and the aids a lot of credit for the work which they accomplish at Ptolemy Reid. It was a hard job for me, and I only helped for 2 hours, so I can only imagine how tough it is to work there every day. Despite this, the nurses and aids seemed to love their jobs and loved the children they worked with. For me, the whole experience was very rewarding and Ptolemy Reid is such an awesome facility that assist many Guyanese and I look forward to returning to the site next week!


#MUGuyana2014

Misericordia Guyana Service Trip 2014
Thursday, June 5, 2014 10 p.m.

Megan Lage

Greetings from Guyana! The group has been here for four days and we have already fallen in love with the people and culture. I am going to keep this post short, because the bugs have decided to come out and apparently I am their prey. 
When I applied to the trip I was told by others who had previously gone, that the children would make it impossible to leave. I can assure you that they are doing just that. I am not sure what I was really expecting from this trip, but I now know that I will leave this country with the handprints of 100 little ones forever on my heart. They waste no time in grabbing your hand, sharing a smile, and hugging you with reckless abandon. While it is heart wrenching to see the situations which many of them live in, it is awe inspiring to see how happy they are to simply have and be.

#MUGuyana2014

Misericordia Guyana Service Trip 2014
Thursday, June 5, 2014 10 p.m.

Megan Lage

Greetings from Guyana! The group has been here for four days and we have already fallen in love with the people and culture. I am going to keep this post short, because the bugs have decided to come out and apparently I am their prey.
When I applied to the trip I was told by others who had previously gone, that the children would make it impossible to leave. I can assure you that they are doing just that. I am not sure what I was really expecting from this trip, but I now know that I will leave this country with the handprints of 100 little ones forever on my heart. They waste no time in grabbing your hand, sharing a smile, and hugging you with reckless abandon. While it is heart wrenching to see the situations which many of them live in, it is awe inspiring to see how happy they are to simply have and be.

#MUGuyana2014

Misericordia Guyana Service Trip 2014
Wednesday, June 4, 2014 10 p.m.

Arthur Dowell ‘14

As we took off from NYC just 72 hours ago, I never expected my life and the views I held dearly would change so quick. Upon entering in Georgetown, I came with an open mind and heart. Since, it has been life changing and for the better.

We as a group have traveled to a mercy hospital that does not have up to date equipment we would see in a hospital in the United States. We have visited a nursery and daycare where the kids and elderly were greeting us with open arms. One of the ladies even prayed for all of us to be safe and then said “I love all of you.”

The schools are also much different than what we are accustomed to seeing back home. The curriculum is much tougher as they look to have the kids succeed and be working people for the country.

We got the chance to sit in one of the classrooms for the Bosco boy orphanage. They had stuff in they were learning in just the fourth that we would be learning in the sixth grade or later. Oh, and they are very energetic and we always look forward to spending time with them everyday. I haven’t played an intense game of tag like that since I was ten years old! Very tiring stuff, but we do love bringing the inner kid out of us.

Our tour also included a visit to the school for the deaf and another that works as a home to the disabled. Everybody at these places were sweet and loved our visits and asked us to keep going back and helping with the amazing everyday functions the people here do for those who need it. The workers were so happy to greet us and talk about the amazing accomplishments they’ve reached with having so little to work with. The people of Guyana really do care about one another and work with what they have available. 

So far, the experience has been amazing. I have learned so much and so fast. I have seen first hand the levels of poverty the nation is going through. The shocking difference in money is noticeable from neighboring houses, the smells are not always pleasant, there is garbage all along the roads and in the streams along the roads, and there are stray dogs everywhere. However, I will credit the people of Guyana as being far more hospitable to us than I could ever imagine. They say hello and are willing to help us with anything we need. It’s almost like being back at MU, but much hotter and a lot more humid, and sun is down by 6:30.

I look forward to what the rest of the trip has in store and could not have asked for a better group to experience this with. These next two weeks will fly by and create a lifetime worth of memories I will share with friends and family and forever be connected to the people I come across in this country, and the seven others that took the first step off the ramp to Guyana in JFK airport.

#MUGuyana2014

Misericordia Guyana Service Trip 2014
Wednesday, June 4, 2014 10 p.m.

Arthur Dowell ‘14

As we took off from NYC just 72 hours ago, I never expected my life and the views I held dearly would change so quick. Upon entering in Georgetown, I came with an open mind and heart. Since, it has been life changing and for the better.

We as a group have traveled to a mercy hospital that does not have up to date equipment we would see in a hospital in the United States. We have visited a nursery and daycare where the kids and elderly were greeting us with open arms. One of the ladies even prayed for all of us to be safe and then said “I love all of you.”

The schools are also much different than what we are accustomed to seeing back home. The curriculum is much tougher as they look to have the kids succeed and be working people for the country.

We got the chance to sit in one of the classrooms for the Bosco boy orphanage. They had stuff in they were learning in just the fourth that we would be learning in the sixth grade or later. Oh, and they are very energetic and we always look forward to spending time with them everyday. I haven’t played an intense game of tag like that since I was ten years old! Very tiring stuff, but we do love bringing the inner kid out of us.

Our tour also included a visit to the school for the deaf and another that works as a home to the disabled. Everybody at these places were sweet and loved our visits and asked us to keep going back and helping with the amazing everyday functions the people here do for those who need it. The workers were so happy to greet us and talk about the amazing accomplishments they’ve reached with having so little to work with. The people of Guyana really do care about one another and work with what they have available.

So far, the experience has been amazing. I have learned so much and so fast. I have seen first hand the levels of poverty the nation is going through. The shocking difference in money is noticeable from neighboring houses, the smells are not always pleasant, there is garbage all along the roads and in the streams along the roads, and there are stray dogs everywhere. However, I will credit the people of Guyana as being far more hospitable to us than I could ever imagine. They say hello and are willing to help us with anything we need. It’s almost like being back at MU, but much hotter and a lot more humid, and sun is down by 6:30.

I look forward to what the rest of the trip has in store and could not have asked for a better group to experience this with. These next two weeks will fly by and create a lifetime worth of memories I will share with friends and family and forever be connected to the people I come across in this country, and the seven others that took the first step off the ramp to Guyana in JFK airport.

#MUGuyana2014

Misericordia Mission Guyana 2014

Monday, June 2, 2014

JUST 24 HOURS

In less than 24 hours, our lives have been changed. We are comprehending the poverty we have encountered, and enjoyed what is a bright spot among the sad sights, our first visit to St John Bosco Orphanage…. Where the children welcomed their visitors with love and open arms! So many smiles and brief moments if pure joy !!! So many children abandoned. Hard to comprehend. 
We also walked the neighborhood to get a feel for the area and also visited the sea wall. All in less than 24 hours.

Misericordia Mission Guyana 2014

Monday, June 2, 2014

JUST 24 HOURS

In less than 24 hours, our lives have been changed. We are comprehending the poverty we have encountered, and enjoyed what is a bright spot among the sad sights, our first visit to St John Bosco Orphanage…. Where the children welcomed their visitors with love and open arms! So many smiles and brief moments if pure joy !!! So many children abandoned. Hard to comprehend.
We also walked the neighborhood to get a feel for the area and also visited the sea wall. All in less than 24 hours.