Growing up in Guyana, or coming here to live, our waterways are part of your life. For me, growing up in West Dem at Hague, in a house by the seaside, it was the rowdy Atlantic, a hundred yards away, and the long straight canal running from the village road, straight as an arrow, about a mile, past the train line, all the way to Hague Backdam where farmers planted rice and kept cattle.
Later, as we moved to live at Vreed-en-Hoop, travelling daily to school in town, it was the Demerara River, with the government ferry boats – Querriman; Lady Northcote; and the small, appropriately named, Hassar – where we would watch the few small cars on deck, with wooden chocks holding them in place. Surely they would be pitched into the sea when the Hassar rolled – and roll it did, but the chocks held. The Demerara would range from being calm as a lake to a place of turbulent waves and engines straining, and the ferryboats displayed a cross-section of life – rich and poor, big and small. Back then, one would look out from the ferry and see the small sporty hydro-planes – a flat-bottomed boat with a huge outboard engine – rocketing across the river, raising a rooster tail of water…..