“Read this Non-Story; You’ll be Glad You Did” – by Francis Quamina Farrier
There are those times when some Media reports are referred to as a “non-story”. The implication being that it does now have what it takes to ‘hold’ the reader or the viewer. That it is insipid. Maybe this is one such story. It unfolded in Queenstown, Georgetown, on Sunday November 6, 2016. At that time, Guyana, and all the rest of the World was focused on the final days of the Presidential Elections in the United States of America, as the pellets of ‘dirt’ from the opposing camps of Democrats and Republicans, were zipping here, there and everywhere, across that great country, like shooting stars or bullets from an A-K47!
Meanwhile, here in Guyana, I responded to an invited to attend a Harvest Thanksgiving Service at the tiny Salvation Army church at 245 Forshaw Street, in Queenstown, Georgetown. There was no VIP in attendance – no Minister of Government or other celebrity. There was certainly no member of the media – well, except myself. But what I discovered made me feel hopeful that my “Dear Land of Guyana”, is certainly not as bad as some make it out to be; especially so many in the Diaspora.
As the Thanksgiving Service commenced, I immediately knew that the high spirits of the congregation was certainly making up for the quality of the singing. There was no proper musical accompaniment, complements of the Guyana Power and Light, which had a ten hour Power Outage, due to major maintenance. So the keyboard and other instruments which needed electricity to function, were temporarily non-functional. There were just two instruments – a drum, played by a young boy, and a tambourine, played by an old lady. But they sufficed.
The singers, each and everyone, did as good a job as they could under the prevailing circumstances. There were all cheered on by the congregation, and the hour-long programme was gone in what seemed like just half an hour. Of note, is that a high percentage of the congregation travelled long distances to attend that Harvest Thanksgiving Celebration Service. A few came from as far as Vergenoegen on the East Bank Essequibo. However, that is not all that I have to report in this ‘non-story’. This is not intended as a bait to keep you reading on. No, this is of great importance. So please read on – you’ll be glad you did.
As you recall, Georgetown, was once regarded as “The Garden City of the Caribbean”, back in the day. However, in more recent decades, it became known as “The Garbage City”. But throughout those years, there had always been those good citizens who kept the Faith and ensured that their surroundings were always kept clean and tidy; all through those garbage years. Next to that Salvation Army church on Forshaw Street, there was an impressive Clean-up of the yard, even as members of the congregation were arriving.
A 41 year old mother (she looks like that ‘just 29’) and her teen-age sons and their friends, were diligently on a clean-up exercise of the property. Brooms, spades, wheel-barrows, were all part of the tools in use. I was told that the Georgetown City Council had nothing to do with that Clean-up; that it was their very own initiative, and something that they do on a regular basis. What was also very evident, was the joy with which these ordinary Folks were doing the right thing; which hardly ever attracts the Media, unless it is being done at the orders or instructions of some Minister of Government.
As the clean-up exercise and the Harvest Thanksgiving Service continued simultaneously, it dawned upon me, that saying; “Cleanliness is next to Godliness.” And here was that saying being played out in reality; a clean-up exercise and a Harvest Thanksgiving Service, both going on at the very same time, next to each other. But that was just a ‘non-story’ as far as the general Media is concerned.
Meanwhile, all across the the United States of America, and the rest of the world, including Guyana, the ‘real’ news stories of the latest utterances by the two Presidential Candidates, were grabbing the Headlines; “BREAKING NEWS.” (To break your heart). But even at that time, no one knew what Joy was breaking in the hearts of the congregation, at the tiny Salvation Army Church, and the Neighbouring Yard, on 245 Forshaw Street, Queenstown, Georgetown, in Guyana, and those next door, engaged in that self-help Clean-Up exercise, at that time. That was simply a ‘non-story’.