By Alex Wayne
I had always wanted to visit Bachelor’s Adventure on the East Coast of Demerara but certainly not in the blistering sun like the one that was beating down on me with high intensity.
As I stood on the public road, I noticed vapours tha
t seemed to be rising from the asphalt, and without warning, a rather large lizard came skittering across the road and with a certain hungry mongoose in hot pursuit.
I smiled, being quite amused by this spectacle as they disappeared, rustling and tumbling into the bushes by the roadside.
The entire village seemed to be engulfed in a somewhat hazy, suffocating hotness that forced bleating sheep and loudly mooing cattle to seek shelter under coconut and mango trees. The heat was just too much for me, and my eyes roved the village for any available opportunity to shelter.
My eyes were drawn to a rather large tamarind tree under which several cattle were resting. But I had no intentions of retreating there because it was in the very centre of the roadside cemetery.
Bachelor’s Adventure is an estate located in Demerara-Mahaica, Guyana. The estimate terrain elevation below sea level is one metre. There are various forms of spelling for Bachelor’s Adventure or in other
languages: Bachelors Adventure, Bachelor’s Adventure.
This village is encamped in between the slightly larger villages of Paradise to the east and Enterprise to the West. Bachelor’s Adventure is located just over ten miles from the Garden City of Georgetown.
Traversing the Village
Bachelor’s Adventure is a combination of colourful cottages, sandy dams, twisting trails, gurgling natural waterways, bushy foliage, and sprawling pastures. On a not too sunny day, one would see young girls playing hop-scotch in their backyards, or boys having games of marbles on the dams on street corners.
It has now become customary for one to see topless men with their pants hanging way below their bottoms, a true reminder that youths are moving away from their roots, and adopting the dress codes of the Americas.
It is said to be situated on what was considered as sugar land, which once played a role in Guyana’s
history. It was at this village that the only significant armed confrontation between the government forces and the enslaved Africans of the East Coast who rose up in 1823, occurred.
This village today still maintains its old world aura, adding a somewhat peaceful quiet to the location. It also seems to be enveloped in a cozy cocoon of peace and simplicity that relaxes the very soul.
Bachelor’s Adventure is a rural area close to the sea wall on the northern coast of Guyana. It is below sea level and is rich with lush vegetation fruit species, and wildlife. The fertility of the soil there allows for small-scale farming and the cultivation of cash crops in a few areas.
I approached vegetable farmer, Lennox Williams, and he was at that hour of the afternoon digging in on some good ‘ole’ El Dorado 5-Year Old brown rum in the company of his friend, John Semple. After introductions he exclaimed, “Thank God yuh come…You from Kaieteur?…Meh glad alyuh come here. We have nuff things as villagers fuh discuss with you boss man.”
“For years, we have been calling out for assistance with fixing roads in this village, but nothing is really happening. The small access streets here are bad, especially the ones leading us to other villages like Bare Root, Melanie Dam
ishana, and other locations. When it rains, it’s almost impossible to traverse the area.
“The pot holes are getting bigger and bigger, and no one is doing anything about it, despite our pleas. Our vehicles cannot traverse this road in the rainy season, making it quite a task to fetch our crops from the backdam area to retailers or close by markets.
“That aside, nothing happens here really in this village, since we have no scope for entertainment or leisure time activities, as we do not have discos, sports clubs, or things like that. This village is still very underdeveloped and needs real good maintenance in some areas.
“We are tucked away here by ourselves and it’s like the Government and the authorities have forgotten all about us. This village is also the home to international reggae artiste, Natural Black’, who was born and bred here.”
As I walked around the village, several well fattened and rather muddy pigs, grunted on the dams while rummaging in heaps of rubbish, maybe for whatever edibles they could find. Some of them stopped to
stare at me, blinking their eyes as if daringly enquiring why I was disturbing their midday snacks exploits.
Chickens clucked nosily in many yards as I passed by, while in a few small drains, ducks as they swam and somersaulted in whatever water that remained in drains and small trenches.
Coconut vendor, Devon Tucker, was very excited to be the object of my attention, and allowing his male assistant to sell, sat down to chat with me.
“Bachelor’s Adventure is popular for its peaceful atmosphere, and residents here enjoy peace and harmony that is unmatched elsewhere. We may not have exciting and fancy things like people from the city, but we enjoy the luxury of living in a village that is safe and has no criminal activities.
“Everyone lives as one happy family. We ain’t get no time with race and creed at all. In this village, everyone helps the other. We does do like the Bible say and love we neighbours, we friends, and even we enemies”
Philip Craig, too, was very concerned about the fact that the underdeveloped village has not seen much attention from Government officials with regards to their welfare and daily existence.
“Bachelor’s Adventure is always ignored when it comes to many things that are important to the livelihood of residents. In years gone by the village was suffering from inadequate drainage and irrigation and that situation has not been yet resolved.
This village has a large number of talented sports-oriented youths but we are not able to develop and excel as expected because there is no proper training or recreational facilities. We have taken on much modern aura and there seemed to be not many stylish and posh homes as can be seen in more developed locations.
Bachelor’s Adventure in de good ole days
Bachelor’s Adventure is almost the same as it was many years ago. Today, there are still not many posh houses and businesses, nor nightclubs and avenues for sport and recreation.
To divulge information on the makings of this location was the elderly Emelda Johnson who seemed excited to be chatting with a reporter.
“I could remember my days as a young girl how we would run almost butt naked in the wide open pastures, with our hair flying. When the rain came down, we would splash and play in the muddy waters. But many times our mothers came after us with tamarind whips and there goes all the fun.
Then in the afternoon, we would go down to about two standpipes in the village, and many time fights broke out over whose turn it was to draw water.
“As young girls or boys clash in battle, a large crowd would quickly gather, each chanting for the person they supported. It was a sight to see them roll around like pigs in the mud, flinging cuffs, pulling hair, or digging faces. The crowd would scatter in all directions when village elders arrived, parting the fights with slaps and whip lashes.
In those days, there was no electricity and the ‘flambeau lamp’ was the going thing. You had to cook with it, do your schoolwork with it and to save the cooking oil or kerosene, blow out the lamps before going to bed.
Many families lived in mud huts and only the wealthy were living in cottage houses. Mosquitoes were always a problem, but we used to light dried ‘cow dung’ and make smoke to chase them away.
The best time we had is waiting for moonlight to head out to the sea walls to catch crabs as they marched.
“Around this time, the mouth watering aroma of curried crabs came from every home and bare backed children could be seen in the yards fighting over the ‘crab bungie’ (claws)”.
To some extent, the village seems to have an unemployment issue. In many homes however, mothers are beating the times by erecting stalls to sell snacks and food items, and from all accounts, they seem to be doing well with the crowds that gather to make purchases in the afternoons.
Some males still try their luck in the hinterland regions for gold and diamond to sustain their families. That aside, the educated residents are employed in schools and various administrative offices outside the village.
The residents in this village exist there in humble simplicity, each accepting the fact that the community needs lots of sprucing up, and infrastructural development. There is not much variation of the races in this village, but their indulgence and acceptance of each other’s culture is very touching.
I was very amazed at the contentment and simplicity of almost every resident who resides in this location. I was expecting bitter complaints but surprisingly there was actually not much from the residents.
They seemed to have come to grips with what was lacking in their village, and have implemented manageable techniques to make up for the luxuries that were not readily offered to them.
In Bachelor’s Adventure, the villagers seemed more intent on ‘fixing things’ on their own, than on waiting on related authorities, or for miracles to happen. Chatting with three vendors operating small confectionary stalls on the road corner, it was realized that these ladies were quite content with their ‘self-created professions’, since it afforded them an honest dollar.
I was well stirred up when I left that location, and of course was almost swooning from great exhaustion. But it was certainly worth the trip, so naturally I felt rewarded.
As we continue to bring you the mysteries and pristine beauty of locations around Guyana, join us next Sunday when our reporter travels to the very interesting village of Windsor Forest on the West Coast of Demerara.
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