Encounters of the Co-Incidental kind – Ron Persaud

Encounters of the Co-Incidental kind –

By Ron Persaud

While we were on vacation in London, Rita and I had the opportunity to tour an Agricultural Research Station operated by May & Baker. I called the contact and everything was set up. In the end I asked, “Are you the Graham Parker who worked at Uitvlugt estate in 1963?”

He: “And are you the Ronald Persaud who was my assistant?”
Needless to say the meeting was very pleasant and afterward I wondered to myself …what were the chances of this happening?           

I spent 2 years in Trinidad at ECFI, a farm school within walking distance from Piarco Airport. It was a good place to hang out and occasionally a student would run into someone from his country who was passing through the airport. Unexpectedly, this happened to me one Saturday morning. The meeting was with Dr. Harry Evans who was en route home.

The third encounter was with Irwin Everest Telfer, the Principal     of ECFI at the time of my graduation some years earlier.

The fourth event was at a mall in Malton, Toronto.

Charles Graham Parker came to Uitvlugt from Albion and the most memorable thing about him were his musical literacy and his love for steel band music. He once looked at the musical score of the ‘Song of Guyana’s Children’ and whistled it out accurately and in tempo!

Then this young Scotsman would hang out with the steel band players at the Community Center and play in the band. Can you imagine what the perception of this was like at that time?

Dr. Harry Evans was the legendary Agricultural Director of Bookers Sugar Estates for many years. He headed the panel that selected employees for higher training in Agriculture. I was unsure about my performance at the selection interview. I had spent a year in the Rupununi as a teacher and Dr. Evans asked me about the Savannahs. I opined that the land quality was poor and supported my opinion by quoting the ranchers in the area. “Good land supports one head of cattle per acre per year; here in the Rupununi it is more like one head to every 10 acres.”
Dr. Evans: “Do you know what the real figure is?”
Me:   “No, Sir!”
HE:  “One head to every 75 acres!”
I was  selected and it was barely 3 months later, just after the first term test  that I was to run into this formidable character – after I had consumed at least three beers.

HE:  “Did you take the exams in your stride?”
“Yes!” I lied.

Irwin Everest Telfer  was one of a very few people who had great faith in my ability; and I reciprocated by trying to live up to his expectations. He liked B.G. and Guyanese. He worked in Guyana for a couple of years. Rita and I were traveling for the first time on a BAC VC10… which lost an engine shortly after take off from Atkinson Airport. As a result, the direct flight to London was delayed in Trinidad. We were accommodated at the Bel Air Hotel and next morning we strolled across to the Airport where I ran into “Mr. Telfer. The frustrations of the flight delay were immediately forgotten as we “caught up” in the short time available.

In Toronto while waiting for a ride I was browsing through a store when a voice behind me asked tentatively “Ranal?” I turned to see Imamuddin (I hope I spelled that correctly) who used to work in the factory laboratory at LBI. We spent all of 15 minutes reminiscing but my brother- in- law showed up and the pleasantries had to end.

Four encounters do not seem like much but I have a feeling that they might be more than normal and certainly more than I can feel entitled to.

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  • travelconnexxionsClaude Ho  On October 1, 2012 at 11:17 am

    I’m trying to place this Mr. Ron Persaud.
    I was at Uitvlugt Estate from about 1964 and onwards. Maybe You were at ECFI then? I was the Agric. Supt. from that time, with 3 years at UWI, T&T, obtaining my Agriculture degree. Could this be another encounter? But online?

  • Rosaliene Bacchus  On October 1, 2012 at 4:26 pm

    Interesting article. I believe that every “chance” meeting in our lives has its purpose along our journey of life.

  • Ron. Persaud  On October 1, 2012 at 4:33 pm

    Claude Vibert! Or is that spelt Vibart? Yes! Yes!
    Those were the days… with Laurie Forte, and Roy Jones!
    . Then years later I was at LBI and you were at the Expt. Station. At the time there were VMYK, Sam Apeji, Robert Bhim and Roy Dookun…

    • travelconnexxions  On October 7, 2012 at 1:57 am

      Ronald Persaud. Those were indeed the days, dare I say it, when Guyana was indeed Guyana. When I rode a motorcycle that seemed to be a lot bigger than I was around the backdams of Uitvlugt Estate! Laurie Forte, Roy Jones, Jack France, all the gang at the Field Laboratory. And the Distillery. It’s almost impossible to forget those days. And later the ones at the GSES.
      I hope those names that you mentioned..VMYK, Sam Apeji, Roy Dookun and others are inscribed somewhere in a Place of Fame.

      But what about yourself? What have you been doing all those years? You must let me know a little about that if you don’t mind. Speaking about May & Baker reminds me of Billy Gangaram (did I spell that correct?) I connected up with him on Facebook sometime ago.

      I now reside in Toronto, Canada, and have been since I left Guyana some 30 plus years ago. Life has had it’s ups and downs but that’s the same with everyone else.

      My email address is … claudeho@rogers.com.
      Drop me a reply there.
      All the very best,

  • Barbara Telfer  On October 23, 2012 at 9:00 pm

    Hi: speak about coincidences – I am Irwin’s daughter. He passed away three years ago this month in Toronto – where I and all of my siblings live. I did a google search to see if his obit was still online (I wanted to save the text from it) and I came across this article. Thank you for your nice memories about him. He did love Guyana and Guyanese and actually worked there for seven years. My email is barb.telfer@gmail.com.

  • Ron Persaud  On October 27, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    “Could this be another encounter? But online?”
    Yes indeed!!!
    Claude Ho and Barbara Telfer.
    It gets better and better.

  • Ron. Persaud  On December 7, 2013 at 11:19 am

    12/06/13. We can now add Sylvia Barrow. who today added a post to “Black Friday”.

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