My Education technical trainer is named Basdeo Singh (Bass-dee-oh). He is an Indo-Guyanese man in his fifties and stands as tall as I do. The first day I met Basdeo I was not sure what his role in Peace Corps would be. He did a lot of looking and hardly any talking to us Guy 21ers as we shuffled into our training facilities those first days in Georgetown.
Basdeo dresses very well, showing a very professional, yet stylish sense of Guyanese respect and honor in his profession. I have even borrowed some of his fashion choices by means of the traditional Indian linen shirt and pressed dark trousers (hopefully a picture will make it on here).
Basdeo has very dark skin. It is ebony dark and very dense near his eyes, giving him a mysterious aura when you first meet him. However, when he opens his mouth to speak, the mysteriousness of his persona explodes into a thousand pieces as the room lights up with energy and enthusiasm. Like a song bird, his voice lifts you up to his state of being and you are left looking around to see how this is possible. Am I imagining this? Is there a team of men hoisting me into the air like an Olympian who has just broken a world record? Could this really just be the energy coming from this man's soul?
I tell you, when Basdeo Singh enters the room, the world lights up on the half that has no sun. The lilt and rhythm of his language is both Caribbean and Indian and I find myself mimicking certain words in his accent.
Basdeo also smiles a lot. He is constantly giving us pieces of his lifelong adventure in education, like a child who feeds pieces of bread to a gaggle of hungry geese. However, Basdeo's bread basket seems to never run out of loaves. He tells us that in education we never finish, we only stop. Or that education is the process of teaching people how to live and how to live with. He has a quirkiness and spunkiness about him that will tickle you until you grin simply because you had no idea that someone could have this much spark and passion for the education of young minds, and the unconditional love for a child's ability to learn and be curious. Basdeo is also as curious as a newborn baby and he is not afraid to reveal it. By the same token, he is a wise and learned man who, as a child, was told he would not make it to secondary education. His own personal childhood was an ordeal in and of itself, yet he preaches about it from the most humble perspective and reveals his stories only for sake of example. I have great respect for this man because in just three weeks I have come to understand that he has dedicated his entire adult life to education and will probably continue to until heaven inevitably comes knocking on his door.