OPINION: Pelting dogs and the mentally disturbed – By Francis Quamina Farrier

  — By Francis Quamina Farrier
The youngster was pelting a man of unsound mind who was walking relatively peacefully along a street in Georgetown. The man seemed no threat to anyone. However, being poorly dressed and with his funny actions as he walked along, shaking his limbs in an unnatural way, disclosed that he was most likely, someone of unsound mind. I asked the youngster why he was pelting the man. “Mista, he mad,” was the practical response, which was embellished with some boyish giggles.
I took the opportunity to give the youngster a very brief lecture about respect for others, no matter who. I considered that to be my responsibility as an elder. He seemed to accept that it is wrong to visit violence on someone because they are perceived to be mad. Even the mentally disturbed should be viewed as being human and as such must be shown respect and compassion.

So, it is important for parents and guardians to educate their growing children and others in their care, how to treat those who are powerless, with kindness and compassion. Even institutions of Learning should include such information in their Social Study classes, if that is not already being done.
Dogs roaming the streets are also attacked by some youngsters. For them, it is fun. But certainly not for the animals. You may recall that saying, “What is fun for boys, is death for crappo?” Most stray animals and destitute people who roam around the city and elsewhere, poor persons of unsound mind, live on the edge of society. Fortunately, there are institutions such as the Palms and the Daram Sala among others, which provide a safety net for those who are destitute; some suffering from mental issues, are given assistance.
There are those unfortunate souls who fall through the cracks of society and become extremely vulnerable. There are those times when, looking at them, I would wonder what they were like when they were teenagers, young and vibrant. Their stories might be one of a young Guyanese full of life and career shining bright before them. Sadly, for some, the dream becomes a nightmare. It, however, behooves the rest of society to extend a helping hand in compassion. There are those both here in Guyana and in the diaspora, who take the decision to help those in need. People with big hearts.
Guyana has been an independent nation for over half a century, and while this is a relatively healthy population, there is a number of health challenges being faced by many. Malaria then HIV and AIDS which were rampant not so long ago, have been reduced dramatically. It is now the coronavirus and flawed mental health which are at the top of the health challenges in the country. Because of dedicated health workers – doctors, nurses and social workers – who give full support to those in need of medical assistance and guidance, there is the on-going healing process. Both Malaria and HIV and Aids are now well on the wane. The present challenge is the coronavirus, and from observation, the Ministry of Health is doing a great job in advising and assisting citizens in all ten Regions, to stay safe and remain healthy.
Guyana itself is a relative healthy nation. Let’s now look at the blessings which Mother Nature has bestowed on Guyana with our weather for instance; there are no snow storms or blizzards. No volcanos or earthquakes. There are never tornadoes or hail storms. Guyana has never experienced droughts during which there is absolutely no rain for months and sometimes over a year as some other countries experience from time to time. In fact, Guyana is a “Land of Many Waters.” A land with many trenches, canals, creeks, rivers and lakes. Our Essequibo is the third largest river on the continent of South America, with only the mighty Amazon in Brazil and the awesome Orinoco in Venezuela being larger.  Guyana is a blessed country as far as Mother Nature goes, and more Guyanese need to recognize that blessing and be grateful.
Admittedly, there are many things to make us miserable, such as the incessant man-made noises all around including the numerous BOOM-BOOM boxes. That includes the noise emitting from vehicles driven by people who seem unable to keep their hands off their vehicle’s horns. So, it will be safe to say that 55 years after Independence, most of the problems here in Guyana, are man-made. Since that is so, then the solutions can also be man-made.
Sadly, not many with the necessary power, seem willing and ready to bell the cat. Many with the power to make a positive difference, seem to be sitting on their hands. There are Guyanese who need to display much more respect for our Homeland, including our beaches. How could a Guyanese dig out tons of sand from the Number 63 beach, with impunity? Our destitute, and those who suffer from mental illness – and even our stray dogs need our kindness and consideration.
As Bill Pilgrim posed in his popular patriotic song, “Let us cooperate for Guyana…Can we do it?” Then that resounding response, “YES, we Can.” HAPPY 55 INDEPENDENCE Anniversary to all Guyanese both at home and abroad. God Bless our Beautiful Guyana.

A destitute citizen sleeping on the Bourda Market
pavement in Georgetown. (Photo by Francis Q. Farrier)

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Comments

  • wally n  On 05/30/2021 at 4:40 pm

    As usual, well said, and guilty of of ignoring our surroundings. As a kid one of my friends suggested we should attack “Walker the nigga” because he was nuts, well he was a sharp shooter,with bricks, I went home to a fine cut ass after I admitted. Working on Docks/wharves many of “them” hung out there, meant nothing to us.
    Today, as I look back I am a lil ashamed of my insensitivity, There is another reason, not ready to comment on. Still proud to say none of my children, will ever be guilty of turning their backs, my eldest daughter first son, volunteers at the local hospital, plays guitar to cancer patients, and the elderly, one of the relatives of one of the patients, wrote him a large cheque, when their mother died, said she spoke kindly of him. He refused, suggested they donate to the hospital, he took a plaque instead. My son and his wife when ever they visit Central America always take one suitcase of school supplies for any of the kinder garden schools close by.
    I am being long winded because I believe, we should do what we can, better than thinking YOU can save the world, I think I thought them well.

  • wally n  On 05/30/2021 at 5:13 pm

    BTW don’t do correction or apologize, sorry

  • brandli62  On 06/02/2021 at 7:52 am

    Francis, it’s always enjoyable to read your essays with lots of thought about human nature and relationships. I am glad me and my wife saw eye to eye in raising our daughters to respect all human beings irrespective of ethnic background, religious believes, sexual preferences, and social class. This was also Jesus Christ’s mission. Despite being raised catholic, I am not religious but I had always deep respect for Jesus’ humanity. The world would be a much better place for all, if we put humanity and respect first.

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