It has been three days since I arrived. Guyana is still the same – the downpour of rain early in the year. Old rickety vehicles with blaring horns and unresolved engine troubles carouse the streets incessantly; with each minute of rainfall, the level of water rise in the city street and in the yards of the residents. As I walk through the street whistles and catcalls abound; humorous comments are either spoken softly as I go past, or shouted spiritedly from a verandah. Cyclists stare and car drivers honk.
I skip around in the streets to avoid the gaping potholes now filled with muddy water, that randomly punctuate the neglected city streets. Sometimes, an adjacent trench would overflow and share its contents with that of the puddles is the street. Many residents are wearing rubber boots – popular only at this time of the year; some prefer to wade through the water with their flip-flops, risking a bout of a variety of bacterial infections – ringworm and leptospirosis heading the list. I remember when as a child, I had not a care in the world, I too loved the rain which brought the flood, and I too waded through the water in the street and the school yard, oblivious to the insidious microscopic creatures swimming all around, waiting for its next hapless victim.
“Wah yuh shopping girl?” all the vendors ask as I pick my way through the endless rows of stalls in the market. This seem to be the common question, as if just in walking one activates a motion sensor equipment, or a touch-activated item that prompts the vocalised inquiry. At just the glance of an eye I would immediately be informed of the item’s price and how many other colors are available.
During the last two days that I ventured out into the flooded streets where the sun gave only a cameo appearance – nothing like the sweltering heat I endured during my last visit in September.
At night just as the dark curtains of dusk begins to fall, as if on cue, a chorus of infinite crickets begin their piercing chant in alto; in the hub-hub of the city however, only the most discerning ear can detect this. The frogs’ croak plays soprano, and together, they perform this soli riff tune throughout the night. Sometimes if the weather is sufficiently wet and flooded, a bevy of bullfrogs deliver an inimitable bass shout chorus; each lasting for exactly the same time as the last and each interval between choruses equally spaced.