The Guyana Diaries: Pt 2- WTF

It just keeps happening- the madness.

The boss had an idea this week to keep me in the country and solve all my problems with the border hopping, paperwork and such; marry me off! He starts calling and messaging all kinds of women he knows before I’ve even said anything, sending them a picture of me and asking if anyones interested. A few positive responses was enough to aid my ego, plus a few more (but I’m still not getting married). Although 1 of them in particular I’ve kept in touch with, for purposes of the post we’ll call her N. He takes me that night to meet her as she lives close to where I’m staying and this leads to a rather awkward encounter sitting in a car with my boss and a friend trying to tell me what to do, with N outside the car, as we sit outside her house. Anyway, long story short I collect her number and we make a plan to go out in a few nights.

A day or two after I’d written Part 1 (and the day before I’m going out with N), I go home after work and the family I’m staying with are a bit manic- start asking me who I’ve given the address to or who knows I’m there. I tell them I don’t give the address out, I barely even tell people the town I live in but there was Immigration and the Security Company I’d worked for that I’d given it to when I was filling out the paperwork.

Turns out someone had called Immigration and reported me as illegal! (Which I’m not).

I get a final meal and have to start to pack my things. They ask me where I’m going to go but I have no idea myself; it’s 9pm Sunday night, nowhere’s open and there’s barely anybody around. I thanked them for all their help and started to walk down the street alone in the dark. Less than 5mins later my phone rang, it’s home telling me to come back. I’m still grateful they did but this left me wondering why there was any comotion in the first place if I’m still going to be staying there. Weird.

The next day I had a lot to do: see Immigration again about my visa extension (still not ready), visit a few people about job applications and vacancies (none of which I got) and then at night is my date with N, it’s a low-key thing since I don’t have much of a budget for anything, few beers and catch a movie. This was the first time I’d had anything close to a normal social life since I arrived in this country; an interaction with someone my own age that isn’t at work. Still felt a bit weird at first since we met because allegedly I “want to get married” but we cleared the air on that pretty quickly and both seemed to relax a bit more after. It was a cool night as well: good conversation, great company, no expectations. At least that went right for me.

Then I get home that night- still before 11pm- the gates padlocked already, I try calling the phones of people indoors but no one answers. I had no idea what to do, I didn’t wanna be out on the street at night- everyone here keeps telling me how dangerous it is. So I jumped the fence, at least so I’m in a safer place. I creep up the stairs trying not to make much noise and disturb or wake anyone and when I got to the front door… it’s locked too. I knocked a couple times but no one came so I’m spending the night in a hammock. 

The next morning I got a bit of a telling off for it (and told I was locked out deliberately), gave my explanation and apologized, then went to work thinking that’d be the end of it. It wasn’t! The atmosphere when I got home that night wasn’t exactly pleasant- think it’s the first time I felt a chill when the temperature outside at night is still over 20degrees. And listening to people talk about you like you’re not there gets old fast. So I have an early night.

In the morning my bag is packed and I’m ready to leave, explain again I’m grateful for all their help but I’ve overstayed my welcome so I’m off. By the time I finish work that night I still haven’t managed to arrange a place to stay- the boss and his family offer me a night with them but explain they don’t have the space to accommodate me. I spend the night in the yard on a sofa, still not exactly a bad night though, then the next day the search begins again. Talking with a guy that came into the car wash- I’m getting used to people wanting to know the white boy’s story now- he tells me he’s looking for some workers for one of his stores and potentially may be able to help me with a place to live. Once I told him I need a Work Permit still, he offered to help with that as well.

I can’t exactly hold my breath over it being arranged that day but I’m still hoping this will work out, sooner rather than later.

By lunch time I’ve exhausted my options for a place to stay and it’s time to make the dreaded call to British High Commission- the woman I spoke with on the phone had a friendly voice and was emapthetic to my situation, it made me feel better. She called me back within an hour and told me I could go to the Young Womans Christian Association in town- but it was going to cost me $2,000GYD (about $10US) per night. Not a long term solution but still a solution. So I went, at least for one night. I think it helped my metality a little too not feeling like a burden on other people, time left to my own devices and a little solitude can do wonders. I wandered the streets aimlessly for a while by myself, found an awesome Caribbean place to eat and got some jerk fish and rice. Then went back to the YWCA with some beers.

My bed for the night I realised was quite dirty but after a days work, and 3 beers, it didn’t matter. I climbed into my silk sleeper and quickly fell asleep but woke the next morning to be covered in mosquito bites- here’s hoping I don’t get Zika!

Back to work the next morning and the boss and his family had offered to clear some space outside and hang a hammock for me after I told them about the hostel- still a temporary solution but much cheaper than the other solution- and saves me money on the commute to work :p

Whilst at work I got a message from someone back in the UK I hadn’t spoken with for some time; they’d read my post and wanted to send me some money to help out- I couldn’t believe my luck! A few others have helped out with donations too (I have some pretty awesome friends!). I won’t leave ‘Survival Mode’ just yet though.

Speaking of survival mode, I had a makeshift accomodation made for me at the back of the bosses house- while I was in the washbay cleaning cars he’d been out back building a shelter for me. I was pretty impressed with what was managed in just a few hours, not to mention a little flattered for the amount of effort he’d gone to for me. I now have a roof over my head (but still awaiting the walls) and a place to hang my hammock- back to the real living-out experiences! 

Just to really pimp it out he also gave me a leather sofa and a multi-gym… the luxuries! 😉


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