Let the 129th Annual GCU Assembly Begin.....

Trip Start Jul 04, 2012
Trip End Sep 30, 2012

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Flag of Guyana  , East Berbice-Corentyne,
Wednesday, July 25, 2012

We were up early and off to General Assembly out at New Amsterdam. I was pleasantly surprised with the condition of the roads. Even our taxi driver was good although I am amazed at the number of times he tooted the car horn. It seems to be normal practise.They toot for anything; when they pass another car, to warn people walking along the road – which in itself is constant - when they see a friend…… and then for any other reason, we don't have a clue!! It was an interesting trip out. Interestingly one time they don’t toot is when they come upon a cow walking on the road. Here they put their hazard lights on, stop and wait patiently for the cow to cross. We wonder if this is in respect of the sacredness of cows in the Hindu religion. For Barry coming out to New Amsterdam  was bringing back many memories as he was based out this way when he was here last year. For me it was all new. One of the things I noticed  was the increased number of houses with Hindu prayer flags at the gate. Apparently the Berbice area has a higher proportion of Eastern Indians. Another first, was seeing the fields of sugarcane as well as rice paddies. Again it is this eastern region where a lot of sugar and rice is grown. Apparently before the sugar cane is cut, the field is burnt in order to burn off the outer leaves of the cane. It also takes care of any lurking snakes and rats. The rice fields are also interesting.They have herds of cows in them. One would expect that standing in constant water would affect their feet but apparently it isn’t an issue. But giving birth can be an issue and many calves used to be lost to drowning  at birth until someone came up with the bright idea to build banks where the cows now go to to give birth. All fields now have banks around them or through them for the cows. Interesting!  Another first, was going over a pontoon bridge. The rivers here are wide and tidal so pontoon bridges have been their answer.  If there is an ocean-going ship on its way up to or from the sugar factory or rice mill, at high tide all traffic is stopped, the bridge opened up and the ship passes through. The driver said this happens most days.

Assembly was held at Mission Chapel Church. It is another historic building. An amazing building!! 


The opening service of worship was again wonderful as the young people lead the worship. It was a rich blend of the old and the new. 

Procedures started more than an hour after it was scheduled to and never caught up all day!!!! It began with a worship service lasting for about 3 ½hours.  It is always interesting watching another organisation have their annual meeting. They are really struggling with so many issues and are at crisis point so there is lots of discussion as everyone has their say.  Like in every organisation, there is always one person who likes to express views and is a challenge to the chair. It is almost amusing to be an observer.

So it has been a long day. We are now being hosted by a lovely women, Yvonne. She tells me she is 72!!!  I thought she was the mother of the 15 year old she cares for. She looks so young. For 40 years she lived in London, where she  worked as a nurse. This makes for interesting conversations as we are hosted here along with Rev. Noel Holder, who is also a nurse and was Guyana’s first male midwife. As well as pastoring a church, he oversees the nursing training here in Guyana as well as working for the Ministry of Health. With the school of nursing across the road and 3 nurses in the house all trained in different countries, the conversation has been rich and deep – well maybe not so much for Barry!!!

Yvonne’s house is "interesting"!!! (a good word to cover many aspects of life in Guyana!!) While it would be on the more 'wealthy’ end of the spectrum, as is common here, many do not keep up with maintenance. It just doesn’t seem to be important to most even if they have available funds. She is having ‘problems’ with her plumbing so we have been introduced to bathing with a bucket of water and a calabash. It is the shell of a type of gourd. We used it to pour the water over ourselves. Some taps worked and others didn’t.  Like all places we have been there is only cold water. But it is hardly cold in this climate and actually beautifully refreshing.  The toilet was in the ‘not working’ category so again we just bucket-flush that. All good experiences for us…… that just seems fine and normal. Good that camping rough has been so much part of our experience in the past!
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Heather Pearce on

Hi Clare & Barry - I send greetings from Dunedin, NZ. Hey I just love your blogs - I cannot get enough of them, so thank you. Your scripts are full, vibrant and really colourful - xox

Tara on

It is so wonderful to read about every day life thier. We are thinking of You guys heaps and miss you. Our prayers are with you may God renew your strength, peace and fill you with joy daily. Lots of love Tara and Barry.

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