There were showers overnight and into the morning, and then during the day. But, the programme got started as planned with a church service at the Hopetown Seventh Day Adventist Church.
The sky was overcast for most of the afternoon, but they still came out in their numbers to be part of history. It was the historical Hopetown Village Day, the first of its kind, in keeping with a proclamation that was made by President David Granger on Emancipation Day last year, when he addressed folks at Ithaca, West Bank Berbice.
The idea behind it all, under the Ministry of Communities, is that with different villages observing a Village Day thereby highlighting various aspects of whatever that community would have perceived to be important, it could serve to motivate the younger generation, and could only positively impact the community.
The event highlighted several aspects of life in relation to Hopetown which may be more popular to most Guyanese for the annual soiree in August as part of the commemoration of the Emancipation of African slaves.
But, the village of Hopetown also boasts of a proud history as it relates to athletics. No village in Region Five would have produced more national athletes than Hopetown. There are many people who would want to say that no other village in the country would have produced more national athletes.
At the top of the list one can place Sprint Queen, Timolyn Semple, who while attending secondary school, won the Sports Woman of the Year award in 1982. There is quite a long list of athletes from Hopetown who would have represented Guyana: Thomas Bowman, Shawn Goodridge, Allison Cadogan, Josephine James, and Keisa Burnette, to name just a few.
Keisa is now giving back to the community as an athletics coach, and one cannot help but to also recognize Edwin Joseph and the late David Ned, National Athletic Coaches who also hailed from Hopetown. So, hardly can one try to highlight Hopetown without seeing it fit to mention some of the athletes produced.
As the skies got clearer late afternoon, the people came out, and the next segment of the program eventually got on the way, and of course it could only be athletics to begin with. The field was wet and soggy, and so the athletes took to the road with Okemmy Porter winning the race from Cemetery Road to the Fort Wellington Police Station and back. There was also a relay, won by the Flames Athletics Club, as well as there was an upright cycle race.
There was an exhibition of art and craft, and the kids also had fun having their face painted. Then there was the ‘wall of fame’ recognizing people of Hopetown roots for their various contributions to the Hopetown community and further afield.
Needless to say that such would have been quite an extensive list. Some of those recognized included educators, Thomas Robertson, Eunice Job, James Isaacs, Avril Blair, Gertrude James, and Sybil Nedd to name a few. Other outstanding people on the list included former broadcaster, Matthew Allen; Attorney Peter Britton, and Martin Stephenson; the late Professor Perry Mars; and of course the list goes on.
As day was dying, the crowd got larger and larger; focus was turned to the open-air stage that was erected. Hardly anyone would have gone home dissatisfied. There were performances from different groups and individuals. There were poems, songs, and dances.
One outstanding performer was little Oshay Roberts who appeared more than once on the programme thereby emphasizing the fact that already she is recognized as a talented performer. It should be noted that Oshay on Sunday November 5 last, walked away winner at the Princess Pageant held in Georgetown.
While there is always room for improvement, the organizers of the Hopetown Village Day activities could pat themselves on the shoulder as they consider how they make the next similar event even better.
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