A Diasporan’s Nostalgia: Guyanese ‘school days’ Parlance – By: Lear Matthews

Pleasant memories at a time of emotional stress, tensions, uncertainty and containment as we try to weave the universal with the particular


When I went to primary school, ah had a ‘muff’. Meh sistuh had plaits wid a big ribbon bow. Meh bruduh used to wear banlon jersey and bell-bottom pants.

I used to keep meh ‘frek’($) in meh pants fabs an’ save it up in meh puzzlin’ tin.

We had a Kelvanater fridge, Singer sewin’ machine an’ a Raleigh bike.       

Meh faadduh sey as a “small boy” (youth) he had a dog name Rice-eetuh.

Oh raant, yuh mek a ginch dey man! Yuh ketch meh unawares.

Which one you prefer, shave-ice or flutie? You remember dee over-sized ice-block Thomas-flask wid dee side silver clip for tightenin’ dee cover?

Ah time I had bad bad naaruh and I couldn’t go to school.

How Yuh hair look so Nyampy Nyampy? Comb it good nuh man!

Ah ask meh fren’ fuh some ‘salsay’ and eh give meh a lil kanchee bit!

Ah give meh gyerl-friend a bottle of ‘cus cus’ ferfume for sheh birday.

When yuh riding to school, yuh had to stop at dee major road, if not police would charge yuh or cyar coulda lick yuh down. Dee bicycle ‘generator’ din’ work so a could’nt ride at night. Ah ‘pull’ brakes and still end up in dee guttuh. I dey vex bad!

Meh fadduh had a “pick-up” and used to play “78” records. We had a radio-gram

dat could play 45’s and LP’s (long Playing) records. We use to dance dee “Zegg”.

We used to pelt brick up in dee tree fuh knock down mango an’ run like a rant.

When ah guh home from school, ah gon wash dee wares and dry dem wid dee plate-cloth. Meh bruddah gon cyarry out dee rubbish. Don’t hambug meh man! On weekends I used to wipe dee floor wid dee floor-cloth.

We would wash wares wid “Zex” soap, den clean dee floor wid “Vim” or “Rinso”.

Oh skek! Dee nail juk eh foot and we cyary he to “Cashulty”; Duh lady faint away outside dee school when sheh hear dee bad news, but den she ketch sheh self.

Ah gon buy a ‘sweet drinks’ and salaruh or a small lemonade and “a buns’.

When sheh sey ‘fyuh fyuh bun meh han’, ah dead wid laaf. She doan mek joke.

Ah had to put whitenin’ on meh yaghtin’ boots before goin’ to dee Fair.

Look where yuh goin’ nuh man, before yuh stump yuh foot an’ fall down.

Meh mudduh used to wrap-up meh school lunch in grease-proof paypuh.

Ah din’t ‘ketch’ dee train, so Ah had to tek dee Berbice bus. It tek lang, lang!

We had a ‘flit cyan” fuh sprayin’ mosquitoes. She ketch ‘fyuh rage’ fuh she fren’.

Dee jumbee story mek meh suh fryken, is like meh belly waan guh off and dee hair stan up pun dee back of meh neck.

I had to ‘put up’ dee fowl and sheep in dee pen before six a’clock.

If yuh don’t eat good, yuh gon get bilyous! Yuh mus drink plenty bush tea.

After school ovuh, meh fren’ plunge in dee trench – “boojoom!” and tek a swim.

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  • Francis Quamina Farrier  On 10/13/2020 at 11:34 am

    This is one of the more important publications of recent times. I highly recommend it – especially for the younger Guyanese.

  • wally n  On 08/05/2021 at 5:45 pm

    Buy it from….. please I heard Zegg…can’t remember

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