February 17.  Guyana is full of interesting sounds as well as sights, some of them pleasant and others of a sadder nature.  I know next to nothing about birds, but Guyana is home to a great variety of colorful fowl, which awakened me early this morning with their beautiful music.  Early today I also heard again the signal for the workers at a nearby sugar factory, which sounds precisely like a tornado siren or nuclear alarm system.  On a less pleasant note, in the wee hours of the morning, about 5 a.m., and four other times throughout the day, we hear the Muslim call to prayer from a mosque just a short distance from the Katryans’ house.  To me it sounds like aimless chanting, not “the most beautiful sound in the world,” as our president once called it.  The sad part is that it is nothing more than an invitation for heathens to recite their vain repetitions.

From the road beneath my window car horns can often be heard.  They are a perfectly natural part of life in Guyana, and never seem to provoke any road rage, as too often happens in the States.  Much more irritating is to hear people driving by or parking in the neighborhood and playing their music at ear-splitting levels.  This occurs more frequently even than in the States.

The sounds of work are also evident, whether driving down the road or listening from my bedroom window.  Trucks or cars drive about the neighborhoods blaring advertisements for things like cooking gas or even funerals from loudspeakers on the roof of the vehicle.  A lot of construction is ongoing, much of it done by hand with little help from machinery.  Very often we see cement being mixed on the side of the road, or concrete blocks being fashioned.  There are also new buildings being built, and old ones being remodeled.