A few days before Mashramani, Minister of Health Dr Leslie Ramsammy warned Guyanese about excessive drinking while celebrating on that day.
We felt that the minister shouldn’t have to tell big people not to drink too much. But we recognise that there are many who just cannot have a good time without imbibing so much alcohol that they forget their names after a while.
But after spending most of Mash day on the road, we realised why the minister issued the warning and felt there were other cautions he could have made.
For example, maybe he should have warned mothers of young babies, some of them just about a month old or even younger, that winding their way through the crowd on Irving Street with their babes in their arms was not the wisest decision to make.
One would have thought those mothers would have known that a crowded street on Mash day was not the place to be with their young babies. We have to assume that they were unaware. So next year we would suggest that Minister Ramsammy include advising mothers in his little pep talk.
It was bordering on horrifying the number of young babies out on the crowded Irving Street on Mash day. We saw no less than ten of them and we did not walk along the entire street or the entire route of the float parade. Who knows? We may have found others if we had.
We were horrified, imagining all the dangers the little babies were exposed to, not only from those who, intent on having fun to the exclusion of even good manners, would think nothing of elbowing a little baby in the process; but also of all the germs they were exposed to and the searing heat of the sun.
Noel Coward sang – Mad dogs and Englishmen//Go out in the midday sun; having had the experience on Monday we would add, and young mothers. Attempting to traverse the crowded Mash float parade route without children is a task in itself. Should you jam someone who is intoxicated or just in a bad mood you would not only expose yourself to a slew of bad words but could also be injured if the person decides to retaliate. We have known of cases of persons being hospitalised after mashing someone’s foot or walking too closely to someone’s girlfriend on a crowded street.
So it boggles the mind as to why mothers would want to expose their babies to such dangers. Worse yet, most of the babies were not even in strollers; not that it would have made such a big difference.
It was shocking to observe a well-known politician feeding her not more than two-month-old baby in the crowded streets. She was not nursing the child, but was giving him a bottle, which she had just fixed on the street by pouring something out of a flask. Asked if the baby was not too young to be at Mash she said no “this child is as patriotic as its mother.”
Point taken mommy, but if you really felt that you had to show your patriotism by attending the Mash celebration shouldn’t you and all the other mothers with young babies who felt the same way be in the National Park?
We are not sure what patriotism has to do with it, we would think that the welfare of your baby comes first. But if you had to Mash do it in the park.
And if not the park go out early and take a picnic spot, even that would have been better than taking the risk of boring through the crowd on the streets.
We felt very unsafe traversing just a small part of Irving Street on Mash day and it was in that small stretch that we saw so many mothers with babies, and we must admit that even we exposed our children to these same dangers, but they are all over one year old. And we soon realised that walking the streets was definitely not a wise idea.
We have vowed that should we decide to take our children to Mashramani celebrations again it would definitely be in the park.
Meanwhile, we overheard a DJ announce that a child was lost and if anyone saw her please “bring her to front”. It could have been that the child was just swept away by the sea of people and we hope the parents of the child found her soon after the announcement; it must have been terrible time for them.