…in raging Kaieteur Falls
By Mondale Smith
In the city, Aliya Bulkan’s sister is shocked at news that the person she considers her closest friend will no longer be coming home.
At the same time, the missing woman’s mother is hoping that her second daughter will come home from a trip she made to the Kaieteur Falls yesterday. However, amidst family disbelief and grief last night her uncle said that the family is certain that the 23-year-old is dead.
The hope above hope among friends is that she probably ran off into a clump of bushes at the Kaieteur National Park, something that is a nightmare that they can awake from. But at least two Korean tourists are sure that they saw the woman jump into the raging waters of Kaieteur Falls yesterday.
Bulkan and a friend, Lisa, boarded a Roraima aircraft at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport, yesterday, to enjoy a trip to the mighty Kaieteur Falls as part of her efforts to relax a bit after returning to Guyana a month ago.
All told, there were ten persons on board the flight including the pilot and two Korean tourists. The plane winged out at 8:20hrs. The trip was part of a Kaieteur Falls special offered at a reduced price to afford locals a chance to see Guyana.
Captain Gerry Gouveia, owner of Roraima Airways, said that the plane arrived at the Kaieteur Falls airstrip at about 9:15hrs and the tour began.
Upon completing the tour the group was heading back to the guest house with Bulkan walking third behind tour guide Leroy.
Suddenly Aliya Bulkan reportedly dashed off in the direction of the waterfalls and ran through some bushes and disappeared. No one except for two traumatised Korean women saw her jump into the falls. The women reportedly began screaming uncontrollably and were up to last night traumatised at what they had seen.
Officials close to the matter said when she dashed off the rest of people thought that she had forgotten her camera. But when she ran in the opposite direction to the one they used the frantic screams began.
The source said, “Tourists don’t normally go in that direction because it is bushy.” He also said that there were no safety breaches as signs clearly indicate what persons should and should not do.
Officials at the Kaieteur Park are adamant that she did not slip because no one is allowed to stand close to the edge. Gouveia said that he has no reason to believe that the woman did not jump into the waterfalls but said that if indeed she did, she has no chance of survival.
He said that based on the flow of the water the body could eventually be washed into the lower reaches of the Potaro River.
Yesterday, as news spread several relatives of the young woman were seen arriving at the Roraima Residence Inn to meet with Captain Gouveia. Her father, Rustum Bulkan, joint Managing Director of Precision Woodworking, on hearing the news was flown into the location with several police ranks who began their investigations. According to her uncle the search will continue today for her body.
Her elder sister said, “She did not give us any indication that she would take her own life; she just said that she was going to enjoy a day out with her friend.”
Aliya, according to the sister, along with her friend Lisa were taken to the road head by her father. From there they took a taxi to the Cheddi Jagan International airport.
“She got up at about 6:00hrs and when she was leaving she said goodbye in the usual way and she left with our father. I didn’t go because I had a SAT class to teach.”
The next time she heard about her sister was when her father relayed the news that she had reportedly jumped off the Kaieteur Falls.
At their New Providence home, yesterday, relatives gathered in disbelief. “Is like I’m still trying to come to grips with this thing and I’m hopeful that she’s going to come home with her father,” her mother said. They all agreed that Aliya had no reason to commit suicide.
Poet Martin Carter (late) described the seven-year-old Aliya Bulkan’s poetry writing abilities as brilliant. Then she topped the SSEE in 1998 before placing third at the Caribbean Secondary School’s Examination’s Council examination, CSEC in 2003. That year, too, as a student of the School of the Nations, Bulkan won the under-18 category of Association of Guyanese Writers and Artists (AGWA) prize for Literature in poetry.
That publication is now available to students at the University of Guyana (UG), Cyril Potter College of Education (CPCE), Public Library and secondary schools countywide. Soon after excelling, she took up studies in the USA at the Stone Brookes University, Long Island, and there she began pursuing her dream to become an editor in one of the renowned publishing houses.
So brilliant was the English Major that she served as teaching assistant to three professors carrying their lectures in their absence even as she was also a writing tutor at the university.
Bulkan penned a poem titled ‘Barefoot Lady’ and it became the title of an anthology of short stories and poems donated to the Ministry of Education in 2004 for children to place more emphasis on writing English Literature at the CXC level and also to encourage them to emulate Guyanese writers.
After four years of studies she graduated in December 2008 Magna Cum Laude -the second-highest level of academic honours from the US University —while her sister, Camilla, got the highest level of academic honours at graduation- Summa Cum Laude. Their modesty did not allow them to have this accomplishment publicised.
US economic depression reality
After graduating from the University Aliya sent out a number of applications but she was not securing employment in New York although she was eminently qualified.
Though she was a social person “the recession depressed her at times because she could not get a job and then she decided that she wanted to come home and relax a bit and I went up just over a month ago and gave up the apartment and we returned home,” her mother said.
This entailed her sister giving up her job but upon
“I did encourage her to see a doctor for a physical check up but she was not so keen on that. To me she was okay otherwise. I never believed that she had any reason to commit suicide,” the mother said.
Legend et al
The Kaieteur Falls was named in honour of the Amerindian Chief Kai, of the Patamona tribe.
Located within the Kaieteur National Park in the Potaro-Siparuni Region of Guyana, Kaieteur Falls is the world’s largest single drop waterfall. At an elevation of 4380 feet, it is five times taller than Niagara Falls. With a single drop measuring 741 feet, this waterfall is truly majestic and awe-inspiring. Kaieteur Falls, like the entire surrounding area, is steeped in history and legend. The first European to see the fall was the explorer Barrington Browne in 1870.
Camilla, the eldest Bulkan daughter placed sixth at SSEE and five years later, topped the country at Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) in 2002.
Poems by Aliya Bulkan
Hauntingly lovely, barefoot lady
wild raven hair, contorted by
the galloping horses of the wind
Mr. Love and Mrs. Faith
drowning in the icy pools
of her eyes
Simmering nimbus in indigo pot
Gelid waters lick her feet
and try to erase the memory
of her footprints
The gash in her face
slowly widens, and releases
her birds of song
once trapped, in the cage of her mind
With each flutter of wings
Thus flutter of heart
Damn you, say the crunch
of broken glass
that was once sand
Knives, once fingernails
with streaks of scarlet and tortured pools
weep bloody tears
Celestial canvas screams from labour pains
finally pushes out thunder
And she is sucked to the bottom of the earth
Children come in all different shapes and sizes
To all parents, they are prizes
Children come in different colours, too
Whether it be red, yellow, black, or blue
All have different textures and shades of hair
All have many different things to wear
Some may be handicapped or sick
But you can be sure, all children love listening to music
All children have different taste and style
In their different moods, they may wear a frown or a smile
All children will grow up to be adults
No one will ever know the finished results
Some will be bright and scholastic
To some, life is just a picnic
Some children might be given the title, computer freak
Some are too shy to even speak
Some may be rich and some may be poor
But one thing’s for sure
Whether considered cool or odd
Jan 17, 2018Backs Moore to win on Pro debut on Saturday Night By Sean Devers Boxing fans are ready for plenty of entertainment as the Guyana Boxing Board of Control has collaborated with MCG to bring...
Guyana, this past week sent a large delegation of some 25 parliamentarians to attend the People of Indian Origin (PIO) Parliamentary... more
Editor’s Note, If your sent letter was not published and you felt its contents were valid and devoid of libel or personal attacks, please contact us by phone or email.
Feel free to send us your comments and/or criticisms.
Contact: 624-6456; 225-8452; 225-8458; 225-8463; 225-8465; 225-8473 or 225-8491.
Or by Email: [email protected] / [email protected]