Just a reminder, these observations were written as they were happening (I did add a few modifications from the handwritten version as I typed it up).  You may find that some observations change during the progress of the journal.  For example, Mark’s driving seemed less exceptional and just typical Guyanese driving after I’d been there a few days.  Even after the trip, though, the manner of driving in Guyana is still one of the most exceptional things I witnessed.

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February 15 (continued) Brother Almond Katryan was waiting for us as we left the airport, along with an India Indian taxi driver named Mark.  At once I began to see evidence of the reality of the stories I had heard about traffic in Guyana.  Drivers pass each other frequently, and very closely, on narrow 2-lane roads, all the while honking incessantly at each other and at other vehicles coming on to the highway.  Government regulations actually dictate drivers honk as they come up behind bicycle drivers, and as they pass other vehicles.  One has to have a steady nerve and quick reflexes to successfully navigate the apparently lawless, every-man-for-himself traffic, especially in the towns.  Mark had both, in abundance.  I can safely say I have never rode with a better driver, although to all the Guyanese motorists it seemed like business as usual.  Cars were passing and crowding each other (as well as big dump trucks, lorries, tractors, and horse or donkey-drawn wagons) with inches to spare, but I didn’t see a single collision.  Often drivers pass even when another car is coming at them.  The driver being passed scoots over to the shoulder, the other driver slows down and gravitates towards the opposite shoulder, and the passer whips around and back into his lane.  Guyana highways and cars are on the British system, meaning the wheel is on the opposite side of the vehicle from American vehicles, and they also drive on the opposite side of the road.  That took some getting used to, even as a passenger.

Brother Katryan treated us to breakfast, where I had salt fish, a white sausage somewhat similar to boudin, and a wonderful “bake,” a round piece of soft, sweet, delicious Indian bread.  I was also able to purchase a couple of Guyana post cards for Joy at a store in the same building.

The drive from Georgetown to Corriverton, where the Katryans live, was interesting, and I made several observations.  There were numerous Hindu temples and Islamic mosques along the route, and we saw a few strict Muslims who have their women completely veiled except for the eyes.  The Hindu temples all had some religious symbol with three prongs that reminded me of pictures we see of Satan’s pitchfork.  I’m not sure what the symbol is alleged to mean, but we do know that Hinduism, like every religion without Christ, is in fact a satanic belief. (Back home after the trip I looked this up on the internet and found that the emblem is called a trisula and is an emblem of the Hindu idol Shiva).

Brother Katryan remarked that the use of cars has greatly increased in Guyana over the last year or so.  Vehicle traffic was fairly heavy, along with several animal-powered wagons.  We saw cattle and goats all along the roadside, and one large pig.  None of the animals were fenced in, but supposedly they all return home at night.  We also saw a fresh meat market, which includes Muslim-sanctified Halaal meat; a lot of duck, chicken, lamb, and beef.  I asked Brother Katryan about the Guyanese eating beef, since the cow is a sacred animal to the Hindus, which compose a sizable percentage of the population.  He replied that the Hindus don’t eat beef but they don’t mind selling it to others.  So much for the purity of their religion.

Racially/ethnically, Guyana appeared to me (without knowing the statistics) to be about an equal mix of blacks and Indians (from India, imported as indentured laborers during the country’s days as a British colony).  I saw a few Asians here and there; ironically, Chinese establishments seem to be the predominant restaurants, though in Georgetown I did see a KFC, Church’s, and Popeye’s all in a row.  There is also a Church’s in Corriverton.  Guyana has numerous barber shops, which seem to be dying in America, where men want to go get their hair cut by an attractive woman while watching sports on television.

The people here, generally, dress and behave (at least outwardly) like typical Americans.  The music sounds the same to my untrained ear as what I hear back home, and Brother Katryan reports that the same epidemic of dating and fornication that is rotting America is ruining Guyana as well, particularly the young people.  Just like back home, many children are growing up without fathers, and are allowed to roam the streets looking for trouble, without any supervision.  Just driving through the neighborhoods, one could guess that purity and morality are at a low level.  Throughout the length and breadth of the country, the government has posted signs warning about STDs, and advocating either abstinence or “safe sex.”  Apparently advising obedience to the law of God is not on the agenda.  As brother Katryan observed, the problem in Guyana is the same as everywhere else: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.”

In the evening, after an excellent meal provided by sister Nalin (Pastor Katryan’s wife), we drove down to Corriverton Baptist Church, to change a few light bulbs and meet a couple of ladies from the church who were there.  We afterwards drove around the neighborhood speaking to people, inviting them to tomorrow’s services, and giving them Arthur Pink’s tract on “The Godhood of God.” Dad found time to explain the fundamentals of the Gospel to one young woman of about 12 to 15, while her mother, who seemed to have a nasty cold, sat nearby listening.  When we drove back, the girl was reading Pink’s tract, so we certainly hope there is a lively interest there. 

As another first day observation, I noticed that nearly all of the major Christian denominations seem to be represented in Guyana, in addition to Islam and Hinduism.  Presbyterians, Lutherans, Catholics, Baptists, and others seemed to be represented along the highway we traveled.  The most magnificent buildings belonged to the Anglican church, yet nearly all of these are now unoccupied.  Considering what the Anglican church has become, this can hardly be considered a tragedy.  I also noticed that the cemeteries, many of which were on old Anglican grounds dating back to Guyana’s days as a colony, are overgrown and swamped with vegetation, unlike the neatly manicured graveyards we see commonly in America.  Brother Katryan humorously remarked that this was because the dead were too lazy to get up and do their work.