Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Kala Pani


On Saturday, Jan. 26, we woke from our collective nightmare…shivering, scared, relieved. After 2 stinking weeks the flood had gone. Not just receded. Gone.

Everywhere you could hear swwweeesh swwweeesh sweeeeesh. Tough cokenut brooms and hard brushes with long handles, and more tough li’l cokenut brooms, pointers hard like sticks, swishing out the muck.

[The only person who wasn’t cleaning was the Princess across the road. Maybe she was waiting for her husband to come back from wherever he disappeared to, soon after the flood began. Maybe she’s waiting for the next flood. Or for the landlord who lives overseas.]

Ahhhh…the blessed tar smell of Jeyes Fluid on a sunny Saturday. Crisp, sharp scent of Hygenol, Pinesol and Dettol, all the ols, turning buckets of water milky white. The colour of clean! Penetrating concrete, rooms, noses…

Ain’t life great?

[And still, the fear does not recede. Will the flood happen again? Will the conservancy break? Who is monitoring it? Can we trust them?]

On Sunday evening, the phone rang.

“Hello,” said the caller. “We went for a drive up the East Coast.”

Pause. Then a flood of horror...

People, cows, pigs, mingling on the road. People sitting, drinking, waiting for the food trucks. The roadside is congested with cars, parked to stay high and dry. The water in the fields, in homes, under houses, is waist high, black and putrid; it stinks of carcass and latrine.

The water is black, black, black…kala pani. Styrofoam boxes, plastic bottles, feces, dead creatures float, while the poor, poor people are wading to get out to the road to wait for the food trucks. It seems as if the people are beyond caring; they need to get to the road to get the food. Too many little ones depend on them, hungry, thirsty little ones. (Guyanese chirren are still so polite, shy, smiling, with huge, curious eyes).

According to Stabroek News, Friday, January 28, 2005, “the Private Sector Commission (PSC) has launched a fund to support flood relief activities. A release from the PSC said that the donations would be used to support the extensive rehabilitation works necessary after the flooding is over.”

Funds can be sent to these banks in Georgetown:

CITIZENS BANK – account number 218-399766

DEMERARA BANK – account number 216-2188


NATIONAL BANK OF INDUSTRY & COMMERCE (NBIC) - account number 654-735-0

SCOTIA BANK – account number 109-784

(If you want to donate please verify with the banks first that these account numbers are correct.)

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