Interviews by Rae Wiltshire 
Photos by Rae Wiltshire and Gaulbert Sutherland

During a recent visit to Lethem we asked the man and woman in the street how they felt about living there. Their comments follow:

20150302bernadetteBernadette Moses – ‘I like Lethem a lot because it is not as congested as town. And Lethem hardly has fatal accidents, you might have one or two but not as much as town. I prefer to work in Lethem. Initially I was studying to be a doctor but I had to drop out of school because my parents could not afford it. Even though I dropped out of school, I still plan to be a doctor. Once I have saved enough money, I will pay for my education. I don’t think Lethem has a lot of opportunities for young people, it is very hard to get a job. And a lot of young people are getting pregnant, even nine-year-olds.’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

20150302dariusDarius – ‘I think Lethem is a good place to live. I love to take long walks, fish and hunt with my siblings, my favourite animal to eat is bush deer, and I also love lukanani fish and tiger-fish. I also appreciate a nice family dinner. That’s one of the best things for me. I mix cement so I can support my family, I never went to secondary school because my parents could not afford it. I don’t know what I want to do at this moment, but I don’t see myself mixing cement forever. Maybe, I’ll get to work in an office.’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

20150302vernicaVernica – ‘I work and live in Bom Fim. I moved there with my family because it has more opportunities. It is easier to live there and the jobs pay better. I only came over to Lethem to buy school shoes for my son. Buying clothing in Lethem is cheaper.’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

20150302roseRose Frances – ‘I like living in Lethem because the Amerindian culture is still rich and I enjoy our heritage. However, I have been working in Lethem for three years and the pay is not good. Stores usually pay Brazilians more than Guyanese and I don’t think that is fair. Brazilians who just come into the job are getting paid more money. And I don’t understand the reason for that.’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

20150302roystonRoyston Alleyne – ‘I will always love Lethem because I born and grow here, I also love the quietness. The place has developed because you have more jobs but that’s only store jobs. Lethem does not have a variety of jobs to offer young people, not a lot of us want to work in a store. I also feel that the teachers in Lethem lack training and are inexperienced and as a result the education is substandard. Moreover, getting land in Lethem is also difficult. The government is making it hard for locals to get jobs and foreigners are coming and getting land without a hassle. As it relates to my future, I want to own a piece of land and build my house.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

20150302cheddieCheddie Larindo – ‘I like to live in Lethem, because life is not really hard. I would love to build a bike store because Lethem is close to the Brazilian border and Brazilians usually come to Lethem to buy bike parts. Miners, are also in need of bike parts, so it is a good business to start up. I will probably go into the bank and see if I can get a loan. I already have a land to build the store because of my dad.’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

20150302charlieCharlie Francis – ‘I like Lethem because I have a job and help out my family. I live by my aunty and I work at a Chinese store for $15,000 a month. I like the job because it pays me and all I have to do is watch people shop. I would save whatever money I can and I usually work from 8 am – 6 pm.’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

20150322theoTheo Francis – ‘I like to hunt and fish. I am a mason in Bom Fim and I would get paid $3,000 a day. I want to continue working as a mason for the rest of my life because I like the job. I work six days a week except Sunday. I would usually buy a lot of meat with my money but I also save.’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

20150302winstonWinston Lyken – ‘I love to live in Lethem because Georgetown is very stink. I will be writing CXC soon but I don’t know what I want to become as yet. Mathematics is my favourite subject. I like solving problems. I am hoping to go to Brazil and learn the language. Hopefully, my aunt get through with my documents and I will be over there soon and have some opportunities.’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

20150302jeffJeff Stephens – ‘Lethem is good place because I get a lot of work. You don’t have to go anywhere to look for a job. I paint houses and I love painting. I have a girlfriend who is pregnant right now and I am about to build a house. In the next two or three years, I might want a next child.’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

20150302marigoldMarigold Bridglall – ‘I am originally from Nandy Park, I left there about 2 and a half years ago. I prefer to live in Georgetown because there are more places for recreation and all of my friends and family are from there. Lethem is just a desert. I came to Lethem to make money and it is easier to make it here than in Georgetown. My plan is to expand and make money. I might even open a food business. Lethem is a good place to make lots of money since it is close to the Brazilian border.’