Thursday, May 26, 2011

It has been almost a year!!

It is just so hard to believe that so much time has gone by! We have had over 2000 guests since we arrived at Karanambu. Being so isolated makes the logistics of catering to guests very difficult, frustrating and time consuming.  The days just flew by! Our last few days spent organizing fuel and supplies wore us down. We were feeling cranky and tired.
We've learned a lot, shared a lot...laughed and cried a lot. But "rainy season" is here, so it is time for us to go on leave!
The river came up fast, over 20 feet.  It is high high high and we will have to go by boat to the airstrip, because the land rover can't get through. Driving through the trees in the boat made us realize again how amazing Karanambu is.
But, it is time to pack...again! And then excitement begins to build and we look so forward to hugging and kissing children and Grandchildren; family and friends who we have missed so much! 
But first we have to say our good-byes. Looking into the eyes of those who have been around us each day, trying to commit to memory those new faces we have come to rely upon
Those we have laughed with and learned from as we worked so hard together!!  Everybody was walking around with a long face and kept asking "you comin back though right?"
We all walked together down to the river to say goodbye
The path was shorter, as the water was already up over the landing, almost reaching to the new boat house!
Neighbors from Sumuni were arriving with a boat full of
bicycles just as we were leaving,
Good-byes....even for now...are just not easy.
Water was SO high! This is the spot where we made the bricks!! We moved our bricks up to the compound just in time.
It was just last week that Salvador walked these paths with three guests!  It is now under 6 feet of water!  AMAZING!
From the paths to the ponds, the transformation is so hard to believe and in so short a time. It helps to explain the unique bio-diversity of Karanambu.
Simply Magical!
It seemed like even the water lilies stayed open longer to say goodbye.
We sat quietly in the boat, in total amazement at the changes that had taken place in a matter of days! Slowly we felt the excitement and commitment to this unique place return and energize us.
This is the road that the Land Rover was driving just a few days ago! It won't drive through here for another 3 months!
And after 45 minutes there was the Land Rover waiting to carry us the rest of the way to the airstrip.
And to the plane!
See you in July! 
When we return to Karanambu!

Friday, May 13, 2011


Wikipedia: the Origin of Kite Flying in Guyana
In Guyana, kites are flown at Easter and is an activity participated in by all ethnic and religious groups. Kites are generally not flown at any other time of year. Kites start appearing in the sky in the weeks leading up to Easter and school children are taken to parks for the activity. It all culminates in a massive airborne celebration on Easter Monday especially in Georgetown, the capital, and other coastal areas. The history of the practice is not entirely clear but given that Easter is a Christian festival, it is said that the flying kite is symbolic of the Risen Lord. Moore describes the phenomenon in the 19th century as follows:
A very popular Creole pastime was the flying of kites. Easter Monday, a public holiday, was the great kite-flying day on the sea wall in Georgetown and on open lands in villages. Young and old alike, male and female, appeared to be seized by kite-flying mania. Easter 1885 serves as a good example. “The appearance of the sky all over Georgetown, but especially towards the Sea Wall, was very striking, the air being thick with kites of all shapes and sizes, covered with gaily coloured paper, all riding bravely on the strong wind"
(His quotation is from a letter to The Creole newspaper of December 29, 1858). 

It’s tradition. As a small boy the two weeks leading up to Easter were full of plans and excitement. When school closed the Friday before Easter week it was full speed ahead. What kind of kite. Of course it had to be a singing engine.  (The engine was the bumped up part on the top with a brown paper flap inside that sung in the breeze) How big. Not too big as it would pull too much, but big enough that you could “dip” it easily. One year brown paper kites were the craze, but mostly because The President had banned the import of the fancy “Barbados” coloured paper. So we made flaps from exercise book paper and frills from the outside of toilet rolls. I got into trouble for unwrapping all the toilet paper in the pantry. Then there were the legends of the razor blade kites. You could tie a razor blade to the tail of the kite and dip it to cut the string of the other kites. I got into trouble for “borrowing” my father’s razor blades. There were also “box” kites but we looked down on those. No tail and no engine, but they could go up high. Of course if you were very young and poor you had to settle for a pointer and exercise book kite. The pointers are the spines of the coconut leaf. You also needed to borrow a spool of your mother’s sewing thread. This could be negotiated as to which was a bad colour and you could promise to bring it back when you “have had ya fill of flying kite”

This year we were in Georgetown for Easter. Regent Street still had plenty handmade kites.There were plenty of cheap plastic Chinese kites but only the small boys and girls were buying those 
My grandson and I went searching for the right one. 
I knew he would want a blue one.

We picked out the colour for the flaps,

but they did not have any frills for the outside tips.
  We got the tail ready-made cut from a roll.
So we did not have to cut up strips of cloth and push them through a rope to make the tail.
You always want a long one as you can always shorten a heavy tail, but harder to tie on extra cloth to one that is 
too light. Then you need your “balla”. This is what holds 
the string and has to be big enough to hold onto or your 
kite will get away.

We bought our kite on Good Friday as Georgetown is quiet on this holiday. By Saturday we started to see a few kites going up. Children find it hard to wait. There were a few more on Sunday. But the real day is Easter Monday which is a holiday in Guyana.

Whether you are Christian, Hindu, Muslim or whatever…you fly kites. You head to the seawall and the breeze just lifts the kites effortlessly. These days there are Bands blasting music and plenty food and drink selling all the way heading up the coast out of town.

My grandson and I went out by the mouth of the river on 
the old Groye. I showed him how to send messages up to 
the kite. You take a scrap of paper and put a slit and hook it onto the string. It zooms up to the kite when the breeze catches it.
We sent up quite a few with messages written on them. Of course the kite got away,but it fell in the river and we were able to get it back, wet but not torn.

It would fly another day.


It is a tradition that started as a Christian reminder of Jesus rising from the dead on the third day. It is so wonderful to see how everybody just celebrates. What a wonderful tradition.