Monthly Archives: February 2010

Love Always

my favourite picture with My Edna

realized last night

just before 11pm

it was 6 months since My Edna died.

                maybe helps explain lethargic day

                feeling unsettled

                that i should do something else

                mind wandering away from work

my matches won’t light

                too damp & old

i imagine warm candlelight

the healing image i use

                to honour & remember her love and the light that shone from her

and promise myself I will light a candle for her in the morning

so now the small candle burns

                despite the breezy rainy day

I talk about her & share pictures with friends here

                it helps

but i long for my loved ones in Ottawa & Georgetown & Washington

                no net

                can’t get through by the phone

                but love is boundless & borderless

i feel their love & her love with me always.

My Edna put it more eloquently in her sign off

                in every card to me:

Love Always,


on the morning i’m leaving Yupukari

for now

just a typical shower


catch breath

orange & pink beautiful moth perched

on blue shower curtain

another perfect gift

so many gifts here

can i possibly give enough back?

return to Bina Hill in minibus

i love road trips

burnt patches of savannah

grass clings, springs, from little islands of soil,

gives green shock

rest washed away?

through Kwaimatta

snag cassava bread that wil need another day

to dry in sun.

in Massara we pause at store

two birds in separate tiny cages

i ask abou them, wish i could set them free

want to interefere but it would probably sow ill will

better to just ask my questions now and dream of future


either bird free or cage bigger with birds together

i tread balance between learning and influencing

but they are inseparable anyway

heizenberg uncertainty principle

we impact what we observe

brown capuchin hesitates on road

then near head on collision with truck

the bollywood music plays on

then an environmental song about Guyana

gotta get it!

now honking to move herd of cattle off road

they don’t hurry.

into back country

some kids still swimming so won’t join us now.

tape back to Akon’s “wish i could keep you much longer”

keep me longer where?

i wonder as we pull up to Bina Hill,

and familiar smiles.

Karanambu, motorbike, gold

in 2006, first heard of Diane McTurk and the giant river otters

        at Karanambu

longed to meet them

Sunday morn at Caiman House

the toshao stops by

he’s going there

i invite myself along

only my third ride ever

                on the back of a motorbike

scary and exhilarating to fly across savannah

on eroded rocky uneven red road

i try to move with bike

while thinking about risk


compared to in Canada

                where i would always wear a helmet

how much should i adapt to way things are here?

question for a bike ride or what i eat or what i say…

for now, just grip tighter

but love wind whipping hair, shrub whipping bare calves, ducking under lianas,

                beautiful view of green & tawny gold textures and PEI red and eyes streaming even behind glasses

its so wonderful to be alive and see & feel this

                 life can be taken at any moment,

                                                so enjoy

                                                balance risk & safety

at Karanmbu

watch giant river otters

blinded Buddy down at river plays with fish

gives wet sandy sniff & hug

                smooth silky soft fur

                no trace of fish

                just smells like pure river

though blind, he hops up stairs

                and follows the volunteers back to the Otter House

where the two loud babies

                yell for fish

Karanambu with rum punch  & mangoes & hammocks & good company

                no one leaves on time

                time slips by

                lovely & leisurely

the quick morning visit

                extends to lunch

expat returning Guyanese asks about my proposed research

                cautious, then we realize we agree:

                                no parachuting-in research

                                and lets build local capacity

                                to inquire & share learning


conversation turns to mining,

the new legislation will prevent small & medium sized gold mining operations

                                on rivers

larger companies tend to do less damage

                but what of livelihoods of miners?

i remark on violence it takes

                to wrench gold out of the land

the big machines and mercury poison

                harm done to satisfy a want, not a need

“go meet the miners”

                judge lest ye be judged

but again, we all agree more than disagree: mining is bad,

                                but need alternative livelihoods

then Ash calls me on the gold ladybug necklace i wear

                it hurts too much to explain properly

                this defensible hypocrisy

that when I arrived for Edna’s funeral

                August 2009

the first thing when i came into her daughter’s living room

i saw she was wearing Edna’s favourite necklace

                the gold ladybug

she asked her daughter

                to take it and put it around my neck

i haven’t taken it off since.

                it hurts & comforts me.

awkward to explain why i wear something i didn’t choose

                am i a hypocrite?

i wonder as i cling to the motorbike

                back to Yupukari over red road and green savannah textures

                tears not only from whipping wind.

teaching duties dissolve

return from Surama to breezy Bina Hill

still no teacher

i accidentally teach a class, mostly just review of past work

                they test me a bit, seem tired

then sit with powers that be

to discuss how to keep teaching & yet get my own work done

                this elusive Thesis Proposal

the plan for my research

                another gate

the young toshao understands

he is trying to balance his own graduate studies with many duties at home

                like being the Principal here

together with Bina Hill’s manager we agree to a plan

                hours later the AWOL teacher comes back

                                our plan means nothing now

because the power is not held by the job title one expects here

the Principal of the school did not appoint this teacher

now has to accept her back as if the past 2 monhts of no teaching

               never happened.

the political situation is usually the missing piece for me

who really exerts power here?

trying to figure this out is exhausting and enlightening

to this confused outsider

                it seems so much unnecessary struggle and effort

due to petty politics.

vibrant connections used to divide rather than attain a common goal.