Guyana, a place where formalities are expected but casual is the culture, where racism is prolific yet religious tolerance is standard, where the people move unhurriedly yet in a bus, market or crowd they aggressively hustle each other along. In the land of many waters, where rainy season is inevitable, but the country comes to a standstill at first sight of a drizzle, where some of the poorest people live yet exude such generosity often teaching me a thing or two about southern hospitality, where I’ve met some incredibly ungrateful greedy people, and some of the most altruistic, genuine caring ones, a place where I exchanged loud city sirens for wild dogs barking and frogs croaking, where the brilliant twinkling starlight replace the neon lights of the city, where the oranges and lemons are green and the flesh limes are sometimes yellow, this is the place I called home for a year. While oftentimes I felt like I was living in a dysfunctional home, it’s still where the heart is. And now after a year of injecting DEET into my bloodstream, it’s finally time to say good bye to warm Guyana and hello again to America.
Goodbye sights of beautifully thick trees lining the highway, goodbye orange, pink, purple shades of the sun setting, goodbye line of sea-foam green uniformed students spilling out of school and walking semi- single file along the highway, goodbye Music Man wheeling a cart of burned cds for sale down the street. Goodbye endless dancing on the streets (sometimes my life seems like a musical.) Goodbye full moon brightly lighting up the dirt path. Goodbye children clothed in merely underwear fishing in the sewer trenches, goodbye boys playing cricket barefoot, goodbye horse drawn carts, goodbye clean laundry drying underneath the harsh sunrays.
Goodbye smells of sweet honey roasted nuts simmering at the bus park, goodbye putrid urine on the streets and in the sewers intensified by the sun, goodbye sour rum distillery, goodbye delicious scent of garlic, onions and curry cooking from houses at 5pm stirring up my appetite.
Goodbye sounds of reggae music pumping everywhere, goodbye rumbling of children chatting, screaming, laughing in class, goodbye wild dogs barking, roosters crowing, frogs croaking, mosquitoes buzzing in my ear, goodbye “miss”, obnoxious sucking noises, obscene comments, and cheerful greetings. Goodbye little Michelle that lives downstairs crying, laughing, screaming, singing, and constantly knocking on my door asking for candy, goodbye pitter patter of rain in the distance hearing it about 3 seconds before it hits.
Goodbye sweet mangoes, pineapple, and passion fruit, goodbye amusing conversations with the school children, goodbye hammocks, goodbye market, goodbye mini-busses. It’s been a polarizing year with extreme highs and lows. It’s been quite an adventure. Goodbye Guyana (banana).