Patamuna and stuff ...
Wakú pey nãh mesang? How are you?
As you can see, my Patamuna is improving, though quite slowly, which is a relief, seeing as though we’ve now been in Guyana for 3 months. How time flies when you.re having fun! I now know how to say I am tired – ‘oosay tak ah sack man’. I don’t know how to spell it yet though.
Paramakatoi is still very enjoyable. We’re making friends in the village, and our enthusiasm in learning Amerindian skills and Patamuna warms everyone to us. Whenever we say something in Patamuna, everyone erupts into laughter, probably because our pronunciation is so bad! Today I discovered that someone had left a note on my desk at school that just said ‘Amai Sarah’. Amai means ‘Grandmother’, so I’m not entirely sure of the purpose of the note! I’ve also learned that in PK, it is spelt Patamuna, but in some other villages, it’s spelt Patamona. It’s still the same language though.
Last weekend, I went to say hello to Sister Wall (the village missionary who is officially retired, but she always comes back to PK) and sat for a while chatting. I read the newspaper – apparently there’s been a shooting in Georgetown. A miner killed two civilians, and two policemen who were sent to respond to the incident. The police force is taking a bit of stick because most of the officers there were armed, but had no uniform or protective gear. Sister Wall also gave me a Patamuna/English Bible to improve my Patamuna. It’s the Good News Bible … Wakù Itekale. I read a book on Scotland sent to Sister Wall by a previous volunteer. Then, she invited me to stay for tea. There was a huge preacher from Georgetown with a lovely deep voice staying with her. Along with an ex-school pupil, the four of us sat and ate corned-beef spaghetti bolognaise … with that funny parmesan you get in a tub. I cannot explain my happiness at having cheese. It was an amazing moment, having it for the first time in almost 3 months. The preacher found it very funny how excited I was, and he even included a thanks to God for the cheese in his prayer. I couldn’t keep the smile off my face! I’ve also decided that I rather like American tea. I feel a bit like a traitor to the British institution of tea for saying it, but it’s true! I chose some puzzles to take home, but by the time I’d started to cross the village airstrip on the way home, I realised that I’d forgotten both the puzzles and my new Wakù Itekale Bible! The next morning, I went back to get it and ended up doing 6 puzzles with some village children whose parents were in Bible school.
My weekend was busy making ‘Home Improvements’. I’ve decided that there is nothing that cannot be fixed with the following things: string, cardboard, a sharp blade, empty coke bottles and a few matches. I’ve fixed my mosquito net (my room is now so full of string it’s like a giant spider web), made a shower curtain, made a shelf for the shower, found a lid for the bin, made a hammock hook, and put a nice rug over the chair in the corner. Our house looked very nice and clean for when Rosie came back from Kato (she was mad and ran there on Friday). I went to meet her, walking for a few hours through the jungle with a bag full of pasta, oranges and juice. We had a nice picnic on the track. On my way to find her, I saw three HUGE spider webs … much taller than I am. Aragog clearly exists! It was a bit scary! Rosie also saw some monkeys in the jungle near Kato, I’m quite jealous, having not seen any yet! On the way back, I picked some lemons from Miss Becky’s farm and found some wild Callalou (it’s a bit like spinach).