Born in the Land of the Mighty Roraima – By Geoff Burrowes

Born in the Land of the Mighty Roraima — Growing up in British Guiana (Guyana)

Mount Roraima

By Geoff Burrowes 

Although a proud Guianese (Guyanese), the only time I’ve ever seen Roraima was in the distance over the bush, on the horizon.

The British Guiana Museum was across the road from the new pink Post Office Building and as I was intensely curious I would go upstairs and run the gauntlet of the fearsome pork-knocker on the landing, and the caiman at the top to see the photographs and read about this mountain peak, which was the subject of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous fictional book  ‘The Lost World’.               

As mountains go it was not huge, but at 9000 feet it was the highest peak in British Guiana (BG) and was partly in BG, partly in Brazil and partly in Venezuela. It is part of the Pakaraima mountain range one of the oldest ranges in the world, and when a British expedition climbed it in the 1960s or ‘70s/ they had to deal with crumbling rock and large tarantulas.

Land of great rivers and far stretching Seas.

When I saw what passed for rivers in other parts of the world, for example the Thames and the Danube, I could really appreciate the size of the Essequibo, the Demerara and the Berbice Rivers!

The muddy Atlantic did indeed seem to stretch for ever as we watched the great bauxite ships disappear over the horizon as they sailed past the Key Holt hulk.

We will possess all the graces and virtues

We all the glories of goodness will learn!

What a heritage! This is one of the things that make me proud to be a Guyanese. I met a fellow countrywoman of mine at Macdonalds last week. When I asked her if she was a mudhead she was offended. When I was young the name mudhead differenciated us from Trinidadians (Trickydadians), Bajans and other small Islanders and we wore it with pride! Anyone who has ever walked out from the seawall at low tide will know what I mean!

Onward, upward may we ever go,

Day by day in strength and beauty grow

Till at length we each of us may show

What Guiana’s sons and daughters may be!

As kids we were “wutlass” and sang the next two verses: ‘Onwards Upwards Mary had a goat

Day by day she tied it with a rope

Till one day the goat buss the rope

And Miss Mary had to run behind it!

       I will always be proud of the country of my birth and will always try to be a credit to the name Guyanese! Edgar Mittleholzer, Martin Carter, Sonny Ramphal, Ron Savoury, Rohan Babulall Kanhai, Clive Lloyd, Basil Butcher, Lance Gibbs and Stephen Camacho to name a few, have brought glory to our country’s name.

Let’s  all continue to do the same!


Download this article: Born in the land of the Mighty Roraima

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  • pancham  On November 21, 2018 at 10:40 am

    Thanks for the article you made me long for the country of my birth and especially
    The area of Christiansburg

  • Cyril Persaud  On November 22, 2018 at 12:31 am

    Love this article.

  • Brenda Tubach  On November 28, 2018 at 7:39 pm

    Great article Geof. I remember your mom and Wendy, with love.

  • PETER JULY  On June 2, 2019 at 12:47 pm

    I got so nostalgic reading your articles. I have tears in my eyes now as I reminisce about British Guiana during the days of my youth there…1939 to 1961. Thanks for the memories,

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