Abigail Foreman

A Gap Year In: Guyana
with project trust
Aug 1999 - Aug 2000

Newsletter No 4

The Community

We live in a black community where all the residents except the local shopkeeper are coloured. Our neighbourhood apparently has a bad reputation but we have found it to be a very closeknit community where everyone knows each other and they all keep an eye out for us.
We have made many friends who have helped us out. This is quite important when we run out of water as there is no running water in the house and we have to collect our supplies every day from the street. Some of our neighbours have water tanks and we are able to ask for water from them in emergencies.
The majority of Georgetown and the surrounding localities are set out in grids. All the roads are straight. There is one main road that goes everywhere called ‘The Highway’. There is also a new road called ‘The
Line’ which runs from Bladen Hall to Georgetown parallel with the Highway, but hardly anyone uses it because it is full of speed bumps and all the drivers love to speed.
Our house is set back from the line so it is quiet except at 6.00 a.m. when all the lorries go down it.
Public transport consists of 15 seater mini buses, but the drivers cram as many people as possible on them so they can make money. We have travelled on one mini bus that had 19 adults and 3 children on it.
The engines cough and splutter and the drivers speed all the time. In fact we were once on a bus that was stopped for speeding. It was quite funny but we were late for where we were going after that.


Shops

Shops are an interesting experience. The local shops have all their stock behind bars and in display cabinets. You have to ask the shopkeeper for whatever you want which is then passed to you through a small hole in the metal mesh.

Religion

Guyana is a very religious country. In Buxton alone there must be 15 different churches. There are also lots of mosques and temples.
Last week we went to an Assembly of God Pentecostal church. Fortunately I knew most of the songs ! The service lasted for three and a half hours thanks to the guest speaker.
Last Tuesday we went to a Hindu religious ceremony. We ate out of two big leaves : lots of vegetarian food which we ate with our fingers even though our hosts wanted to give us spoons.