Mashramani and the Benab
Guyana celebrated its 44th Birthday two Sundays ago … a day known as Mashramani. The whole of last week was a week of loud music and more disruption to the normal school happenings.
The Kato boys came over on Saturday and on Sunday, the four of us went down to play Bingo (turned out to be Brasillian Bingo, apparently it’s different) at Miss Dorothy’s house to try and win the top prize … a flat screen television for Auntie June. We ate a delicious chicken curry (she might teach us to make it this weekend) and drank Brasillian beer. The four white people were definitely the most enthusiastic players, much to everyone’s amusement. By some crazy miracle, Xander actually won the television to our bewilderment and amazement. We carted it home, then went back to join the party. As usual, the music was Forro, and in our slightly intoxicated states we all danced away …. though not very well. We got home sometime in the morning and spent the next day (a national holiday) recovering and liming. Duke, one of the Kato policemen, turned up at about 9pm to take the boys back. There was a revolver hanging out of the pocket of the other passenger. With the boys gone, Rosie and I crashed into bed.
Tuesday and Wednesday were ‘normal school days’, although more than half of the school had gone home to spend Mash with their families. Thursday morning was spent cleaning our classrooms … my job involved supervising my class, and sandpapering graffiti off the classroom walls. We had the afternoon off. On Friday we had a ‘Fun Day’ which was poorly organised, but quite nice once things got going. I was in charge of ‘Pin the Tail on the Donkey’ … the donkey had been painted on a sheet by Sir Barry, and I must confess, I got very sick of jokes about Sir Barry’s ass by the end of the day. The sheet was pinned to a blackboard which had been carried onto the field by some boys. Sadly, it was quite a windy day, so the blackboard would occasionally topple down and crush a blindfolded student. I also got to try using an Amerindian bow, and surprised everyone by smashing the target (half a coke bottle) on my first attempt. Using a bow made me really miss archery though. Miss Toni let Rosie and I go early and we ran home to pack our bags, then set off walking to Kato.
The walk was very enjoyable for me … but poor Rosie was carrying our bag as a ‘handicap’. I spent the walk running down hills and shooting trees with my new slingshot which I’d been given as a present on Thursday by Miss Becky.
Being at Kato was awesome. Calum made a delicious channa and chicken curry, whilst me and Rosie made roti. On Saturday I made a new slingshot target for the boys … an old rusty frying pan tied to a tree. We swam in Big Pool. The four of us went to the hospital fundraiser in the football stadium and ate cookies, chowmein and drank mango wine. Then we all packed again and walked to the new benab at Chiung Falls. We swam above the falls, Calum cooked a delicious corned beef and tomato rice stew thing, sat around the fire and then froze in our hammocks. I spent the next day liming in the Guesthouse with Miss Samantha and her cousin waiting for an ATV to come and pick me up (Rosie was running).
Mash week has been fantastic … I may have many kubarru and mosquito bites, numerous scrapes and bruises, but it has been really good fun.
And on that happy note, adios amigos!