I can’t remember where we were going this day, but I do remember wanting to get the photograph, although we were quite a distance away, so I used the long telephoto to quickly snap this.
This is where the City’s garbage dump meets the Body Dump, or more respectfully called the Le Repentir Cemetery.
The smoke was drifting across from the burning garbage (it apparently spontaneously combusts periodically), the excavator was clearing some paths and moving some garbage, and the birds were just hanging around for the “disturbed” earth and garbage. 🙂
Click on the image for a better view in the Gallery!
A Drive up the Rupert Craig Highway carries you past the villages of Plaisance and Sparendaam on the East Coast of Demerara. My dad had once pointed out that what most people referred to as the “Catholic Church in Plaisance” was actually situated in Sparendaam (this would be the Church of St John the Baptist), and I couldn’t help but notice that the Saint Paul’s Anglican Church at Plaisance is also in Sparendaam.
I suppose that quibbling about the name of the location is minor since the street that marks the division of the two villages is the same street that both churches are on. Now the street, that has name issues of its own…
As with most of the place names in Guyana, they reflect our past colonisations and our change from Colonial rule to Independence, the name Plaisance is of French origin, and Sparendaam comes from the Dutch. Our last colonial masters were the British, when our country was known as British Guiana, and the two main streets running the length of Plaisance were (and to some extent still are) Queen Victoria Road and Prince William Drive.
During the “Burnham years”, one of the changes (some might call it an attempt to eradicate our history) was to rename streets that held “colonial names” to names that were more meaningful to a country emerging from colonial rule and striving for successful Independence. In Georgetown one of the more notable changes was the renaming of Murray Street to Quamina Street. John Murray was the Lieutenant Governor of Demerara from 1813 to 1824, Quamina was a slave involved in one of the largest slave revolts in Demerara during that time (in 1823 actually).
In Plaisance, Queen Victoria Road was renamed to Ben Profitt Drive, and Prince William Street was renamed to Andries Noble Avenue. Ben Profitt was a notable village chairman of Plaisance, and Andries Noble is touted to be one of the best midwives of Guyana, there’s probably very few people over the age of 35 from Plaisance and Sparendaam whom she didn’t help bring into this world.
Although the name changes were made more than a couple of decades ago, the streets are still referred to by many using the original names, although most people who have grown up in the villages know them by both names, So St Paul’s Anglican Church is sometimes referred to as being on Queen Victoria Road, and sometimes on Ben Profitt Drive, likewise it is also sometimes referred to as being in Sparendaam, as well as being in Plaisance..
I started this blog post just wanting to say something about St Paul’s Anglican Church other than “Here is a photo of the church with it’s cemetery as seen through a gate in its fence”, one thing led to another and now the post is almost 500 words long.
Without further ado; “Here is a photo of the church with it’s cemetery as seen through a gate in its fence” 🙂
Click on the image to see it better in the Gallery, along with other images from this year’s Deck Project.
Monuments. That is basically what a tombstone or tomb-marker is, whether it’s a simple slab with a name on it or an obelisk, it’s a monument to the person interred, a reminder to the living of a person now dead.
These markers fade with time, and people forget, generations pass and the dead are lost to the living. Some are forgotten entirely, some are just names on a family tree. Do we all want to fade from memory like dawn fades to day, once there, once unique, never to be seen again, never to be remembered and referred to?
Most of us will do just that, but the few who are exceptional will live on as legends and icons of History. Whether we are remembered as tyrants or dictators, philanthropists or inventors, pioneers or adventurers, famous artists or infamous criminals depends on the decisions we make daily.
At times like this, when my thoughts stray to these realms, I remember two phrases from my early High School days. I attended St. Stanislaus College, it was a Catholic School before the government took everything over under early PNC rule in Guyana. Some things had remained as part of the teaching and tradition of the school.
The two phrases I remember were from different sources.
One was given to us as four letters to be written at the top of every page, I believe it was handed down from the Jesuits who taught at the school when it was a Catholic School; the letters were AMDG, a shortened form for Ad maiorem Dei gloriam, which meant “For the Greater Glory of God”, it was meant to encourage you to try to make everything you do, everything you say be geared towards that goal.
The second phrase was the school’s motto, Aeterna non Caduca, literally translated to “eternal non perishable”, but we were told that the motto translated to “Not for this Life, but for Eternity”. Whatever we do should not be just to have an effect now, in our lifetime, but for eternity.
Taken together they can be a driving force for a truly spectacular life, a life of meaning, unfortunately, not many would adhere to such a strict code.
Many people who happen to drop in to read my blog-posts are fellow aspiring photographers (in one way or another), we may never be an Ansel Adams or a Nick Brandt, a Frank Horvat or Mario Testino, an Irving Penn or a Steve McCurry, a Joe Rosenthal or a Don McCullin, an Henri Cartier Bresson or a Vivian Maier, but what we can do is aspire to show to anyone who will look, how we see the world through our eyes, our view-finders, our lenses, make them feel what we feel through visual stimulation (and if necessary a few words) 🙂
Can I do that? Can we do that? I don’t know, but I am sure going to give it a try!
This was taken during a photo-walk arranged by the Guyana Photographers Facebook group, lots of people thought it strange to arrange a walk in a cemetery 🙂
Click on the photo to see it larger in the Gallery.