Number One also called Number One Road which is located on the Corentyne highway is situated just between Borlam and Courtland villages. With a population of just around 300 persons, the village has all of the basic amenities and is heavily adorned with fruit trees and flower plants.
Nicole Woolford told the World Beyond Georgetown, that the village consists primarily of farmers including those rearing cattle, farmers and sugar workers. She noted that most persons head to the village’s backlands where they farm and pointed out the dam near her home, which residents use to access the backlands.
According to Woolford, who lives closest to Borlam Turn, which is located just before Number One Road when heading from New Amsterdam, the turn is prone to accidents. The woman said she has resided in the village for over 40 years and has witnessed her fair share of them. However, speeding around the turn, in her opinion, is one of the main factors which has led to most of the incidents.
She further said that the village is in dire need of streetlights, noting that there had been promises that these would be installed before the end of the year. “Animals always on the road late night time, so cars got to stop shine light then drive slower and pass around. That is very dangerous,” she said.
Woolford, who resides with her husband, said that she would love to see more cooperation among residents in the village. Saying she did not wish to be rude, she noted that residents mostly kept to themselves. “It has always been like this,” she pointed out.
Also, she called for more job opportunities within the village and the implementation of activities for children after school. She pointed out that there is no play field in the village and children would have to venture to neighbouring villages to play various outdoor games on the weekend.
The woman stated that while parents sometimes allow their children to head to neighbouring villages to play because of not wanting to coop them up indoors all day, the fear was that most times the children were unsupervised.
Additionally, she highlighted that a nursery school, which is no longer in operation was formerly located in the village. Parents now have to enrol their children in schools located in other villages. “I think they need to develop the nursery school more, so people don’t have to go [so far],” she said.
She also noted that in the afternoon adults would venture over to neighbours they are close with and hang out in order to cut their time.
The village has four grocery and beverage shops and an auto spare-parts shop, but no churches, mandirs or mosques.
Gladys (only name), 52, who has retired from the Albion Estate, explained that she has been a single mother all her life. “My children married now and on their own but I had to work and take care of them and I was happy I did it on my own. My mother use to help me look them and I would work.”
She added, “I felt that I accomplished something by ensuring that my children had a good life although was me alone.”
She said that she wonders now about persons who have children to take care of, since the country is seeing a major decline. “Night time me a deh pon me bed and me a study them people what got children to send a school with how this country going,” she lamented.
Meanwhile, Gladys advised that young couples should both be working so that each can have their independence. “I always believe in a woman having a job. I think then both person can contribute and then if circumstances make one to leave their job that’s different, but when going into a marriage both should be working because nowadays it’s not easy to start a life,” she admonished.
Nestled between his neighbour’s house and his newly constructed shop, Godfrey Edwards, 70, was sitting comfortably on his veranda when I visited.
The engineer, who used to be employed on a ship and had travelled to many countries said, “There is nothing like home sweet home.”
Edwards said he returned to Guyana about six months ago and constructed his shop, which he hopes will become a popular hangout spot for residents and passersby. “I took my pension and decide to invest it,” he said, “… because I sit down all the time I got to do something, money is never too much.”
The man, who has spent a total of 20 years in Number One Village said that there have many several changes in the village. “A lot of people build houses, the road build up, even more business places open up. We never really had much shops, now we have like three,” he noted.
The World Beyond Georgetown was told that there were six shops initially, but two have since closed down, after the proprietors migrated.
Edwards further explained, “We have most cane cutters here, they work at Albion and use to work at Rose Hall Estate. Now it close down, people fishing and mining cattle.”
The soon-to-be businessman stressed that he would welcome the installation of streetlights also.
The World Beyond Georgetown caught up with Naresh Sundatt, 24, while he was on his way to fish in a nearby village. Covered in mud, Sundatt said, he “fishing coming up”.
The part-time fisherman who is attached to the Albion Estate said he starts his day at 8 am and sells his catch at the Rose Hall Market. “Me a do this about six years. This is a job for me. I got to take care of my family,” he said.
Sundatt was heading to fish with his friends, Afraz Rodriquez and Rickey Gopaul, 21.
According to the man, he has gotten accustomed to being covered with mud. “Abie get use to it, that’s regular thing to abie,” he said. He added that he would often point persons to the spot that is known to have fish, as he believes in being helpful to his fellow fishermen.
Kim Hercules, who was visiting her friend in Number One Village, explained that she has been doing so for over ten years. “This is a quiet village for how long I know it,” she said. “I heard them talking about streetlights. That a good idea cause the place does be really dark and it does got a lot of animals on the road.”
Shopkeeper, Geeta Preetipal, 32, said she has resided all of her life in the village which has seen vast improvements over the years. “We never had proper roads, we na had current, we use to had to fetch water but then couple year back we get everything,” she said.
While noting that she is thankful for the basic necessities, she said, “They need to improve this water, it running very slow and it a smell bad.”
According to her, business has always been slow, since the area is not as well populated as she would have liked it to be. “Plus it got other shops up that side,” she noted.
Boasting about her village she said, “This village quiet and when you call people over you can entertain them with fish pond and go fishing and stuff like that.”
Another man, ‘Sonno Boy’, explained that he works at sea but whenever he is at home he heads to the fish pond to fish for home use. “Me like fishing,” he stressed.
‘Sonno Boy’ and his friend Ritesh Singh, 24, who also works at sea were on their way to fish during the World Beyond Georgetown’s visit.
Cattle roamed the streets of Number One Village unattended and it was noticed that almost every resident’s yard was adorned with flower plants.
Another resident, Prem Persaud, 43, a former police officer, stated that while he enjoys living alone he finds having to cook every meal for himself very difficult. The man explained that he often considers returning to work, but then the thought disappears once he realizes that he is no longer the “young man” he once was.
He explained, “When you young you can do anything and when you get old and start get pain and sick you don’t able. Sometimes you does get the mind set to do things but you na get the strength.”
A few other residents were shy to speak with this publication. “Come back when me look presentable nah,” one woman said as she laughed.