ON THE STREET WHERE I LIVED in B.G.

This is an intriguing story by a Guyanese man, Peter Halder, who grew up in Albouystown in the late 1930’s and the 1940’s. …. you would find it very interesting reading … it brings back many memories of Guyana of old…  Here is the conclusion to his story:

Conclusion

A man is not always defined by where he was born or the circumstances of his birth. I became a journalist, District Administration Officer, Licence Revenue Officer, Chief Information Officer, Ambassador, Commonwealth Expert, Consultant-Government of Fiji; Consultant to Fiji’s Mission to the United Nations, received the Order of The Nile (Third Class) from Egypt, travelled to over 60 countries and lived in quite a few.

My family and I now live in Springfield, Virginia, U.S.A. I am retired.

Growing up in Guyana in my young days was paradise and Non Pareil Street and Albouystown, wonderland.

——————————————————————————————

ON THE STREET WHERE I LIVED – in B.G.

by Peter Halder, (E-mail:   peterhalder@hotmail.com)

former Guyana Ambassador, Commonwealth Expert, Consultant to Fiji Government.

I was born, grew up and lived for many years on a virtually unknown street.

It’s name is Non Pareil Street and it’s in Albouystown, Georgetown, Guyana.

My family consisted of my father and mother, Earshad and Mary Halder , three brothers – Bonnie, Felix and Vernon, all of whom have passed away, and two sisters – Leila and Bernice.

My niece, Olivia (Livy) Kissoon later came to live with us. She now lives in Toronto, Canada. Her Mom Leila had migrated to Trinidad, then England and now lives in Cyprus. Bernice now lives in Orlando, Florida.

Albouystown is the long, narrow southern suburb of Georgetown, often called a “slum area” due to its “long ranges” of one room homes, thickly populated “yards”, latrines for the use of landlord and tenants and to a minor extent, crime.

It is bounded on the north by Sussex Street and the Sussex Street trench, on the east by Callendar Street, on the south by Punt Trench Dam and the Punt Trench and on the west by La Penitence Public Road and Market. It’s north to south width is only two blocks and straddling the middle from east to west is James Street.

Callendar Street, proceeding west, is followed by Garnett Street, Campbell Street, Curtis Street, Non Pareil Street, Cooper Street, Victoria Street, King Edward Street, Albert Street, Bel Air Street, La Penitence Street, Barr Street, Albouys Street, Hill Street, Hogg Street and La Penitence Public Road.

During the late 1930’s and the 1940s, Albouystown was sparsely populated and Non Pareil Street, moreso. The ‘”yards” were large so there were not many between Sussex Street and Punt Trench Dam.

My father came from India but my mother was born in Essequibo.

… read full story in this attachment…>  ON THE STREET WHERE I LIVED

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Comments

  • Ann Kennedy  On April 27, 2010 at 2:29 pm

    It was heart warming to read about your successful life. You came from very humble beginnings. You studied hard and rose to the top. Your shabby environment did not deter you from excelling. Your neighbourhood was one of the worst in Georgetown. I remember getting flogged just for riding through there on my way to visit a friend who lived on the East bank. Congratulations on your retirement and may your days be long in the land. I do hope that you spend some of your time motivating others to succeed. So many times successful people never look back at helping others. You are retired; I am sure that you could find the time. Many Guyanese live in Virginia and the Washington DC area. Good luck with your future.
    Sincerely,
    Ann K

  • Kesh Saywack  On April 27, 2010 at 4:11 pm

    Mr Halder,

    My grandfather lived in Hogg St. in the 30’s and i’ve heard many stories of him in the “Dictator Liquor shop”.

  • Stanley Greaves  On April 28, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    Subject Re: On the Street Where I Lived – in BG

    HELLO CYRIL—SMALL WORLD. I lived as a small child in James St. Albuoystown. Moved to Carmichael St. near St. Georges School attended Main St School. He has certainly done a lot in his life. Guyanese still amaze me. One will become president of the US.

    WALK GOOD
    Stanley.

    • K. Yardon  On December 27, 2010 at 5:20 pm

      Under current us laws, only American born citizens are allowed to run for the Presidency. There are also other requirements to meet.

  • Latchman Kissoon  On April 29, 2010 at 12:21 pm

    Thu, Apr 29, 2010 at 7:51 AM
    SubjectRe: On the Street Where I Lived – in BG

    THIS IS FANTASTIC
    LATCHMAN KISSOON

  • Molly  On May 25, 2010 at 10:30 pm

    Conrad was my husband, he passed away in 2000.
    The Drug store by Hunter St was Naraines’ Drug Store. I think you have the wrong name on your articles. My Dad lives In James and Hunter St all of my life.
    We also lived in Barr St.
    It was nice reading your memories I enjoyed it.
    Thank you for the Memories

    • K. Yardon  On December 27, 2010 at 5:25 pm

      Yes, some things in the article seem inaccurate.I also lived in Albouystown, but at a much later date.

  • Molly Naraine  On May 25, 2010 at 10:36 pm

    I knew your sister in High School, also lots of the people you spoke about I once knew them
    I lived On James St all my life until I married Conrad Persaud,
    He passed away in2000

  • Molly Naraine  On May 25, 2010 at 10:40 pm

    My Dad had owned the Drug Store On James St near Hunter St It was called Naraine Drug Store.
    I know a lot of the people you spoke off.My sister was married to the Singh’s on James St near Cooper St I think you you knew her neice Jeannte any how it was nice reading about James St.

    • Ron Persaud  On December 24, 2010 at 12:14 pm

      Molly,
      Do you have a sister named Leila? Or are you one and the same person? If so, one (or both) of you might remember “Bay Rum in time!”
      That was me in 1953 or 1954.
      I was the nephew of Ernest, a tailor from Hunter Street; lived opposite another tailor, Mohammed. (Pretty daughters Zabeeda and Fareeda) The two tailors seemed to earn a decent living despite being such close competitors.
      I particularly remember your Dad who was quite a prominent presence in the area. There was also “Channa Boy” but I am not sure if he was any family connection to you guys. The two and Kassiram were particularly proud of me when I gained a scholarship to Saint Stanislaus College in 1954.
      There was a Jeanette Singh who was a teacher at Carmel. Her brother, Hardatt, taught for a short while at ‘Saints’. They may have both been children of Sugrim Singh, a well known lawyer in the city.
      I agree that the article misplaced a few places and people but that does not detract from its nostalgic value.
      Merry Christmas!!!
      Ron. Persaud

      • Shereen Lootfun-Alibux  On September 8, 2012 at 11:15 pm

        Hello mr. Persuad, I just by chance saw your comment about when you lived in Guyana. You knew a tailor Mohamed and his two daughters Zabeeda and Fareeda, well Noor Mohamed is my grandfather and Fareeda is my mom. We live in the Netherlands (Holland). I think my mom must know you, she is not going to believe this if I tell her that you still remember my grandad and her. Unfortunately and very very sadly my auntie Zabeeda has passed away a few years ago. I would really like to hear more stories about my family in Guyana. Do you also remember my two uncles ( my moms brothers) Hazrat and Nazeer? Please let me know. Ok bye for now, Shereen Lootfun-Alibux.

  • Patrina Persaud  On May 26, 2010 at 1:51 am

    I came across this page on the internet and I was blown away by the mention of my dad. My father was Conrad Persaud of J.S. Persaud & Sons. My name is Patrina and I live in Dallas, Texas. My father and his memory is very dear to me and I appreciate you remembering him.

    • Ron Persaud  On December 24, 2010 at 12:27 pm

      J. S. Persaud and Sons owned and operated a Grocery on Sussex St. not far down from Saffon St. didn’t they?
      I particularly remember Mrs. Persaud.
      She very kindly signed as guarantor on my application for a Library card.
      Oh, she made me wait; and she delivered an incisive lecture about “Responsibility”. But ever since she signed that card I have been a member of some library or another without a break
      I would have liked very much to let her know that.
      I remember “Marjorie” in that shop or is my own memory playing tricks on me?
      Ron. Persaud

  • Rudy Vyfhuis  On May 26, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    I lived in Albouystown–Lot “D” Hogg Street. I vividly remember Cooper Street, Non Pariel Street as well as the junction at James and Hunter Streets. Hammie Green’s father had a drug store on James Street as was mentioned by Peter. From Albuoystown my family moved to Laing Avenue, which was just beyond Albuoystown, going South. From Laing Avenue, I had to pass through Albuoystown on a daily basis to first, get to school and later to get to work at the Licence Revenue Office.
    In those days, I remember Peter Halder as a journalist and later on as Principal Information Officer and Chief Information Officer. As a Senior staff member of the Ministry of Information myself, I remember him advising me to learn as much as I could about “government’s policy”, if I wanted to perform my duties effectively at the Ministry of Information. I remember Peter as someone who always had time to tell a good joke, but at the same time he was very astute and ambitious.
    Thanks for bringing back wonderful memories , Peter.
    Rudy Vyfhuis

  • Rudy Vyfhuis  On May 26, 2010 at 2:49 pm

    A wonderful web site.

  • Suresh  On June 7, 2010 at 6:58 pm

    Nice reading. But I can’t believe you left out my father’s store. Naraine’s Drug store. You brought back many good memories & can relate to some of the places mentioned. Great to hear about some old stuff. Thanks.

    • Shereen Lootfun-Alibux  On September 9, 2012 at 12:16 pm

      Dear mr. Suresh, you don’t know me, but I’m the daughter of Fareeda Mohamed, her father was mr. Noor Mohamed, a tailor in Hunterstreet. My uncle Hazrat, my mom’s brother, was according to my mom, your best friend. My mom, Fareeda, and her sister Zabeeda were very good friends with your sister Leila and all of you. Do you remember them? I also have another uncle Nazir, do you remember him? My mom told me you used come at their home very often. I hope you see this message and please do reply. My email address is s_lootfun@hotmail.com. Ok bye for now, and hope to hear from you soon, Shereen Lootfun.

      • Rudolph Mahadeo  On September 9, 2012 at 5:01 pm

        Shereen….My name is Rudolph Mahadeo…I lived next door to Noor Mohamed and know Fareeda and Zabeeda well…..sorry to hear of Zabeeda’s demise…..we shared what was called in those days child crush…know she eventually married an Agriculture Officer I think….I attended Carmel Roman Catholic School…no secondary school…self-taught and am now a mathematician at Saint Stanislaus College ans Queen’s College….also Chief Examiner CXC in Caribbean…..your mom may remember “Buntin” from next yard…his father (my uncle) used to work at the Guyana zoo….Buntin (my cousin) attended Indian Educational Trust at that time…looking out for your reply on this post

      • Shereen Lootfun-Alibux  On September 10, 2012 at 8:23 pm

        Hi mr. Rudolph, I was so very happy when I saw your message, and I asked my mom Fareeda if she knows you, but she cannot really remember, do you also have a nickname by which you were more known. You know it is about 52 years ago that my mom left Guyana, she says their neighbor on the left was Casiram cake shop and on the rightside was Neighbor Richie. There was also the neighbors Meerkhan’s family she remembers. Can you please tell me more? I was surprised to hear that you and my auntie Zabeeda had a child crush….. Please tell me more, and tell me more about your family. Do you still live in Guyana? Have you been to Hunterstreet where you all used to live? Please tell me more…….I’m waiting for your reply…..shereen.

      • Rudolph Mahadeo  On September 11, 2012 at 6:19 am

        Shereen….Uncle Richie was Buntin’s father…my mom’s brother….my mom lived across the road in Mrs Campbell’s yard…her name was Hannah….one of my brothers used to run the printing shop in the front of Mrs Campbell’s yard….I worked in the postal service as a postman at Essequibo then…..I did not have a nickname…was always Rudolph or Rudy…..i later gave that up and became a mathematician….I still live in Guyana and teach advanced mathematics at Queen’s College and Saint Stanislaus College 2 of our leading secondary schools……I am also the Chief Examiner for the Caribbean region and that takes me travelling to some islands like Jamaica, Trinidad, Barbados and Antigua…..your grandfather made a few pants for me in those days….I sometimes pass through Hunter Street but the place is changed up significantly…..a lot of old ramshackle buildings and also crime infested….of course all the elders of my time would have died……I have very pleasant memories of my stay in Hunter Street…..I was actually born in Hogg Street which is the first street coming from the public road…..the khan brothers lived almost opposite too…..Faizul etc…..with Razack’s shop at the punt trench corner and Kasiram at the James Street corner….with Samuel Persaud on the opposite corner….were you born in Guyana?…have you visited recently?

      • Shereen Lootfun-Alibux  On September 12, 2012 at 7:32 am

        My mom does remember neighbour Richie and Mrs. Campbell but the rest she doesn’t. She left Guyana in 1962, she was born in Guyana and grew up there. I wasn’t born in Guyana, I only visited my grandparents and family sometimes and the last time was when I was nine years, it’s about 40 years ago. I guess a lot has changed since then, especially Hunterstreet and also my grandparents house. Do you know if it still exists? Do other people live in the house? The house is at 87, Hunterstreet in Albouystown. My mom remembers the schools you mentioned where you teach, it must also be very nice for you to travel to all the Islands. Ok bye for now.

      • Suresh Naraine  On September 9, 2012 at 6:10 pm

        Hi Shereen, I know the family well. I met Hazrat small brother, Raise & his wife. Would love to talk to you. I sent an email earlier.

      • Shereen Lootfun-Alibux  On September 10, 2012 at 8:03 pm

        Hi…..mr. Suresh I am very happy to hear from you. Did you meet Raees and his wife in the US? Do you still live in Guyana? I told my mom that I received your message, and she was so very happy to hear from someone who also knows her from back home. My mom told me she was best friends with your sister Leila and would very very much like to know how she is. My moms birthday is the 13th of December and Leila’s birthday is the 16th of December, they were both engaged about the same period and my mom married 27 th of may 1962 and the Sunday after one week Leila got married. Leila came to my mom’s wedding and my mom couldn’t go to her wedding because she left for Suriname with my dad. My mom also told me about your other sisters like Molly, Shirley, Baghan…..but please tell me how Leila is doing so I can tell my mom she is very excited to know. Hope to hear from you soon.

      • Suresh Naraine  On September 10, 2012 at 9:01 pm

        Hi Shereen, I live in Texas. I sent you an email, if you did not receive it let me know. Would be glad to talk to you. Please send your ph #. Your dad, myself & Hazrat used to have a few drinks together at your parents home, forgot the area. Another friend that used to hang out with us was Amin. .

      • Shereen Lootfun-Alibux  On September 10, 2012 at 9:13 pm

        Well I only got one message from you. I didn’t receive your other message. My mom is Fareeda and my uncles are Hazrat and Nazeer. Do you know that my uncle Hazrat also passed away?

      • Suresh Naraine  On September 10, 2012 at 9:26 pm

        Yes. How is his wife & children? I sent another email at S_lootfun@hotmail.com. I that right? Call me at 940-498-9903 or send me another email address. Thanks.
        I am glad Guyanese on Line posted. It helped me find someone whose relative next door to me. Call me.

      • Shereen Lootfun-Alibux  On September 10, 2012 at 9:38 pm

        My email address is s_lootfun@hotmail.com and my phone nr is +3136640775082 The email address is with small letter s not capital S. I’m waiting for your call.

      • Suresh Naraine  On September 10, 2012 at 9:46 pm

        I tried calling that # and a guy answered. recheck that number. Waiting.

      • Shereen Lootfun-Alibux  On September 10, 2012 at 9:44 pm

        I’ m sorry my phone nr is +31640775082

      • Suresh Naraine  On September 10, 2012 at 9:52 pm

        send me the entire number

      • gandhi  On April 6, 2014 at 8:50 pm

        I am gandhi. iknow your father. i used to live in pertab yard. suresh, nice to know people remember albouystown

      • Suresh  On April 7, 2014 at 2:22 pm

        Hi Gandi, can’t remember your face but do contact me. I spoke to Shereen and Sis Farida sometime back. I am sending her emails but she is not getting them. Where do you live? Send me your number. Thanks.
        Suresh.

  • Adam  On November 25, 2010 at 6:04 pm

    I read Halder piece online, about Albouystown, and find it most bizarre, but not surprising that he would be describing Albouystown as paradise, when he and his family live in Virginia.
    I would have to assume that something is preventing Mr. Halder from living in the Paradise that is Albouystown.

    I myself lived in Albousytown as a child and again as a young man, and I would certainly not describe it as paradise. Albouystown was a slum at the time I lived there, and, as far as I am aware, it is still a slum. But, I acknowledge that the slum is paradise to some.

    Paradise is where I now live, in Orlando. That is why I am here.

    I find that Halder’s comments is sad and pathetic, but not surprising. The sentiments he is displaying is evident in a large number of new immigrants who come to the US to work, live, and raise their children, but never embrace the country as home.

    Certainly there is such a thing as nostalgia, a longing for things as they used to be during our carefree, childhood days. But one would think that someone who is educated would be able to recognize such sentiments.

    I would suggest to Halder that he should not convey such sentiments to his children or grandchildren, but encourage his loved ones to love where they are. I would suggest that the US is the most beautiful and most desirable place to be in the world, and Virginia is a most beautiful place. I know this to be true, I once lived there.

    Finally, I would suggest that he encourage every Guyanese he meets here in the US to learn to love the US. The fact that some of us are incapable of mentally leaving the slum behind, and assimilating into the society here is perhaps an indication of just how intellectually backward we are.

    Adam Naraine

  • Joshua P. Chowritmootoo  On December 1, 2010 at 5:02 pm

    I had lived a few years in Albouystown, Georgetown, Guyana. My wife was born in Albouystown where her father, the late Mr. Shiv Naraine owned and operated a “Drug Store” at the corner of Hunter and James Streets. I find Mr. Halder’s nostalgic reminiscences heart warming in spite of the several inacuracies. Albouystown is a slum. It has been abondoned by the prevoius government of the PNC and now by the present PPP government. I wonder what would it take to convince the government to infuse some expenditure to change the condition there. With reference to Mr. Naraine’s assertion that the USA is a paradise, I am not sure what he hopes to achieve or who is he trying to convince. The USA is what any immigrant makes of it. It is, undoubtedly. a haven for the accumulation of material wealth and a great place for educational and business opportunities. However, to disregard the negativities of the most wasteful and hedonistic society in the world is unbecoming of any one who seeks to be objective. Back to Mr. Halder; he is surely entitled to his opinion. He has chosen not to live in his ‘Albouystown Paradise’, and to live elsewhere is a personal decision and no one should negegrate him for his choice.

  • Adam  On December 3, 2010 at 3:40 pm

    The idea of “freedom of speech” allows us to utter and express whatever comes to mind, and this is okay as long as what we say is not illegal or offensive to others. But surely, we owe it to ourselves as adults and thinking people to be accurate and responsible about what we say.

    It seems to me that there is something fundamentally wrong about living in Virginia while describing Albouystown, a known slum, as paradise. This would be okay if we were writing advertising copy, but we are not.

    If Mr. Halder was living in Albouystown and choose to call it his paradise his statement would have some validity, because an individual can choose to create his own paradise wherever he finds himself; be it in the slum, the ghetto or the jungle. Mr. Halder’s statement is extreme, because he is not just calling anyplace paradise, he is referring to a known slum as paradise, when he himself does not live in this place. Certainly he can do this, because, as mentioned above, we can make whatever utterances we choose to make. But I say let us set the record straight.

    Let us leave it to the people who reside in the ghetto, the slum, or the jungle to call wherever they live paradise. Their statement would have validity, because as stated above, we can and should create our own paradise wherever we are.

    We should note that of all the persons who have responded to this piece, no good Samaritan has yet suggested that we take up a collection or do something to return Mr. Halder and his family to Albouystown. I think we instinctively know that Mr. Halder does not what to be in Albouystown, he would rather be in Virginia. That is why he is there.

    With regard to the US, where hundreds of thousands of Guyanese live, along with people in large numbers from all over the world, there is no need for me to defend life in the US. The US is what it is, and it is different things to different people. The quality of life here is well known to all. My point is: if you choose to live, work and raise your children here, you should call it home and learn to love it.

    Adam

  • Henry Muttoo  On December 16, 2010 at 2:26 pm

    Dear Peter,

    Thank you for the memories.

    I am also a product of Albouystown. I lived there from birth until I was 19 years old and would not trade the experience for anything. I lived in my aunt’s – Everyone called her “Miss Lewis” on account of her husband’s name yard. Her real name was Clarice Gonsalves. They owned the property at 161 Curtis & James Street. It consisted of two shops – a ‘salt-goods’ shop that faced James street – opposite ‘lil’ boy’ shop and a ‘cake shop’ on the Curtis Street side. There was a ‘long range’ house that was divided into four rooms. My mother and grandmother and four children lived in the one farthest from the road. In the one next to us lived an old, deaf man, whose only name I knew was ‘Springer’. Next to him lived an aunt and her children and in the one closest to the road lived a very strange character we knew only as Max. Us boys used to ‘lime’ on the many shop bridges and bridges over Sussex Street. Non-Pariel Street was one of our liming spots – Jimmy’s shop and the cloth store opposite. There was the big house at the corner obliquely opposite Jimmy’s shop where an old woman we used to call “Pekish de Boor'” lived. She used to sit at her upstairs window which looked onto Non-Pariel and waited with a ‘posey’ of pee which she’d fling down when we got too close to the house calling her. Everytime I visit Albouystown, I go there against the warnings of friends and family. While I admit that the place looks more rundown these days, I have to say that contrary to the views of some commentators, the people in Albouystown, despite poverty were ambitious, talented and had a keen sense of civic and personal pride. There is much more I can write but I essentially wanted to say thanks for sharing your memories. If you ever have the time or inclination, I’d love to hear from you.

    Henry Muttoo
    hmuttoo@yahoo.com

  • Jackie Finch  On December 22, 2010 at 10:25 pm

    Hi Peter,
    First of all your memory is impressive. Secondly I was so happy reading this as it brought back memories. We also lived for a short period across from the burial ground.
    Thank you for a great read and “stan good”

    Jackie Finch

  • Ron Persaud  On December 24, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    My birth certificate proclaims that I was born at ‘Lot 8 James St, Albuoystown’ and until I was 18 years old and started working, I lived in some part of that “Ward” of the city of Georgetown.
    Or that slum!
    But I do remember an occasion when some Ministers of Government rallied together for Operation Clean-up in Albuoystown. Those gentlemen all had their beginnings in the ward/slum/paradise/whatever/ that is Albuoystown.
    It may have been as many as six Ministers/Parliamentarians.
    I recall Hamilton Greene, Steve Narine and Cammie Ramsaroop.
    Mr. Greene’s father owned a drug store started a “Penny Bank” which encouraged small and recalcitrant little boys to save money.
    I used to call Steve Narine ‘Uncle Sonny’, not because of any familial relationship; just because that is how we were taught to show respect to our elders.
    In those days you could call an elder person “full mouth” -ONCE!
    It has been said that every good thing we know was learned at home, in a school or in a church.
    I have known the goodness of home at two or three addresses in
    Albuoystown.
    I have known the goodness of school at Carmel R.C. and ‘Saints’
    I have known the goodness of Church at Charlestown Convent and Brickdam Cathedral.
    Albuoystown! Different things to different people.
    Let me leave you lines and thoughts of Thomas Gray from the “Elegy…”
    “Full many a gem of purest ray serene
    The dark unfathom’d caves of ocean bear:
    Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,
    And waste its sweetness on the desert air.”
    That describes MY Albuoystown.
    Ron. Persaud

  • Adam  On December 25, 2010 at 1:20 am

    I find that some of the comments here are well meaning, but disturbing. To put it mildly, the comments here helps me better understand the psychology of the average Guyanese.

    This is my third comment and my point is: a slum is a slum, and unfit for human habitation. It serves no good purpose to describe a slum as paradise, and it does no justice to the people who live there. The people who live in the slum are, for the most part, people who are economically disadvantaged and cannot help being there. It is true that many people do break through and make it out of the slum, but this does not make it paradise. It still remains a slum.

    The average human being fondly remembers his childhood playground, even if it was the great big rubbish mountains we hear about in other parts of the world. Because this is where he created his childhood memories during his formative years. And this is where he made childhood friends.

    By referring to Albouystown, a known slum, as paradise, and a place worthy of praise, we do no justice to the people who currently live there. I lived in Albouystown as a child and again moved back at the age of 24. I can say that I made lifelong friendships there and have fond, childhood memories of Albouystwon my playground as a child. But the fact that it was my home and playground for a while does not alter the fact that this is a slum. I certainly wish that no young child has to grow up in such a place.

    If anyone reading these comments have had the benefits of training in problem solving, they will know that the first steps to solving a problem is to first recognize that there is a problem, and then move on to identify the source of the problem.

    A slum is a problem, because it is unfit for human habitation.

    Referring to the slum as paradise does not help to solve or identify any problems, it is just an irresponsible exercise in nostalgic reminiscing of childhood playdays.

    Who exactly are we fooling when we describe the slum as paradise. And how do we help the current residents of Albouystown by describing it in glowing terms and referring to it as paradise? We are certainly not fooling the people who live there, so we must be fooling ourselves or just indulging in a meaningless exercise of dialog mainly for the purpose of commiserating on-line.

    The Albouystown I remember is a dangerous place of thickly populated tenement yards with one or two latrines for all the tenants in a “yard”. To use these latrines daily is an extreme challenge, I can say this, because I have had to use them. Now I live in the US, and it would not occur to me to say to the people who live in these conditions that they have “paradise.” In my mind, this would be extreme absurdity. A place of open drainage gutters that were seldom cleaned. Add very high unemployment to this and you may get an idea of the hopelessness prevalent in this “paradise”. You would not drive through James street even in broad daylight (notice I said drive) if it can be helped. Walking down James St. would be insane, but nevertheless, you may survive such an excursion.

    I made it out and have lived in places like Washington DC, Virginia, Delaware, Long Island, and now Orlando. And I know of others who made it out, but, in my mind, it would serve no good purpose to now say I once lived in Albouystown the paradise. To say this would be to distort the facts, and it would be a disservice to the people who now live there.

    Instead I would like to ask: what could be done to make Albouystown a safer place? Have any new schools been build since 1981? How much money would it take to build at least one library there with ten computers with internet access? What can be done to improve the life and chances of the residents of Albouystown? I ask these questions with the full realization that Guyana is an impoverished nation with a small population and, consequently, limited tax revenue. However, there is such a thing as foreign aid and sensible budgeting.

    In concluding, I wish to remind all about of the story of the “King’s new clothes”. If we are sufficiently clever in the use of words we may be able to verbally convince all that the King is not really naked, he is actually wearing a smart new suit. With this in mind, it would be an interesting exercise to hold a town-hall meeting in Albouystown, and tell the residents there that they live in paradise. See what re-action you get.

    Adam Naraine

    • Ron Persaud  On December 26, 2010 at 8:13 pm

      Adam,
      The story by Hans Christian Andersen is titled “The Emperor’s new clothes”.
      Danny Kaye sang ‘The King’s New Clothes’ on his album “Just for kids.
      Ron.

  • Adam  On December 28, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    Thanks Ron, according to information I see on-line, this story has been translated into more than 100 languages, so I am sure it has been told and retold more than a million times. Whether we use Emperor or King in the story is not important.

    The story is instructive and relevant to our times, so a brief re-telling here may be appropriate.
    ——————-
    THE EMPEROR’S NEW CLOTHES
    An Emperor who cares for nothing but his wardrobe hires two weavers who promise him the finest suit of clothes from a fabric invisible to anyone who is unfit for his position or “just hopelessly stupid”.

    The Emperor cannot see the cloth himself, but pretends that he can for fear of appearing stupid; everyone, including his ministers go along with the idea of the invisible clothes. No one wants to appear “stupid.” When the suit is finished, they dress him in mime and the Emperor then marches in procession before his subjects. A child in the crowd calls out that the Emperor is wearing nothing at all and the cry is taken up by others. The Emperor cringes, suspecting the assertion is true, but holds himself up proudly and continues the procession.

    The lyrics to the Danny Kaye song adds more color to the story:

    “Your Majesty, to a wise man this is a beautiful raiment but to “a fool” it is absolutely invisible.” Naturally, the King not wanting to appear a fool, said,

    “Isn’t it grand! Isn’t it fine! Look at the cut, the style, the line!
    The suit of clothes is all together
    But all together it’s all together
    The most remarkable suit of clothes that I have ever seen.”

    ————-
    A wonderful and instructive story. It speaks to human psychology and the power of suggestion. The desire of the common man to fit in with the group opinion will sometimes cause him to align himself with the most absurd of ideas, and cause him to “see” what isn’t even there.

    Just to clarify, we know that some of this happens quite by accident, because we unconsciously mimic and follow where others lead all the time. We also know that the marketing folks love us for these robotic traits.

    Adam Naraine

  • Ron Persaud  On December 30, 2010 at 2:56 am

    Yes, Adam, I have read the story and listened to Danny Kaye’s rendition in song.
    I cannot make the connection between the story/song and Mr. Halder’s statement:
    “Growing up in Guyana in my young days was paradise and Non Pareil Street and Albouystown, wonderland.”
    I note especially that the “p” in paradise is not capitalized.

    My interpretation is that “Growing up” and not Albuoystown was “paradise”. Albuoystown and Non Pareil street were collectively referred to as “(a)wonderland”. The literary imagery is compelling and probably will resonate with the reader whether he grew up in “The Bronx” or “The D.C. suburb of McLean, Va.”
    Ron.

  • Rudolph Mahadeo  On January 6, 2011 at 6:56 pm

    I was born on 17nJuly 1942 at Lot 18 Hogg Street Albouystown, and attended Carmel Roman Catholic School.

    I can testify to the open discrimination that prevented my attending Saint Stanislaus College or any of the other “prestigious” institutions. Poverty did not prevent my studying privately for GCE O and A level exams.

    I eventually achieved being one of the early Mathematics graduants from University of Guyana.

    After extended service in the Guyana Public Service, I took up teaching as a vocation…..had a burning desire to work with young minds and assist in development.

    I am teaching Advanced Mathematics at Sixth Form at Saint Stanislaus College and Queen’s College.

    I am a Panel Member for the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations Pure Mathematics, Panel Member for the Caribbean General Proficiency Examinations Additional Mathematics, and Assistant Chief Examiner CAPE Pure Mathematics.

    Bottom line to all of this is that we can achieve despite the seeming barriers imposed on us.

    Rudolph Mahadeo

  • Ron Persaud  On January 16, 2011 at 2:51 am

    “I can testify to the open discrimination that prevented my attending Saint Stanislaus College or any of the other “prestigious” institutions”.
    I will certainly agree that one had to be ‘male’ and ‘Catholic’ to attend Saint Stanislaus College; but I can attest that it was not the same with ‘any of the other “prestigious” institutions. ‘Catholic’ (or any religion or no religion) was not a criterion for admission to “Queen’s College”. I myself could have attended Indian Education Trust College or the B.G Education Trust, both co-educational schools at that time.
    Or are these not “prestigious” (enough) institutions?
    There has been discrimination of every kind in the history of Guyana. There is no need to imply more than what existed.
    Ron.

  • DOLLY  On March 30, 2011 at 4:53 am

    HI..I ALSO USED 2 LIVE IN LOT 6 JAMES ST. ALBOUYSTOWN, OUR RANGE NEIGHBOUR BIG FOOD BETTY USED 2 SELL BY BATA SHOE STORE AT THE END OF THE STREET…MY MOM ALSO USED TO HAVE A PROVISION STAND BY TWINS DRUG STORE, SHE IS CALLED FLORIE AND MY DAD WAS RAM..SO NICE 2 HEAR FROM SOMEONE SO CLOSE 2 HOME, ALMOST MADE ME CRY WITH GOOD MEMORIES..GLAD TO HEAR FROM U AGAIN..PLS REPLY..DOLLY
    DOLLYDHANRAJ@HOTMAIL.COM

  • terence martindale  On March 30, 2011 at 6:25 am

    It is a great pity that we work our way out of slums and never think of cleaning them up.
    How we direct our energies to distant goals and neglect our very homes.
    How we crave recognition and residence in foreign shores and end up burdened with a native land distant and poor.
    How we don’t do politics and end up ignorant of the dynamics
    and the tricks
    Bless.

  • Simone Mackintosh  On May 9, 2011 at 2:50 am

    Thank you for sharing your memories of Alboystown. I am the grand daughter of Lewis and Clarice Gonsalves who owned the cake shop at Curtis and James Street, Alboystown (my mom said they use to make the best Buns and Mauby). Upon reading your article I called her and read it out to her, she was happily relating to the story as I went along.

    Thank you
    Simone.

  • Henry Muttoo  On May 11, 2011 at 6:55 pm

    Hi Simone. I am only now seeing your post. Your being Aunt Clara’s grand daughter would obviously make us relatives. Who is your mom and dad? My Mom was your Grandmother’s sister. her name was Cecelia. Your Grandmother’s mother’s name was Louisa Pedro. She was popularly and lovingly called “Poodoo.” She passed away in October 1960. It would be nice to hear from you.

    Henry

    • Gloria Simpson  On May 27, 2011 at 12:38 pm

      Dear Mr Muttoo

      I was reading your comments about Albouystown and find them interesting. I have never lived in Albouystown but am presently conducting research on some of Georgetown’s wards, one of which is Albouystown. Peter Hadler mentions a Horse Stable and Club House at the northern end of Curtis Street. Would you know anything more about it?

      Gloria

      • Henry Muttoo  On September 9, 2012 at 3:36 am

        Dear Gloria,

        I don’t get time to go on Guyanese online very often but an alert came in and I saw your comment. My reply may be too late but here it is. Remember, that Peter is a few years before my time so that, by the time I was a ‘lil boy’ he would have been a big man. My time in Albouystown from about 1954 when I became cognizant of things and 1973/74, when I moved to South Ruimveldt Gardens. There were two sets of stables on Curtis Street. The horse stables were at what I call the Sussex street end of the street – obliquely opposite the soap factory that made ‘Clipper soap’. There was a wonam who lived at the very end of the street – her name was Mis Corbin. She had a huge ‘stinking-toe tree in hey yard. It overhung Sussex street trench and the fruit would fall in the water and float. That was the only way one could get them.
        The horse stables also roomed donkeys. I did lots of odd-jobs as a youth and those included working at the soap factory stamping the cakes of soap and packing them in cardboard boxes, for carting to the various groceries. At the same time I assisted two indian brothers – Baron and Kishore as a helper on their donkey cart. They worked mainly at H.B Gagraj and Sproston’s wharf, collecting groceries for different stores. I took care of the donkeys some of the donkeys as well as horses. There was a lot of competition among the young boys around Curtis, Non Pariel and Garnet Streets for the jobs of cleaning the stables. Many of us would line up from as early as 5:50 AM to be the first to be called. For cleaning a Horse stable, we got 8 cents. A donkey stable paid 5 cents. If you could get two stables to clean it was great because that was one ‘theatre’ bill at Rio cinema (8 cents at the time) and a tennis roll and a small lemonade or mauby. The problem was that, most of the owners never cleaned the stables every day so, when they paid you five cents you were actually having to clean a stable that had three days of horse pee and dung soaked grass that was trampled into a thick carpet… One actually had to roll it up like a large carped and lift it, still dripping, to the dump at the gate. On the opposite end of James Street – the Punt-trench end there was a yard – I only remember the matriarch as “Moon”. She was indian. They had a sort of logie-type building at the back of the yard. It had the sweetest guinip tree behind it – overhanging “October yard”. My brother took care of a huge donkey that was housed in one of the stables. He was actually called “Big Donkey” and he was quite fierce. I used to help to walk and curry-comb him for a ‘frec’ – as people called a very small amount of money. Hopefully, this may trigger the memory of other Curtis street people and they will pick up the thread. All the best. Henry.

  • Sandra Persaud  On June 14, 2011 at 12:05 am

    Mr Halder I find your nostalgic reminiscences heart warming. I lived in Albouystown for 6 years at 21 Hill street, closer to the punt trench dam. My mom family was a Gonsalves from the same area, her father’s name was John Bull Gonsalves and my dad’s family is the Persaud from Hill street, both of my grandparents and parents resided in the same area in the 1920/30/40’s. My dad was a tailor Harrydat Bywah Persaud.

  • Ron. Persaud  On September 9, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    Shereen Lootfun-Alibux On September 8, 2012 at 11:15 pm.

    I certainly remember Hazrat and Nazeer. We were about the same age. Your grandfather did radio repairs and your uncles and myself tinkered with components in so far as it reinforced my physics classes in Secondary school.
    So sorry to hear of the passing of your aunt Zabeeda.
    I am pleasantly surprised to hear from someone in the Netherlands.
    It was fortunate for Guyana that the Dutch were the first European settlers. They introduced the “Polder” system of drainage and irrigation. The concept endures to this day.

    http://countrystudies.us/guyana/5.htm

    Ron.

    • Shereen Lootfun-Alibux  On September 9, 2012 at 3:08 pm

      Thank you very much for replying so quickly. My uncle Nazeer lives in Florida USA now. He came to visit us here in Holland just about 3 months ago. I will tell my uncle about you when I speak to him, he will be very happy to hear this. I also told him about mr. Peter Halder and his story about living in Guyana. It brought back many memories to my uncle and my mom (Fareeda). Ok bye for now. Shereen.

  • Suresh Naraine  On September 10, 2012 at 9:49 pm

    Did not work. is that 1+316?

  • Suresh Naraine  On September 10, 2012 at 9:55 pm

    send me an email. narainebudbeer@yahoo.com

  • Cyril Balkaran  On September 11, 2012 at 5:39 am

    Since so many of our countrymen have also migrated from the good old Albouystown, I also do have good memories of St James Street, where I used to visit some of my close pals at 33, St James Street. You may remember the name Mr. Salikram Maraj and auntie Finie who lived here with their children. They had a grocery and parlour here. I went to high school with Benny Ram and his brother. you may also remember the tragic lost of Mannie Ram another brother who went to an excursion at the kaiteur and orinduik falls and drowned with two others, His brother in law was a Pundit. I have lost contact with this family and Benny Ram. I learnt much later that they migrated to the UK. If anyone has any info on them please email me at Cyril_balkaran@yahoo.com. Let keep up the communication, its great to remember our good old days in Guyana.Thanks folks!

  • Terry Beharry.  On December 7, 2013 at 1:32 pm

    I was also born in Albouystown, Lot D Hogg ST in Titanic Yard but I grew up on Broad St Charlestown and I do remember the radio repair shop.. Chandra the shop was on Punt Trench Dam next door to Razak. My Grand Mother Name was Wahidan Bacchus, I do remember those days clearly but I did leave BG when I was a very young person, right out of High School… Thanks for your thoughts and memory, I did enjoyed your article and memory of albouystown… Great. Thanks.

  • Fazela HANIFF  On July 27, 2014 at 1:26 pm

    It is now 2014 and only saw your story recently. My dad was born in Albouystown and later owned Rio Cinema. I was only about 3/4 years when my parents owned Rio so my memory is very limited. Thanks for sharing your story with the world.

    All the best, Fazela (Fazela HANIFF), Toronto, Canada

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