Guyana through the eyes of a stranger
I recently came across Wild Coast: Travels on South America’s Untamed Edge by Gimlette and Knopf. Having only just read Bhattacharya’s The Sly Company of People Who Care I was excited to find another novel with Guyana as its subject matter.
Gimlette’s account of Guyana’s history and present is wildly and vividly descriptive. Some of it factual, some romanticised offerings of a foreigner seeing us through foreign eyes. There is no doubt that we, Guyana and Guyanese, are made exotic for a foreign readership, but the book made me fall in love with my country all over again.
His account of the slave trade renewed my horror at the incomprehensible evil of slavery, more so because he made it local, brought it home.
His account of indentureship served to remind me of how grateful I am that my ancestors, poor people seeking a better life, had the courage to leave their familiar world to take a chance on the New World.
Much like Bhattacharaya’s novel, Wild Coast made me look at this Guyana, this place of illogic and decay through the eyes of a stranger, and what I saw didn’t always make me proud but it gave me hope of a better time to come.