This week I went to Region 1, which is in northern Guyana, on the border with Venezuela, for a work trip. I was traveling with staff from the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs to learn more about government projects in Amerindian communities, and the barriers the communities face to development.
Getting there involved a lot of traveling in little boats, like the one on the far left in the picture above. During the trip, I wanted to show the Guyanese staff that I was a seasoned traveler, who could roll with the challenges of getting around some of the least accessible regions of the country. In general, I thought I was very calm, organized, and professional. There was one moment, however, when it all came apart.
We were sitting in a boat waiting to cross the Essequibo. The boat leaves when it is full, and we were still short a couple passengers. As we were waiting, another boat arrived at the little dock. The passengers unloaded, some with dainty purses, and some with heaps of baggage. One man came with a dozen stack-able trays of baby chicks. The chicks waited in their high-rise crates on the dock while other passengers unloaded and their chaperone settled his bill. As our boat rocked gently next to the dock, one of the chicks made a dash for it, jumping out of the top of the crate and landing unceremoniously on the rickety dock.
That was the moment I lost my shit.
"OH NO! ONE GOT AWAY! DON'T LET IT ESCAPE! IT WILL FALL IN! IT WILL FALL IN!!"
It only took a second for the chick's chaperone to swoop in and scoop up the errant bit of fluff, and deposit it back with its siblings, but it was too late for me. My outburst provided quite the spectacle for my boat-mates, who all had a good good laugh. And after that I was forced to admit that my hopes of cultivating an image as a blase world traveler were truly dashed.
I have worked in economic policy and research in Washington, D.C. and Ghana. My husband and I recently moved to Guyana, where I am working for the Ministry of Finance. I like riding motorcycle, outdoor sports, foreign currencies, capybaras, and having opinions.