Rural Life in Guyana
Sophia Jones, our Senior Communications Manager, was recently in Guyana where she met Mothers’ Union members throughout the country working alongside their communities making a difference to the lives of thousands.
To get to the village of Crash Water village she took a vehicle for almost one hour from the main village of Annai, then a small boat across a river and a half hour trek on foot to the remote village in the Rupinuni region of south west Guyana.
Here, she spoke to Jaya and Maureen who told her about what life is like to live in in this rural community.
Jaya Thomas, 24 years old.
“I live right here in Crash Water and finished Primary School when I was 15. My son Killian is six years old. I gave birth to him at home with the help of my mum and dad. The birth was okay and no complications.
It can be hard living here because everything is so very expensive. I live at home with my parents. They are farmers and I help them on the farm. We grow cassava, potatoes, sweet potatoes, bananas and corn. We sell some of it and the rest we keep.
My husband Kevin does fishing and farming and sells the fish in Annai. I have started a small business selling bicycle parts as there is a need for them here and I’m able to save some money. Business isn’t bad. I can make up to £41 per week.
I usually get up between 5am to 6am and make breakfast which is usually bakes (similar to donuts) and Milo. I fetch water at 6.30am and make sure Killian is bathed and ready for school. At 8.30am Killian goes off to school. I buy parts from either Lethem (major town) or Annai, once a week. To get to Lethem it takes me about three hours. So I make sure I buy parts that people have ordered. At 3.30am Killian finishes school and I finish working at 5pm. It’s a happy place. I like my village.”
Maureen Celeen Dargan, 25 years old
“I wake up at from 5am to 6am but sometimes the children wake me up first! They are two girls Zena four and two.
I tend to fetch water three times a week, depending on how much we have. It’s a half an hour walk. For breakfast I make bakes, porridge especially for Zena because she goes to school early at 8.30.
Most of my day is spent cleaning the compound and washing. My husband Zimran works in Mabara as a logger. He comes home every two months and spends about three weeks with us.
It can be difficult living here and most of the men especially leave to look for work. I finished secondary school and was hoping to become a nurse but it didn’t work out because I didn’t have enough support to do the training. I would still like to but my husband doesn’t want me to look for work so far away. It’s really hard because I would have to go to Lethem or Georgetown for my training.
I gave birth to my two year old in Lethem. First I went to Annai, but they sent me to Lethem because I was having a hard delivery. I was then working as a cook
Last year I went to take part in training to become a Mothers’ Union Parenting facilitator. It was so good! I learned so very much! Especially how to talk to my children and be a good mum.
I’ve started facilitating a group here with the young mums. But it’s really challenging because they’re not interested. They never come out. They stay home on their farms. I know they will benefit because there’s a problem of domestic violence. Sometimes when they make the local brew, Pakari, from cassava they get drunk and end up fighting with their husbands. They also forget about their children. Sometimes the child has to go to school in the morning and the parents aren’t home. If you talk to them they won’t listen. The more you talk the more they don’t listen. So it is a challenge. But I still plan to continue with giving the parenting classes.
(Photo Credit: Phil Knox)