this is the first time we’re meeting people who accept us

they’re in their 20’s, deep in the throes of sweet first love- smoldering glances, lingering touches and all. they sit as close together as decently possible, ignoring the fruit punch slushifying in the fancy glasses in front of them. the sun is hot hot but nothing compared to the looks that pass between them. although they live in the same village, this is one of the few, rare occasions that they are able to see each other.

the request for help went first to a former co-worker who had since migrated, who reached out to someone who had done some workshop activity in the area years ago, who then contacted us. days went by before the first tentative message came in. “our families don’t accept us.”

guyana is full of montague and capulet families, fighting to the death for reasons unknown or long forgotten. sometimes it’s a race issue. sometimes economic. not forgetting the religious bigotry. land of six people, one nation, one destiny blah blah, but keep to your own kind, hear! is we heritage and we achilles heel and no amount of oil is going to fix that. in this case though, too much of one’s own kind is also a bad thing apparently.

K is the younger and more outgoing member of the couple, an only daughter and “good girl” with 8 CXC subjects who never expected her parents to beat her. “they drew blood from me that night..”

M is the older, quieter one, a former daddy’s girl. “he used to treat me like he son sometimes. i thought, if anybody would be on my side, it would have been him. but since he find out, he stop talk to me.. my mother is more accepting- well, she was telling me about getting married but i asked her if she wanted me to be raped every day for the rest of my life, because that’s what it would be for me- and like that affect her. but she doesn’t want me living around them anymore. people in the village does tell them things.. she always crying..”

king sugar no longer rules in their village. ignorance is still lord though. one heartening thing though is that the police at the neighboring station are not part of the oppression. “they told my parents that no, it’s not against the law for me to be in a relationship with another woman.”

they bring us gifts- purple grapes, pink and white sugar cake, and tiny yellow skinned mangoes like i’ve never seen before. they smell like turpentines but i’ve never seen them this small. mother nature is diverse and full of glorious surprise though. we hug and then hug some more. the shyness evaporates as we gyaff and laff, sharing stories of our own families, first and forbidden love escapades. this is what revolution looks like.

“this is the first time we’re meeting people who accept us.” the thank you messages keep coming in. i get back home, overwhelmed, and go to bed with an aching head. my heart is happy though. two more young Guyanese women have hope for a brighter future. a luta continua.

 

LGBT Guyanese Deserve Better

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My Independence Pledge

My Independence Pledge

I pledge to work on freeing myself from negative self talk that keeps me from having a healthy relationship with my self and others. [How/Method: Focus on the breath instead of the negative train of thought. Acknowledge the emotion/reason causing the eruption of negativity and address *that*. Journal. Step away instead of getting carried away. Count to 10 or 20. DEEP BREATHS]

I pledge to work on freeing myself from fearing, judging, and damning others who are different and/or who hold different opinions/political ideologies from me. [How/Method: Look for similarities; don’t just focus on the differences. Agree to disagree. Dialogue]

I pledge to work on freeing myself from the jumbies of the past so that I can enjoy a bright future. [How/Method: More therapy. More rituals. More focusing on the PRESENT]

I pledge to work on freeing myself from Big Capital and the scourge of overconsumption. [How/Method: Don’t buy more than what is needed (do regular inventory). Produce more things for myself- toothpaste, detergent, etc (cat food?). Barter. Grow more]

I pledge to work on freeing myself from plastic. [How/Method: Walk with own, reusable bags, food containers, utensils, and bottles. Stop using straws. Stop buying individual bottles of water/bags of juice; drink coconut water from the nut instead. Make and use cloth wraps instead of plastic bags. Buy bulk instead of individually packaged items.]

 

revolutionmindmalcolm

arundhati on the corporate revolution

 

 

 

 

cherlimbi to the werl

these trees survived the big flood of 2005. one, by the front gate, has been there for several decades; i remember plucking fruit from it as a child. the official name is Averrhoa bilimbi, but its ‘call name’ in Guyana is sourie due to its mouth-puckering taste. although i’ve already harvested a big bowlful and made several bottles of achar, given away bag-fulls to friends and neighbours, there’s still more. i go online and find a toffee recipe-  http://www.thehindu.com/thehindu/mag/2003/01/26/stories/2003012600380700.htm, and here- https://www.fruitsinfo.com/bilimbi-tropical-fruit.php, but.. i’m not ready for that just yet.

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Averrhoa bilimbi. aka sourie. or 1 finger in Guyana
sourie aachar. w loud tiger teeth and green mango

the cherry trees are in the backyard, at the side of the old pit latrine. often, the cherries end up being blown down on the ground by the wind before i get around to wandering back there and harvesting them. it’s not easy to pick cherry- they’re small to begin with and i seem to drop about as many on the muddy ground as in the bowl. dry branches scratch my skin and get stuck in my hair but i’ve woken up in a good mood and even though the skies are grey, i’m humming and enjoying the droplets of rain misting down on me. the kittens join me in the fun but we’re all careful to avoid the marabuntas nesting close by.

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oj under cherry tree. all those little green spots you see on the ground are seedlings from all the unpicked and fallen cherries.
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cherry blossom, guyanese version

the initial blend is a tad sour so i add a couple of cucumbers that i initially bought to put on the dark circles under my eyes. they lighten up the mixture and honey and sugar add sweetness. i pour into some empty tequila bottles that i just happen to have lying around and swirl vigorously. aaah, cherlimbi to the werl! try something new today, folks! 🙂

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resilience, Pachamama style

something ate all the leaves of this pepper plant. the rain and i kept watering it. weeks/months later, leaves and a flower reappear.

the winged bean sprouted, bore, then browned and died. or so i thought. months later, no thanks to any intervention on my part, a new green shoot sprouted back.

this inspires and helps me cope with life/depression. thank you, Pachamama.