Category Archives: Life in Guyana

– information about life in Guyana

Misuse of The Golden Arrowhead – Guyana’s National Flag

“It is the duty of every citizen of Guyana wherever he or she may be and of every person in Guyana to respect the national flag, the coat of arms, the national anthem, the national pledge and the Constitution of Guyana, and to treat them with due and proper solemnity on all occasions.”
My Guyana El Dorado by Taijrani Rampersaud
My Guyana El Dorado by Taijrani Rampersaud

It is sad that 50 years as an independent state has not resulted in us, as Guyanese, being proud of and having respect for our national symbols. These symbols of nationhood represent one of the first steps we took following the casting off of the shackles of colonialism. They are proof that we are a free nation and are no longer ruled by any other…

Over the years, I have observed their misuse, especially that of the national flag. People paste the national flag on backwards as a form of decoration, they use it as a table cloth or curtain, they wear the flag as an item of clothing (sometimes cutting the flag for specific fittings) and throw the unwanted flags on the grounds after celebrations, (where people walk on them). Whenever possible, I intervened and had positive results the majority of times which highlights that not everyone who uses the flag inappropriately is aware of the disrespect. There is a need for education on the proper use of the national symbols – particularly the flag. It would be helpful if we can have a Guyana Flag Code similar to that of the United States of America or the Republic of India which can be consulted so that the dishonor does not occur time and again. Note: I couldn’t find any documentation about the use/misuse of the national flag, if you are aware of any such documentation I would appreciate it if you can forward me that information. 

Please, don’t misunderstand me. I love to see the Golden Arrowhead as I feel a sense of pride. However, this should be done in a proper manner. If people want to create a feeling of ‘oneness’ and togetherness, especially at national events, then use the symbols appropriately. Maybe the colors of the flag can be used, in proportion to how they are represented on the flag, however, the actual use of the flag inappropriately (I’ve given a few examples above) needs to be condemn.

Do you remember that line from our national pledge? It goes like this, “I pledge myself to honor always the Flag of Guyana…” To me, the use of flag instead of coat-of-arms or any other national symbol means something. The design and colors of our flag all have deep symbolism and when I say the national pledge and look at the flag I get this feeling which screams ‘I am a proud Guyanese.’ By making a pledge to the Golden Arrowhead, flying high and proud in the winds, I am making a commitment “…to be loyal to my country, to be obedient to the laws of Guyana, to love my fellow citizens, and to dedicate my energies towards the happiness and prosperity of Guyana.”

The flag is important, it is symbolic; to the world it says GUYANA. Let us treat it with the respect it deserves. 

My parents are 30 years!

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Dearest Mom and Dad,

Today you are both celebrating the fact that you have a child who made it to 30 years. I’m celebrating the fact that you made it 30 years into parenthood without killing your mischievous offspring. *hahah* For that I thank you dearly as I’m thrilled to be alive, to meet this milestone. I know you love me and are proud of me and all that good stuff. I also know that there were trying times when I was a less than disciplined child. Let’s celebrate the fact that all three of us made it this far in life together!!!

Most people would do a birthday post with their achievements so far in life and maybe some resolutions for the next couple years. I think the distance from home has put me in a ‘reflective’ mood this year. I don’t want to look to the future; I want to look at my past – relive some of the things that have made me who I am today.

You might not realise it but there are many things I’d like to remind you of right now. Let’s call this a trip down memory lane from my point of view:

  • IMG_1842Mom, I remember quite a few times you would chase me to give me some ‘good lashes.’ Come on, Mom! Why would anyone refer to a spanking as ‘good’??? I don’t see what was so ‘good’ about those! Therefore, I ran away, even when you called me. *smirks* I probably deserved quite a lot of those. Okay! I probably deserved all as you never raised you hand at me unless I was really horrid. However, let’s look at the good side of those ‘spanking chases’: (1) I helped to keep you fit Mom, and, (2) I learned to hide my mischief more efficiently, thus, you were less stressed out and forced to discipline me! Win-win.
  • IMG_0531I remember the time Dad forgot me at school when I was in Form 2. I still don’t know what happened that day. I remember sitting under that tree in the school yard and waiting and waiting and still no Dad. Finally, at about 5pm (he’d normally get me at 3:30pm and take me to the office) I called him only to find out that he was almost home – at the head of the street. I think he broke a few speed limits that day because in a matter of 10 minutes he was there for me. Mom, we never told you this then cause I got bribed with the promise of ice-cream but I’m happily sharing this now as I don’t think he ever did fulfill that bargain. *evil grin*

Yes, I shared a few ‘bad memories’ first. They make me laugh when I think of them. In addition, as I grew older, the ‘parent training’ of you two became easier and you stopped spanking me and forgetting me. I think we turned out okay…

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Now, for some of the good memories:

  • IMG_0304Mom, do you remember holding my hand and taking me to nursery school? This should have taken us a maximum of 10 minutes walking but it invariably turned into about half hour. The reason was because I needed to say ‘good morning’ to everyone I saw on the way and would also strike up conversations with the old ladies in the street. You taught me early in life to be polite to people and to enjoy the simple things in life.
  • Dad, do you remember the time when you were at home with me when I was in Prep A? You would help me to get dressed for school and we were both challenged with the task of combing my hair! Then you would take me to school; you were the only Dad among all the mothers – I was very proud about this. Every afternoon I’d stand up in class and peep through the window and you would be there under the tree outside the compound waiting to take me home. That taught me the security of having a family.
  • 100_0174Mom, I remember you carrying me down this long road to a clinic when I was very sick. I used to wonder if that road would ever end and I’d feel myself slipping away from you because I was always so tired and you would instinctively hold me tighter to prevent me from falling. The sun was always hot and you had to juggle an umbrella and a sick child, yet you never dropped me. Dad, I remember that the only thing I really wanted to eat besides mashed potatoes when I was sick was noodle soup. Mom didn’t know how to prepare it at that point in time so you bought the packets and would cook it for me when you came home from work. There were times I wasn’t totally conscious but whenever I opened my eyes either one of you or both of you would be there. I also remember a kitten – all over black with a white star on his neck and green eyes. I’m not sure now if he was real or a figment of my imagination as he disappeared when I got well. Was he real? Anyways, these things taught me that true love from a parent is a joy that is felt and comes from small things in life – a hug, a smile, time spent with each other.
  • HPIM0061I remember that I failed math (miserably) when I changed schools. I was so devastated that I cried and cried and cried. Dad, you spent that Christmas vacation teaching me arithmetic so that I won’t fail again. Then, once we’ve conquered that challenge, you taught me advanced algebra so I’ll feel good about myself. This empowered me to keep on trying even when I failed.
  • IMG_0384There was this period of time when I would go to Modo’s after school because you were attending afternoon classes in order to enter CPCE, Mom. Even when you fulfilled the ‘traditional’ roles of a woman (mother and wife) you pursued your dreams. The joy I would feel when I stood on that side step and saw you coming up the road was surreal. We’d walk home hand in hand and talk about our days – well mostly me as I was and still can be a talkative person. It taught me to follow my dreams, never give up!
  • I remember the first time I saw Bringle – my first dog ever! He was a cute little grey mongrel with a cold black nose and a curled tail and I fell in love with him on sight! Neither of you told me I was getting a dog but simply said that there was something downstairs for me after I heard the gate open and close. He was quite possibly the BEST PRESENT EVER! Following Bringle, the adoption of random strays over the years taught me compassion and provided a foundation to nurture my love of animals.
  • 100_0387Our home is a home because it is a place where those in need can find shelter – there is always a meal to be had and friendly advice. This was proven time and again when family and friends would visit. I have these images in my head of you two hanging out with my friends – even when said friends came to see ME. The guys would go sit and chat with Dad for a few minutes or watch television. Mom would hang out with us in the living room after work on the occasions she came home to an ‘invasion’. This wasn’t restricted to the physical location but the many times Mom would cook us dinner (little rotis with curry and tea) and Dad would transport them to the university when we wanted to stay late for one reason or another.
  • IMG_3503Dad you taught me to play cricket – even when you didn’t initially approve of me pursuing a sport when I had studies. You instructed me on how to keep a good line and deliver a ball, how to catch and how to bat. I never was and never will be a great cricketer but I was good enough to captain the girls’ team at QC for three years and was even awarded the School Colours Medal. This support extended to other hobbies as well and I’m happy you encouraged me to pursue my dreams, also.
  • Mom, every time I was on stage for a prize giving ceremony or for a graduation, I would instinctively look for you in the crowd. I don’t know if you know this but it’s true. Both Dad and you contributed to my education in many ways. But I remember you first because I remember doing homework or assignments and meals would miraculously appear next to me. I’d eat and the empty plates and cups would disappear. You did magic! You taught me to write – not my nursery school teacher. You are my first teacher and considering where I am now, you have a lot to be proud of Teacher Pan!

There are so many more memories, great memories, that I can share; but there isn’t enough time or space for me to write them down. You two have always been the foundation of my life and no matter what I chose, even if you thought I could have made a better choice, you supported me. Every success I’ve had in life is because of you and I’ll never forget it. You made home a place where I feel safe. You made me the woman I am today – confident, kind and giving. The best lessons in life came not from my classrooms but from you two and I thank you for them.

I love you two. Knowing you return this love makes me strong enough to conquer the world! Happy 30 years of parenthood to you!!!

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Playing Catch Up – Pt 2

2014 – Project 52 – Weeks Twenty – Twenty Four

This is the second set of five pictures in my ‘playing catch up’ posts. Let’s hope I can keep to getting the blogs done on time now that I’m back in the game.

Week 20: May 14 - 20 Title: Symmetry  Location: GICC, ECD, Guyana
Week 20: May 14 – 20
Title: Symmetry
Location: GICC, ECD, Guyana

I was always attracted to images with symmetry. This week I was doing a favour for a friend and was able to take a picture of the main conference hall at the Guyana International Conference Centre. I wasn’t even thinking about making it black and white until I got to my computer after the shoot. Then I realised that it’s a really beautiful image and would probably have more impact in BnW.

Week 21: May 21 - 27 Title: Tia sees the light Location: Home, ECD, Guyana
Week 21: May 21 – 27
Title: Tia sees the light
Location: Home, ECD, Guyana

Tia is a curious dog. At almost ten years old she has what I refer to as ‘Parkinsons for Dogs’ (also referred to as the shaking sickness) there is no cure. The black spots on and near her legs are a result of her not being able to lay down without shaking and moving around. Thus, she grazed out all the hair and the skin has hardened in those area. When she first got the sickness she lost huge amounts of weight and we thought of putting her down. However, the vet never came and we never took her to the vet. Two years on and she’s gained back her weight, still shakes, still troubles our younger dog and still adores us… She’s a bit grumpy, as can be expected from an older dog, but she still demands her weekly baths, eats her food and walk my dad at nights 🙂

Week 22: May 28 - Jun 03 Title: Picture perfect GT Location: Vreed-en-Hoop, WBD, Guyana
Week 22: May 28 – Jun 03
Title: Picture perfect GT
Location: Vreed-en-Hoop, WBD, Guyana

During week  twenty-two, some photographer friends and I had a walk to Vreed-en-Hoop, one of the towns at the mouth of the Demerara River. During exploration of the jetty, we got caught in the rain and then had to rush back to the stelling area after it stopped. When we reached there it was almost night and I got a couple of hurried shots. This was my favourite – it shows our capital city, Georgetown, framed by an old wall at the stelling as night approaches.

Week 23: Jun 04 - Jun 09 Title: River Life Location: Bartica, Essequibo River, Guyana
Week 23: Jun 04 – Jun 09
Title: River Life
Location: Bartica, Essequibo River, Guyana

Bartica, Essequibo River, Guyana… that’s where I selected my picture from for this week. My beautiful country is also referred to as the Land of Many Waters and I think you can see it from this picture. There are many rivers running through my country. This is a picture of one of the boat docks in Bartica with a passing speedboat. It was a rainy day thus the lack of details in the sky – just clouds.

Week 24: Jun 11 - Jun 17 Title: Teamwork Location: MOE, ECD, Guyana
Week 24: Jun 11 – Jun 17
Title: Teamwork
Location: MOE, ECD, Guyana

Finally, I’ve caught up with this image. It shows students in a debate conferring about a point. In this case, the proposition was preparing its’ rebuttal. There are images of the individual speakers from both sides presenting their arguments, etc., however this is my favourite from the set. Note: the proposing team won 🙂 GO IBE!

Playing Catch Up – Pt 1

2014 – Project 52 – Weeks Fifteen – Nineteen

I took a bit of a hiatus due to work but then it was difficult to start back. I’m going to take some baby steps now so that I can get back in to the trend of blogging. Therefore, I decided to get my backed up posts from Project 52, 2014 done in two posts. Enjoy…

Week 15: Apr 09 - Apr 15 Title: Scarlet Flower  Location: Home, ECD
Week 15: Apr 09 – Apr 15
Title: Scarlet Flower
Location: Home, ECD

This was the week of flowers. My friends said that I’m allowed one flower post for the year. Thus, I chose my favourite one – my scarlet flower. I’ve bee enchanted with this flower since I was a little girl after reading a story about it. My father then got the flower and planted it in our yard and since then it has thrived. I love the beauty of the flower and the fact that it has thorns – symbolic in a way.

Week 16: Apr 16 - Apr 22 Title: Man's 'footprint' Location: Orangestein, East Coast Essequibo, Gyuana
Week 16: Apr 16 – Apr 22
Title: Man’s ‘footprint’
Location: Orangestein, East Coast Essequibo, Gyuana

Things are not always as nice as they appear and photographers are normally seen as ‘focusing on the beauty’ instead of the upsetting, ugly, etc. Therefore, this week I choose to focus on how destructive men are. This is a branch with litter from the Atlantic Ocean wrapped around it. It’s really sad to think that all this trash came from the waterways and that people could care less about the disposal.

Week 17: Apr 23 - Apr 29 Title:... Location: Berbice Coast *somewhere*, Guyana
Week 17: Apr 23 – Apr 29
Title:…
Location: Berbice Coast *somewhere*, Guyana

Week Seventeen saw one of my better images for the year so far (or so I believe). I was on a photowalk with some friends in Berbice, Guyana. On the way back, I was determined to get a picture of the green fields we kept passing all day. It just so happens  that, after walking for a minute away from where the group was on one stop, I saw the dilapidated fence and a kiskadee on it. It wasn’t easy to get the shot as it was the end of the day, I was tired and the bird kept moving…

Week 18: Apr 30 - May 06 Title: Sonu Nigam Location: Guyana National Stadium, EBD, Guyana
Week 18: Apr 30 – May 06
Title: Sonu Nigam
Location: Guyana National Stadium, EBD, Guyana

Event photography isn’t easy – especially the kind where there is a stage with multiple revolving lights, smoke machines and artistes that are not staying in one location. Considering the above mentioned challenges and where I was sitting and the fact that it was night time, I think I did okay for this week. Being able to experience Sonu Nigam in concert with his band was a great experience – my mom and I danced, even in the rain!

Week 19: May 07 - May 13 Title: 9 Day Joy   Location: Cummings Lodge, ECD, Guyana
Week 19: May 07 – May 13
Title: 9 Day Joy
Location: Cummings Lodge, ECD, Guyana

Finally, closing off this ‘catching up’ blog post, I present to you a baby. There are multiple images of sweet, happy babies out there  there that’s not always the reality. Thus, I present to you something a bit more realistic… 🙂

Pooja / Puja / Prayers

2014 – Project 52 – Week Fourteen

Week 14: Apr 02 - Apr 08 Title: Durga Pooja Location: CLIHS Mandir, ECD, Guyana
Week 14: Apr 02 – Apr 08
Title: Durga Pooja
Location: CLIHS Mandir, ECD, Guyana

I come from a Hindu family, a very Hindu family that boasts of two pandits (priests) and numerous members who are very learned about the scriptures and traditions associated with Hinduism in Guyana. I would like to think I’m rather a strong person where my religion is concerned as I take part in different aspects of prayers associated with Hinduism.

Apart from be very familiar with the traidions, etc., I’m naturally curious about the whole aspect of Hinduism since it is more often than not considered to be ‘a way of life’. I love the colours and the vibrancy associated with this religion and the wide variety of different ways in which the events are observed and practised – the different activities used to focus on different aspects of God through different ways of making offerings.

As such, it was quite easy for me to select the event from which my image for Week Fourteen would come from. However, due to the wide array of different elements in the worship ceremonies, it was hard to narrow down my 600 images to just one. I finally selected this one because it sums up the season for me. This image shows a devotee pouring Durga dhar (a special offering comprising different grind elements being mixed in milk) into a tally (tray) with a cut lime and nutmeg that have been covered with sindoor (red powder used by married women in their head) and camfor (used to create fire) on top of the lime. All of these elements scream ‘Naav-raatri’ for me and it truly is a season I enjoy.

Some background to my image: Week Fourteen saw the beginning of the first ‘naav-raatri’ period for the year; this one leads to Raamnaavmi (birthday of Lord Ram). Naav-raatri is basically the worship onto God in the female form and spans three sub-periods where you focus on certain general aspects of Maa. The first three nights – workship with a focus on Durga Maa, the second three nights – workship with a focus on Latchmi Maa and the final two nights (this would be three nights for the naav-raatri period before Diwali later in the year)  – worship with a focus on Saraswati Maa. The final day, the ninth day, is celebrated as Raamnaavmi.

Here are some more favourites from this week.