I have spent the past two years of my life studying the closest thing to governmental policies and diplomacy at the University of Guyana, International Relations. Many people warned me about going to UG, the wasting of time, the lack of resources. My mom even sat with me and gave me a list of options of foreign universities, but do you know what I said to her? “I prefer to stay grounded in Guyana, study here then develop my own country before giving another country that benefit.”
That was two years ago and a lot has changed. Sadly nothing at the university has changed, but even sadder is that my passion for “developing Guyana” is slowly being eroded away. Now half way through my studies, I am losing hope.
This is not an issue with the university; though it is hard to handle. Particularly harder in our case because we still use chalk boards and benches, our students and/or lectures strike at least once every six months. The campus lacks basic necessities. This is an issue in our society that my young mind once dreamed of grasping and changing, but now a more prominent issue in society makes me want to give up.
I watch as crime jumps; robbery, assault, rape, harassment, indecent language, domestic violence, homicide, suicide. I watch as my Guyanese brothers and sisters scorn themselves and have no regard for their neighbours. I watch as my country is being slowly eroded, I watch as peaceful protests no longer become peaceful. I watch how backbiting and scorn plague our parliamentary offices and how there is very little the average citizen can do because of this huge divide.
I sit and I think… I have to change these things, I MUST. But how can I?
How can I when gossip passes through youth groups like nothing and you must be a certain colour to be in a certain position. If I fight for women miners I get scorned. If I stand on the road crying for better infrastructure I get thrown in jail. If I only say something out of some imaginary line I get blacklisted.
Listen, I love my country, I respect all three branches of my government and I strive to cooperate with those who want to see a better Guyana, but I can’t sit and watch the breakdown of our society.
Something needs to be done, something drastic and something fast. I am losing hope but I don’t want to. I am still grasping at the little humanity I see. The celebration of Amerindian Heritage Month; the little ‘Pick it up’ Campaigns and the commitment of some organisations and groups to restore Georgetown; the efforts of businesses in investing in our people and the arts and efforts to strengthen the creativity that all Guyanese possess; all these little acts that aim to build the Guyanese nation.
It is not an impossible task you know. We can build a stronger Guyana. We must cooperate with all those who are willing to commit to social development, no matter the field. We must cooperate until there is little doubt and hope is restored.
To the new university students, the new secondary school graduates, the youths who aspire: We must never lose hope; we must grasp on to the little that is left and build ourselves from there, we cannot let Guyana slip. Change depends on us.