Tom's sixth letter

Guyana's flag
South America » Guyana
March 11th 2008
Published: March 11th 2008EDIT THIS ENTRY

Another update from the jungle. Guyana just celebrated its republic day in the form of many street carnivals around the country. The festival is the biggest in Guyana and is called Mashramani. I have been lucky enough to help in organising the event, in making the costumes and dance in the carnival. I helped with the Presidents Youth Award costume that consisted of a 3m long dove and 30 volunteers dressed in bright colours dancing up the street.
The day, Saturday 23rd February, started with the most horrendous tractor journey to Kumaka. I had to share this tractor with a dove, 20 people and a singing bird. I swear I almost fell off the side so many times. We arrived in Kumaka at 9.30 when the parade was supposed to start at 9! I was told that it was Guyanese time though. Everyone started getting their costumes on and putting finishing touches to the dove whilst the tractor went to get our speaker set. The speaker set, including the DJ basically filled the tractor! The music it blasted out was intense. You couldn’t hear yourself speak!
Once everyone was ready, about midday, the carnival got underway. There were 7 different floats with groups following each one. Ours was the last to set off and at this point, I was really nervous! I represented one of the 6 races and there were 5 other participants who had to dance round the dove with me. The tractor was in front of us blasting out really dancy carnival tunes and 30 participants followed us, dancing in two rows. Everyone was wearing a white vest or skimpy top, a fluorescent green pair of shorts or a short skirt and a flouro green tie for the guys.
It was such a brilliant day rounded off by barbecues and drinking at a big field in Mabaruma.
Teaching is getting monotonous now. I’m still enjoying planning lessons and helping the kids learn, but I have no classes for half the day, so I get a bit bored! I’m finding the most fun through my secondary project - the basketball court. Its nearly finished but the casting of the cement is hindered by the downpours of rain! It can get frustrating sometimes.
To me, Wauna feels very enclosed at the minute. Living here, in a village that is so isolated and independent, makes me so drawn into the village, such as petty arguments and rumours. If you haven’t heard on the news, Guyana has witnessed 2 massacres recently by the same gang. 23 people have been killed so far and the police are yet to catch anyone. Rumours are abound in Wauna with people spreading news that he is on his way here! Nonsense obviously, but its great fun when you start a rumour yourself! Last week Dan and I thought we were on our way home. All American volunteers got sent back but thankfully we didn’t. Through all the killings, I feel safe in Wauna. It’s like a little bubble! I couldn’t imagine why the killers would come here.

A good note to end on!



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