Story and photos by Samaria Deonauth
The blooming gardens of Bachelor’s Adventure are pleasing to the eye. The village which is tucked away between Paradise and Enterprise on the East Coast has been in existence for over 40 years, providing its residents with a quiet place to live. It sits on former estate land, which once played a role in Guyana’s history. It was at Bachelor’s Adventure that the only significant armed confrontation between the government forces and the enslaved Africans of the East Coast who rose up in 1823, took place.
‘Bachelorventuran’ Fitzpatrick Cockfield said that he was born and bred in the village. Looking back nostalgically, Cockfield spoke of the unity which existed in the community back in the ’60s when he was a young boy. He said things were different then. People were more “community spirited,” he said and “this used to be a clear, well-kept neighbourhood” but “it’s now run down.”
‘Parombel’ Cockfield described an initiative started by members of the three adjacent communities, which aims to provide entertainment, something that he believes is greatly lacking. Parombel’s location on the public road is referred to by many as the Community Centre, and it plays host to weekend football games as well as cricket matches and other activities.
Shop-owner Veronica Calder, is another resident who has spent the entirety of her life in the little village. According to her, the village is crime free simply because “everybody know one another” and also because “people here are peaceful.” Calder does however believe that Bachelor’s Adventure “is a real depressed community.” According to her, there needs to be more development because “nothing really happens here.”
For many, little has changed in the community. Claudette Lewis, another veteran of Bachelor’s Adventure said that the only thing that seems different in the neighbourhood is the number of houses. Claudette who was at home with her two granddaughters Tawana and Careann said that even though it’s “not a bad village,” there is room for improvement in many areas such as the irrigation system and the roads which she said are “just patch, patch.” Claudette’s view was that even though the village is usually quiet, there are “a lot of delinquents in the place.” She also complained that quite a number of children do not attend school and often loiter around the village.
Tawana related that the village is so tucked away that very few know of its existence, and then often stumble across it when looking for places in Enterprise. She did however mention that the village is home to singer ‘Natural Black’ who according to her stays just a few houses away when he visits Guyana. The Lewis’s who engage in livestock farming like many other residents in the community also keep a small garden which boasts a very large bougainvillea bush in flower.
Their yard is similar to many others, as flowers and plants are very much in evidence. While the residents are appreciative of the village, many complained about its deteriorating condition. “The place need developing” opined Lancelot February, “the drains need cleaning and we need better roads.”
February moved to the village from Victoria when he got married at the age of 29. Forty years later he still lives there after making a home and a life for his family. “It’s nice raising a family here,” he said; even though his children have grown, the youths here now have the opportunity to engage in football and cricket provided by the community centre. He applauded the initiative as he believes that young people need to be
kept positively occupied lest they fall into bad habits.
As many of the community residents engage in animal rearing, the sight of pigs, goats and chickens roaming the roads is not unfamiliar. Calder said that while many would like to engage in vegetable farming, it is not possible because of the poor irrigation. She said too that because of the clogged drains, there only needs to be a little rain before the land floods.
Cockfield echoed this. He lamented that “in the last 20 to 25 years the area has deteriorated drastically,” and complained that the village faces multiple problems ranging from the clogged drains to a high rate of unemployment.
Raul Farrele, said that in addition to the clogged drains, the community is “overrun by bushes.” The bushes according to him, are a danger, and he exhibited his leg which had been bitten by a snake while he was working.