Story and photos by Joanna Dhanraj
Taymouth Manor sits between the villages of Alliance and Affiance and is home to a population of 200. The tiny village is situated 29.5 kilometres from Supenaam where the boats from Parika dock.
Unlike most other villages, there are no vacant lots in Taymouth Manor. The village has more than one entity which makes concrete hollow blocks and workers could be seen busily making their blocks.
When the World Beyond Georgetown visited, many people from Taymouth Manor were, along with others from nearby villages, working on the Community Centre Ground at Affiance.
According to Lall, the president of the Affiance Committee, the ground was built decades ago through self-help by residents of Affiance, Taymouth Manor, Columbia and other neighbouring villages. The land is now being upgraded with mud that was dug out from the sluice in Taymouth Manor. He said that Commissioner of Police Seelall Persaud who hails from Affiance along with the committee, business people, the Guyana Police Force and the regional officials are in the process of building a multi-purpose hall on the ground which will include a gym and a larger pavilion than the present one. The centre also includes a computer hub which is for anyone who wishes to use the internet from 4 pm to 8 pm on weekdays and all day on weekends.
Taymouth Manor’s school children and other children and residents benefit from the hub. Lall expressed how thankful he is that there are many persons willing to assist in the building of the multi-purpose building and the ground but added that the ground floods and they are still in need of more mud to build it up.
Taymouth Manor’s oldest villager, Ramsaroop, 93, better known as ‘Bushaka’ and the grandfather of former MTV News Anchor, Chad Ramsaroop, was not at home but was on his farm as is his custom, a mile and a half away. He had just finished peeling scores of dried coconuts and was chatting with his two sons were also there to check up on their farms nearby.
Ramsaroop was born and bred in Taymouth Manor. His parents were also natives of the village, which means it was around for quite some time, though no one could give an exact year. Ramsaroop said his grandparents came from India.
He has been farming on his plot since 1964, but his introduction to farming was years before that; at 15 years old, he was in the rice fields with his parents.
A father of five, Ramsaroop does not know what it is to be retired or take holidays; every day he is at his farm. By seven every morning, he is already tending to his crops; bora, carilla, squash, pumpkin, banana, plantain and pepper are some of what he plants. He does everything: prepares the beds, plants, waters and finally he harvests. Growing up in Taymouth Manor has made him quite the worker and though he has more experience than many other farmers in Guyana, age has slowed him. Nevertheless, he gets it done.
When he is not farming, he walks barefoot along the hot, sandy road to sell his produce at the nearby village of Capoey. Although, he rides a bicycle to and from his farm, he said it is difficult to ride to Capoey as the sand slows him up. He only sells in that village, where the residents live away from the public road with no access to public transportation. For them, getting in and out to buy necessities is often burdensome and Ramsaroop is a blessing.
Once he has finished his daily farm duties, he mounts his bicycle at 5 pm and begins his trip back home.
In his own words, “Abe ah live together nice. I live quiet, they live quiet and everything aright. Abe ah lookout fuh one another.”
Back in the village, boys ride about on bicycles, but all else seemed quiet. Dogs barked and growled behind closed gates. The lawns outside homes were neatly cut and some were bordered by flowers. At one house, a green tomb lies outside a fence, but there was no one around to ask about it. At the village’s grocery shop, the shopkeeper sat just opposite painting the rims of his truck in silver. Parmsukh Tulsie said that when he was younger he attended Taymouth Manor Primary in Affiance. As a boy he enjoyed playing cricket at the Affiance Community Centre Ground; he spent so much of his time there that he said he grew up on the ground. Cricket was his life.
While working in the backdam with his parents, he would sometimes wander off with friends to the lakes and canals around for a swim or to climb mango, jamoon or guava trees to pick fruits and share among themselves.
As he got older, while still a teenager, he worked at various companies but later settled on his own business. Today he’s one of the members of the Affiance Sports Club.
The advantage of living here he said is being in the company of people who live in harmony. “Everybody here knows everybody else in the village and live in love.”
However, he added, “We need better drainage at the four foot at the back. The seawalls need to be upgraded before it wash away and the sluice need repairing. We need better price for paddy, paddy price very low. If we get better price we can manage to live at a higher standard of living.”
Tulsie showed me through his place to the seawall, past the colourful and loaded pepper tree at his back gate, over the grassy four-foot trench to rocks overlooking the ocean, piled up on one another against the sea. Overhead vultures circled, stopping to perch on coconut trees then flying off again.