Slapping against the waves of the Essequibo River, our overcrowded wooden boat – which rose just inches above the water – made its way across the current and over to the other side. Our group of about 15 left Bartica’s shores in search of new pastures.
The village across the river (referred to as Goshen) is a (roughly) 3 mile shoreline stretch directly across from Bartica. It’s made up of simple wooden houses and large concrete duplexes with satellite dishes. For a settlement that depends completely on Bartica (which is no more than a settlement that depends completely on Georgetown) the locals live pretty large. The ubiquitous Celine Dion blasted from some very-expensive sounding speakers while locals vroomed past us on mini-motorbikes. It smacked of development, in stark contrast to the last time I was there, when everyone was on foot and humming and bathing in the river. Although everyone was still bathing in the river. We saw.
Living on Bartica can sometimes give us a little Island Fever, and Samantha was especially happy to disembark and greet Goshen with open arms.
We partnered up and set off on the trail, Angie and Sholanna held up the rear to protect us from any stalking Jaguars.
I would be remiss to avoid sharing the new and interesting flora and fauna I was confronted with while in Goshen. I found this thing near the beach. It looked like a compact pine cone that had been painted red, and was about as dense as a tennis ball. Weird.
Samantha and Rawl told me to take a bit out of this ruby-red specimen, which I did and immediately regretted. It was coarse and unsweet and sucked all of the moisture out of my mouth like a cotton ball. Can you see the indentations where my teeth scraped its flesh? Sooooo unenjoyable.
Treanna obeyed orders to stand and smile and point at the prickly pineapple bush! I’ve seen these all over Guyana; they never cease to interest and intimidate me.
And JoAnna coaxed this brilliant yellow insect onto her thumb, which earned her the new title of Butterfly Whisperer.
But it wasn’t all hiking and fruit-tasting, we did actually talk to people. Here Angie showed Psalm 83:18 to a sweet little girl who followed Angie’s finger on the page and read along.
Floyd and his partner worked together and got along swimmingly…
And Rollissa spoke at several doors with her own prepared presentation. She was totally irresistible. One boy we talked to asked us where our meetings were held and when we told him said he knew exactly where the hall was. Many people in Goshen come to Bartica to shop and resupply, and some occasionally attend our meetings. Everyone accepted magazines, and one woman said she loved reading them and hadn’t received any recently, so she was happy to take a small stack.