The second largest funeral in Guyana, easily so
I was not in Guyana when Walter Rodney was buried but I was told that Walter’s funeral attracted thirty thousand. People who have told me so are not the type to exaggerate. I have accepted their number since 1980. If the people who attended that procession were thirty thousand, then the process for the Linden Martyrs last Wednesday came close to that figure.
You had to be in Linden to see it to believe it. It was phenomenally massive and I am not including the large gathering at the Square of the Revolution. I spoke at the Square of the Revolution but chose not to do so at the funeral in Linden . I was not at the speakers’ podium so Lincoln Lewis couldn’t find me to say a few words.
Close by, I spent the entire afternoon while the service and the eulogies were going on under a tent chatting away with Lindeners, both young and old.
Their stories were so absorbing that I did not want to leave them and go to the speaking stage. I had my share of talking on the public pulpit since the martyrs were killed. It was time to ground with Lindeners and grounding I did. There were some hilarious moments under the tent. I got up from my seat just to turn around (seating was scare; when it was not raining, the sun was too intense) and a “natty dread” took my seat. The women burst out with laughter and the “natty dread” was embarrassed so he said, “Freddie you sit, you sit.”
A woman threw herself down by the tent asking persons nearby where she could get some food. But right under the tent food was sharing out as if it as the last day on earth. What that woman wanted was difficult to know because the free food was being shared out right in front her eyes. Then came the explosion of culinary advisors. Right outside the tent, a bulky gentleman was trying to get another coal pot lit. He tried and tried and the fire started then went out. This happened several times. Advice poured in.
Then a woman jumped up and said loudly. Like you sh…t at road corner that is why yuh can’t light a fire.”
A few bulky women (I hope Linden women don’t feel insulted in what I am about to say because after all they have treated me fantastically but Linden women tend to be on the bulky side. I don’t find this elsewhere in Guyana) asked what is the connection between when yuh sh…t at road side and why you cannot light a coal pot.
Getting back to women that are meaty. (God! I hope I don’t sound chauvinist; my daughter would kill me and I am certainty not chauvinist and never been). Lincoln Lewis and I met three sisters in the burial ground. They said they are Lindeners born in New Amsterdam. I invited one of them to lunch (will take my wife with me) when she comes to Georgetown. While she was recording my cell number, Lincoln Lewis signaled to her behind my back, pointing to his head to indicate that I am crazy. I will take her to lunch when she comes to G/T. If she brings her two sisters then that bill will be too high and I may have to settle for buns and coffee.
As I alluded to before; I cannot report on the service and the tributes because I was under the tent. And under the tent I had one of the most moving experiences of my life. People told me their tales, stories and journeys. Life is indeed one big interesting story-book. I met a few young girls who seem to think that there is no future for them in Linden. They all told me that there is no way they can see an income coming their way in the foreseeable future because there are simply no job openings in Linden.
I studied them as they took the food and chatted among themselves. One of them told me that my grand-daughter looked just like me. I looked around and inquired where my non-existent granddaughter was. She said; “That little girl next to you look exactly like you.”
I couldn’t see it but maybe she was right.
We left a solemn Linden around 21.00 hours and off to the National Park we went. I met a gentleman who told me that I must write that in Gangaram and Adelphi in Berbice, PPP supporters enjoy free water from GWI so why can’t Linden get free electricity.