Valentine’s Day: Love bloomed out of a Garbage Clean-Up Campaign – by Francis Quamina Farrier

– by Francis Quamina Farrier

February 14 is Valentine’s Day, and in keeping with the spirit of LOVE, let me relate the story of a Love that blossomed right out of a garbage Clean-Up exercise in Georgetown! That may not sound as the most romantic start of an article for Valentine’s Day.

Nonetheless, it is a True Story of Young Love which came to be, because of a garbage clean-up exercise by a group of public spirited Young People in Georgetown. The group, Guyana Shines/Youths for Guyana, is very active in helping to Keep the City Clean.     

The former spokesperson of the group was Shaunee Thompson, who was online explaining one of the clean-up projects undertaken by the group in Georgetown. That video was seen in many foreign countries. “We first ‘met’ ONLINE when I created a status to poke some innocent fun about Guyana.” said Dexter Tyson who was born in the US Virgin Island of St. Thomas in the Caribbean. He grew up in the former British colony of St. Kitts. As such he was a born American citizen with British Caribbean up-bringing.

He knew nothing about Shaunee Thompson who was born in Linden in Guyana, hundreds of miles away in South America. “We first met Online when I created a status to poke some innocent fun about Guyana.” Dexter Tyson explained. Shaunee Thompson was among those who responded to Dexter Tyson, and they had a hilarious back and forth. What Dexter was unaware of was that Shaunee and his co-admin, a Jamaican, were also online friends, so one day the Jamaican put up a video that she was in and Dexter questioned him about the video in which Shaunee was featured explaining about a clean-up campaign in Georgetown. I have seen that video and I can tell you it was heart-warming to see those young Guyanese having so much fun cleaning up garbage. When I viewed the video, Shaunee, in her role as the spokesperson of the group, I also recognized in her someone special. She had a professional aura.

Shortly after, the Jamaican had introduced Dexter to Shaunee – all done onlineme –  three-way communication between them developed to the point when Dexter was asked to assist Shaunee with a decision she wanted to make about a vacation choice between St. Maarten or Antigua. At that time, there was no love interest by Dexter for Shaunee. “When I first saw her in the video, she looked so youthful causing me to think she was a 16 year old.” Dexter related. He recognized her beauty, but he was not driven to take the communication to any higher level. “I thought she was pretty, yes, but just a school girl, however, over the course of the above conversations, I learned she was much older, but there was the factor that we were close to 3,000 miles apart and she was in a country (Guyana) I had no serious desire to go to.” That was the position of Dexter Tyson at that time. “However, over time, as we talked for hours on end, day AND night, I drew a deeper interest in her and she in me.”

That was back in 2013, as the two were using call apps

Dexter Tyson and Shaunee Thompson; safe in each other’s loving arms

like TANGO, SKYPE and WhatsApp to get around a huge monthly phone bill, but both of their jobs had a tremendous amount of flexibility which allowed them to talk all day on their phones, creating a strong bond and kicking of the sparks that would develop into a fire of love. “About four months into talking, we decided to commit to a relationship. After that time, I realized I was deeply in love with her and decided a FIRST trip to Guyana was in order.” Dexter eventually took two days after Valentine’s Day. It was five days before Shanee’s birthday. “I had a great time and ALL things checked off between us, prompting me to take another trip back to Guyana two months later in May of 2014.” It was then that Dexter asked for her hand in marriage. Some ten months later, on March 21st, 2015, they got married. The ceremony was held in the Promenade Gardens in Georgetown. It was the venue where they had their first date over a year earlier. The reception was held at the Pegasus Hotel.

A little over a year later, Shaunee travelled to New York City to be with her husband. They have since relocated to South Florida where they had a baby in September of 2017. Dexter Tyson has visited Guyana a total of seven times since meeting Shaunee Thompson, the young woman he met online after seeing her in a video involved in a garbage clean-up campaign in Georgetown. His first two visits to Guyana were in February and May of 2014; and so many happy things have happened in his life since then.

The meeting of Dexter and Shaunee was Destiny at work. “Our relationship path was somewhat unconventional in how we met, how we progressed and how we built it.” Dexter pointed out. “It was long distance, but we managed to avoid the pitfalls of a long-distance relationship, including staying loyal to each other and we now have a loving, blissful and productive relationship and marriage.”

During the fifteen years in which I produced my Radio Programme Series, The Eighty Plus Club, I have been told stories by Elders of blossoming love in spite of restricted communication. One gentleman in his mid 90s, related his early love story as a young man between himself and the young lady who later became his wife. It was at a time when the elders kept the adolescents and young adult males and females, well apart. The gentleman explained that they never got to speak to each other but their love still blossomed. When I asked him how that was possible, his response was, “We spoke with our eyes.” Initially, Dexter and Shaunee spoke to each other with their computers and their cell phones, then finally, face to face. On this Valentine’s Day 2021, they most likely will be listening to a favourite love song of theirs; “Evermore” by Ryan Shaw with lyrics which state, “…and this love will grow stronger…in my arms I will shelter you baby.”

Ryan Shaw – “Evermore”

Shaunee Thompson and Dexter Tyson at the Kissing Bridge in the   Botanical Gardens in Georgetown.

Shaunee and Dexter on their Wedding Day.

Dexter and Shaunee with their young daughter in Florida.

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