The challenges faced living in Guyana
I have been traveling to Guyana for the past two years. People from home often ask me, “Why do you like Guyana? Isn’t it just scary, uncomfortable and inconvenient?”
Although I was born and lived 17 years in Guyana, living in Guyana is challenging for me. I can live with the garbage on every street, and I can tolerate the non-stop loud music always blasting everywhere. I can look past some of the unhealthy restaurants. But I just can’t stand the poor customer service at most businesses. I just can’t take grown men (especially the bus drivers) urinating in public for everyone to see. This is embarrassing and disgusting to me.
But I enjoy the Guyanese experience. I am always amazed at how people who have so little material possessions are still so grateful. They have so little, yet they don’t complain much. They are such a thankful people. I also admired the Guyanese people’s tenacious spirit, and their strong faith in God.
I get inspiration from the Guyanese people. No matter what life throws at them they continue to strive. No matter how many times life knocks them down, they still get up. These people rise up like lions. They refuse to rest until they conquer every obstacle. They are a resilient people. They don’t give up, and they never surrender. They have the strength of an elephant, and the hunger of a lion.
The Guyanese culture is different from any other culture that I have ever experienced. I have lived and worked in Iraq and Afghanistan. When I am living in Guyana, I feel like I am submerged into an unfamiliar culture. And I have to learn to live with the dissimilarities I encounter. Sometimes this leads to frustration (why can’t they do it the way we do it in America?) Once in awhile humour (where did they ever come up with that?), perhaps annoyance (I’m so tired of potholes and beggars).
During one of my visits to Kimbia, which is located 70 miles up the Berbice River, I had an opportunity to talk with the locals about drinking water from the infested river. All of them believed that you could NOT get sick from drinking river water. Period. They believed that drinking the river water makes them stronger. I thought this was a rather absurd thing to regard as true, and was sometimes bothered by the fact that they could believe something so asinine. On various occasions I tried to prove them wrong, but to no avail. They firmly believed that’s how it was. Once I did a demonstration for them using my PUR Purifier of Water – Water treatment in a packet to show them the river water contained viruses and bacteria that can make them sick.
Over time, I realised it didn’t matter what I said to them, I am not going to change their mind. That experience had a profound impact on me. How can people be so blind, stupid, and ignorant? Yet, I realise that if I had lived in Kimbia all my life, I too would be just like them. But for the grace of God, there go I.
How has living in Guyana changed me? I am a more grateful person. I thank God now for the little things in life like hot water, indoor toilets, washing machines, and air condition. I have become more caring and giving. Because there are so many poor people in Guyana, it makes me want to give more. It makes me more humble. Living in Guyana is also therapeutic. When I am there, I forget all of my troubles. It makes me a happier person. I am more relaxed, and I laugh and tell more jokes when I am there. There is less stress there.
In conclusion, living in Guyana is challenging and rewarding. Living in Guyana will change and inspire you. You will love and hate living in Guyana. You will enjoy the culture and also get frustrated by it.