The Abyss

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We were busy with the campaign this morning! Trying to cover as much of our territory as possible this month, we ventured into some of the “hard to reach” places of the Bartica outskirts. With a humid 95 degrees and tropical sun beating down on us, only the brave dared “The Abyss”. From left to right; Roman, Fe, Angie Seeram and Olive Jacobs.

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This… Is “The Abyss”. It perfectly describes the feeling you get when hiking down this winding, partially paved trail. It leads to only about a handful of houses, a dozen or less, but builds character in the process.πŸ˜‰ Eventually ending in a dirt road, it has one unpavedΒ trail veering off the main drag. This piece opens up to a large, lush hill with five houses strategically placed on it. Five immediate family members live in these houses which is a common situation here.

We have only just begun to scratch the surface of our territory here but with last years memorial attendance being a ratio of more than 3 visitors per publisher, our hardwork will most certainly not be in vain. 😊

Phagwah- Festival of Colors

imagePronounced “pog-wah” this festival of colors is celebrated every March in the Hindu community. It is a Hindu religious holiday that celebrates the conquer of good over evil. Traditionally people of the Hindu faith wear white and indulge themselves in freely hurling colored powder, perfume, water, and/or abeer (a red liquid dye) on family, friends and neighbors alike (as seen above).

Like most holidays, the meaning gets blurred over time. Phagwah is a big celebration for all barticians, Hindu, Muslim and Christians alike. Despite the origins, the vibrantly colored faces of villagers ranging from children to adults was immensely captivating! Trucks full of colored puffs with eyes and wide white smiles paraded the roads with celebratory Hindi music blaring in jubilation.

To a westerner, the sight of so many powdered and dancing bodies and sound of shrill voices crying out in a mix of laughter and celebration is very enthralling! Definitely a sight to behold if ever in Bartica during March!

Beauty School! πŸ’…πŸ’„

When my friend Michella here needed someone to practice acrylic nails on, I gladly volunteered! Living in the capital Georgetown, Michella comes to Bartica often with her husband and daughter to visit her family living here. She usually gives her mom and sisters a whole beauty treatment- hair, nails, make up, facials, eyebrows, everything! I was thankful for the free pampering 😊

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They turned out really well! This girl is a natural! She also ended up doing my eyebrows Guyanese style- with a razor blade 😳 All in all it was wonderful and I can’t thank her enough!

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Snapshot in Time

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Meet Tameera and Shamar! They live on our same street and I study with Tameera’s older sister every Friday afternoon. Tameera is the middle child of three girls and is probably one of the most charismatic people I have ever met, despite her fresh age of 4.

When I arrived this afternoon she was enjoying a late lunch of steamed fish. When i asked her what kind of fish it was as she slid out fine bones from in between her teeth she replied, “Me o’ know”- and for those of you not familiar with speaking Guyanese that means “I don’t know” πŸ˜›.

Shamar is 6 years old and you can usually find himΒ playing outside, seeing as how everyday here is a perfect hot summer day β˜€οΈ. Slightly on the shyer side, it only takes a warm smile and some personal interest for Shamar to be your next best friend!😊 He and a next boy Adrian (featured on my page Out of The Mouths of Babes) are nearly inseparable.

The sweet smiles of these kiddos was just too precious not to share!

Jamun Anyone?

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One of the many things that I was excited about in moving to Guyana, was the food. Having had a “taste” for all the foreign combinations in December 2013 during my first visit, I was eager to get back to the fresh fruit, curry and host of other exotic flavors. And for about the first 5 months I was not disappointed.Β 

Now for you to fully appreciate the cruelty and humor in this story, I need you to understand my raging love for berries- berries of all sorts, I don’t discriminate. From raspberries to blackberries to blueberries to strawberries, I love them all. I love them dearly in any form- fresh off the plant, in pies, jams, deserts, the whole nine yards. I assumed (wrongly) that in a tropical jungle I would have access to similar fruits. I had accepted the fact that I may not have exactly what I like when it comes to the berry department, but that was fine by me. I figured I would discover acceptable stand-ins.

I cannot describe to you how wrong I was. There are no berries here, nothing even comparable to strawberries or raspberries… Except Jamun. So you can imagine my elation when I was first introduced to this intriguing (what I then was under the impression of it being) berry.

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The first time I experienced Jamun it was a hot, sunny day (just like every day here :P) and a small group of us had hiked into a village about 2 miles into the jungle to the river’s edge (pictured above). Taking the day off we enjoyed ourselves cooling off in the waters of the Mazaruni River and laughing amongst friends. Two of the sisters with us climbed a nearby tree overhanging the river and to my delight came down with handfuls of blackish purple berries, which they promptly offered to me and which I promptly accepted. This was the beginning of the end.

From the moment I bit into it I knew it wasn’t going to end well. Lured in by my curiosity-heightened by the bright magenta color of the squashed Jamun on the ground- I popped my first Jamun “berry” into my mouth.Β 

Instantly, with my first bite, my mouth felt dryer than the Sahara desert. My tongue stuck to the roof of my mouth as I desparately tried to rehydrate it. Then there was the sharp sour flavor, the kind that makes the back of your mouth water and your lips purse. I next discovered the large seed in the middle; expecting it to be juicy and soft I heartily chomped into it. This I dearly regretted when it sounded like my molars were about to crack in half. But that wasn’t even the worst part! The worst part was the after taste, a nice earthy, foresty, definite flavor of pine trees. That’s right, Jamun tastes like the scent of pine needles in autumn.Β 

So here I am with a dry, sour, pine tree tasting mouth and feeling utterly betrayed by this so called fruit. Seeing as how all of this happened in a split second I quickly spat out the imposter of a “berry” without hesitation. Β Needless to say I was quite perplexed as I watched the locals with us eat this Jamun like it was a sweet candy. Locally Jamun is sometimes used to make wine, which I also got to try and it tastes as terrible as the berry itself.

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This is the only berry I have foundΒ in Guyana as of yet. And I continued to try it about three more times after this first encounter in the hopes that somehow it would magically be good. It wasn’t. It’s still bad. My conclusion is that I will just have to wait to get back to the states to enjoy my sweet, seedless and succulent berries so reminiscent of my childhood. 😊

Once Upon A Time

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Once upon a time there was a little blue shop,

Β And many a hot morning I did stop. β˜€οΈ

There was a lovely kind woman to whom I talked,

when to this shop I once a week walked. 🚢

Then one day the ground lay bare

for the little blue shop had vanished into thin air! πŸ’¨

Not even one blue board remained,

I immediately thought, “How will this study be maintained?” πŸ™

And so it goes in the land forgotten by time,

Your studies are gone in just the flip of a dime. πŸ’°

Not to worry, for this morning I have found

My study Rachelle, whose interest still abounds. πŸ˜ƒ

Her little blue shop she moved to the beach

Which luckily is not out of my reach. 🌊

So to the little blue shop I will continue to go,

Despite my having to change location though. πŸš—

It is puzzling to have disappear those you befriend

But it will surely make a good story in the end. 😊