Laura Pennycook: 3rd Report from Guyana

A day in the life of a jungle dweller – Saturday 20th February 2016

I was woken at 5 to a bus blaring its horn outside. Bryher was going to Georgetown to collect a package from home so had been up since 4 prepping herself for the 5 hour journey down the bumpiest trail in Guyana (in my opinion). I tried to get back to sleep but half an hour later Cheniah, a Grade 7, came to drag me out to basketball practise. Kwakwani is the best under 20s team in Guyana so I watch them in awe from the other end of the court while shooting hoops with the younger kids.
I left when the sun got too hot to play anymore and, after bathing, went by the market for breakfast. I bumped into one of my Grade 8 kids whose family is one of the friendliest I’ve met and I love visiting. We got bake and salt fish from one of the stalls and went back to the teacher hostel where I gave her a reading lesson before she got bored and wandered off to babysit her nephew – both her 13 and 17 yr old sisters gave birth not so long ago. She’s 15 and I’m determined to get her reading before she moves up to grade 9.
Our friend Britney came over next – as soon as we open the door in the morning she’s usually over. She was soon joined by Malia, a primary school kid, and Royon, another Grade 8 who is a beast at bball. They persuaded me to cycle up to bush pool with them where we were almost the only ones there and spent the afternoon forging our way up river and trying to catch the little fish. I noticed a path into the the bush and asked Royon where it led – immediately we were off, Malia on my back, dodging bee nests and swampy patches as we veered off the trail.
Then, before I knew it, we were in a clearing with little shells flying everywhere. As I looked up to find the source of the falling fruit remains, I saw…’Monkeeeeeeeeys!’ Malia shouted, delighted. A whole pack of golden monkeys flying from tree to tree, carrying babies on their backs and staring down at us with curiosity. I can’t even describe how magical it was – they are so human like with their hands and eyes and movements. We stayed for longer than we should have, just watching and calling up at them, before leaving regretfully and washing off in the creek before cycling back down the hill.
Then, disaster struck – the bumpy ride back had cause my tennis roll and house key to fall out of by bicycle basket! I was more gutted about the sweet roll I’d only had one bite of before realising Bryher would be home soon and I hadn’t bought ingredients to cook or cleaned the house like she always does when I come back from a trip (I swear I feel like a middle aged married couple sometimes. Or most of the time). So I enlisted a troupe of kids to scour the village for the keys, then we tag teamed the work – one burned the rubbish, one swept, one peeled potatoes for the curry while I washed the dishes. By the time Bryher got back at 8 we were all sitting munching on roti and potato curry.
I then collapsed under my mozzie net with exhaustion.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *