Beautiful and breezy, Kiltairn Village is located just before Eversham Village on the Corentyne in Berbice when travelling from New Amsterdam. The quaint village, which is home to over 150 Guyanese, has the basic amenities: electricity, water and streetlights, but the villagers believe it is time that the authorities pay more attention to much needed job creation in the area.
According to some villagers, years ago Kiltairn Village was called Plantation Eversham. The Eversham Post Office is located in Kiltairn, just before the signboard.
Agnes Alberta Sinclair, 62, who has been living in the village her entire life, said her parents told her that the entire area was called Plantation Eversham. She said the older generation later learned that the village would be called Kiltairn.
She explained that her father worked long days in the hope of owning his own house in the village, a dream he fulfilled shortly before he died. According to the woman, her father bought their house lot for $1,300 and a tractor with trailer and two ploughs for $1,500.
She said, “Me father buy a water-log land. We use to live opposite, and then me brother he did writing CXC examination and he use to fetch dirt while studying and full up the land. Me father used to get up 3 [am] and cut bundles a black stage and coconut shell and throw and then he guh go look he cows.”
Sinclair said her fondest memory while growing up was fishing at night. She explained, “You get seine and quake and you go fishing like 8 o’clock in the night and come round 4 o clock in the morning, you does catch crab, shrimps, tilapia, and you go to the market [to sell them]. Me, me brother and another sister and a niece does go with we. You use to catch big, big shrimps, sometimes we use to go Skeldon Market or Rose Hall Market.”
The eager woman also shared that she attended a ‘commercial school,’ where she was taught typing and sewing.
Most of the villagers are farmers and cattle rearers, however, a few are teachers and nurses in training. There is also a reporter, Royan Abrams, 25, who is attached to the National Communications Network. Born in Suriname, he said he has spent most of his life in Kiltairn after moving to Guyana at a very young age, since it is home to his family.
Abrams attended the “old nursery school”, but the village has a spanking new one now which better benefits the children. The Berbice High School graduate said he always dreamed of being in the journalism field and gets to do that while living in the quiet, family-oriented Kiltairn.
Abrams once lived in Georgetown, where he was employed at MTV. However, once his sister, Rafeena Galloway, was close to writing her Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate examinations, he thought it best to return home to assist her with studying. She is now awaiting her results and hopes to enter the teaching profession.
Meanwhile, Shondell Sinclair, 33, a single mother of three, who operates a stall in front of her house explained that she bakes all of the pastries she sells. “I like feed people, so what better to do than to cook and sell,” she said.
Shondell spoke highly of her children, who, she said, assist her on a day-to-day basis with her business when she is away at work in Skeldon, Upper Corentyne.
Jessica Sinclair, 15 and her brother, Tyrese Sinclair, 12 said they enjoy assisting their mother with her business. Jessica, a high school student, said, “I am very proud of my mother. This shows that she is independent and one day we can be like her.” Shondell became teary-eyed; it appeared to be the first time she had heard her daughter say this.
Shondell said she is extremely happy for the basic amenities in her village. She explained, “When I was growing up we use to have to go to the well in another village and fetch the water and bring it, now we have pipes in our yard.”
Meanwhile, she and other villagers also called for a playfield in the village, explaining that while there is a ballfield in the neighbouring village where children go and play every afternoon, it would be nice for Kiltearn to have its own. Other residents also called for afternoon activities for the youths in the village.
Odessa Grey, 36, explained that there are many young people who have finished high school and need jobs. She stressed, “We need job creation, a lot of jobs, we don’t have jobs here.”
The woman also said that the village needs more development, “It is stagnant, we need opportunities.”
She said in her opinion her village is often forgotten although it is located on the Corentyne main road. “Nobody look at us. We live in a village, people come and say jobs gun come and then it calm down and nobody to follow it up and we left stagnant.”
Grey said she had started constructing her house but was forced to leave it “half way” and work to garner funds to complete it, since she is finding it very difficult.
The oldest resident in the village, Roy Mc Bey, 96, said one of the best parts of his life is that he got to spend his days in Kiltearn. According to the man, the furthest he has been from his home is to Linden.
He said he was married twice and fathered a total of eight children. However, he also cared for his second wife’s two children, one of whom is now taking care of him.
He recalled that at the age of 12 he entered the world of work. “I was working and going to school. At the age of 12 my father took me to the backdam to plant rice,” a trade he continued into his old age.
Meanwhile his advice to young people is to not be afraid to work. “Anything you want you have to work for. They should be proud to work,” he said.
Lennox Haynes, 61, said the village has developed a lot over the years. However, he feels villagers need to better upkeep their village. According to Haynes, back in the day the village was developed by “self help. Them road shoulders full up with self help, back in the days with things going wrong them elders does come and give advice. Now children na got respect for the elders.”
Eric Budhram, 45, who is employed under the Community Infrastructure Improvement Project, stated that he enjoys living in the village because “it don’t get too much of fight. People living as one in this village.”
Meanwhile, Paul Scott explained that the authorities had promised to build a street aback the village. “People got lands there but them na build because they can’t meet, no cross streets in this village, so people na build at the back,” said the carpenter.
He also noted that the village is quickly flooded once a nearby pump is opened.
Robert Budhram, a retired fisherman, said that in his prime he enjoyed heading out to sea to fish. “That is how me use to provide for me family. Me na been scared, me been young and so.”
When World Beyond Georgetown visited the village, Budhram was sitting on his bridge. “Me just wake up and me come outside, that me like do,” he explained.
Tracey Ross, 40, a single mother who takes care of her two daughters and two nieces said that she works with a security service. “I like do it and look after them. At least I know they are safe, I just trying by the grace of God.
“My nieces, them mother and father separate and them left them. The mother does come once and far, and them father does help them once every two week, but I does treat them like my own kids,” she said.
Sherwin Ross, a cash crop farmer who was on his way to purchase shallots, called for a market to be opened closer to his village. “We need a market in this area where we can go and throw down we things and sell instead of going to Rose Hall or Skeldon, we need a prapa market,” he said.
Jamal Anthony Sinclair, 23, a cattle farmer, shared that he has been living in the village for over one year now. “It quiet and alright, you know,” he said shyly.