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Trying To Get A Taxi in Buxton After-hours
By Wayne Jones
One night back in the early eighties, my father became ill with the heavy breathing and vomiting. It was about 1.00am and I woke up my younger sister, Carol. We rushed out of the house and down Company Road. The lights in British house was glaring from a distance. As we reached his home Carol screamed, "British, British." Clicks and darkness took over his house. In disgust we turned back as Carol reminded me that British does always help out in emergencies, especially if his car and other worries don't pile up.
Then I suggested that we try Rev-or-Rent. We crossed the bridge and, despite the barking dog, I shouted: "Rev-or-Rent, Rev-or-Rent." After a pause a troubled voice came through the half-opened bedroom window, "He ain't deh home. He might come in later because he does help out dem people who does make furniture up by the road." Where, what or who next. She suggested Uncle Beng-he; so she went up his front step and anxiously called out "Uncle Beng-he, Uncle Beng-he." "He ain't come home yet," a voice answered. "When he gone come in?" Carol asked. "Don't ask me, go and ask dem market people," was the angry reply.
Distraught and confused we wondered who next. Carol suggested Kar-mar. I instantly declined for I was in no mood then to be told about our under-privileged status. We crossed the the Public Road and Carol said, "Look Cal-o-win car by Eleen shop." With great relief we doubled our pace; but as we arrived Carol noticed that Cal-o-win was asleep in one of Eleen's ice bowls. I told her to let de man cool down and further I pointed out that all his tyres were soft. "He gone drive it just soh," she confidently replied. "Girl leh we go," I begged. "But Wayne, have you noticed how Cal-o-win does walk like if something weighing down he right side?" Carol asked. "That goes along with the type and state of the car you buy," I replied with the first piece of laughter for the night, and Carol joined in. What a relief!
As we headed towards Old Road I remembered Sargie, and then I noticed his car in his garage. I asked Carol if Sargie is not in the States on holiday." Yes you right, but I think he came back home," she said. “When?" I asked. "The same day," she said. Lord knows that our only hope now was Black-he. When we arrived by his gate I shouted "Black-he, Black-he, Black-he." Then after a long wait Black-he came out to his verandah, pushed out his cuffs, wiped his eyes and proceeded on a yawn that made visible much of his digestive tract even in the dark. After another big yawn, he steadied himself and made a big declaration," Well this is a recard. This is the first time me ever see you all done kill so early. A recard."
That was enough for us to call it a night but as fate would have, as we arrived home you could hear our father's hearty laughter. He said there was some form of divine intervention and that saved him from another set of the expired charity medications. Carol explained to him the symptoms that prompted us to look for a taxi to take him to the Public Hospital. "I hope it was not the one by Lamaha and Camp," he inquired. And Carol assured him that it would have been the one by Lamaha and Thomas. We all smiled as a younger brother said from his bed: "You must tell Bonny, Ingrid, Kieth, Cheryl and dem to ease up on the exercise books and other stuff and that they should work together to send a good vehicle for emergencies like hospital and conflagrations.
BUXTON SLICE 2
by Owen Ifill
As was customary in Buxton, pan Sataday evenings all dem young man clean up to the highest and come out; fuh lime, check a binni or two, tek a drink or mole up til party time at Tipperary, Studio 35, Mason place or Castello’s. I was no exception, of course. Pan a particula Sataday aftanoon/ evenin, I tink it might a bin in august; dih year I kyaan now recall, but was back in dih day. I come out as usual to buss a lime, but was lil early. I come through the lot an stan up pan de bridge to mek a general survey as ah usually do before movin aff. I use to view a wide arc dat start fram company backdam side straight up company road an end up at line tap.
When I look down backdamside, I see Hog Food comin up company dam wid a basket a Buxton spice pan he head. 3 or 4 lil boys dih followin he, apparently beggin fuh mango. He was ignorin dem. I lef dat scene and start crass the path ah mih visual arc and stap suddenly. When I get to by dem Seaforth (Bumberus), I see Bull Rat runnin full tilt down company road like if marabunta meck ness in he buckta an he disturb dem when he put it aan. When I look behine I see Cats (brigand) wid a 22 cutlass and Zoo Cat wid a palin stave givin hat chase. I see Bull Rat bank low fuh crass the bridge by Pig shit cookup and miss the target. He shoulda fall een company trench, but a strange ting happen. He actually walk pan waata like christ, or more accurately put, he run pan waata. Bull rat dih travellin wid such pace, he foot dem jus skim the waata tap like gecko lizard an he was acrass company, bus through by Pigshit Cookup dem lot an was gaan.
Now Hog food was so dumbfounded dat he basket fall aff he head and all he buxton spice fall pan de dam. An dem lil boy had a field day.
Deh grabble what deh could an bus through the lot afta bull rat. Hog food guh ovah fuh complain to cowshit police who dih standing pan company road observin dih whole thing. Cowshit police suck he teeth and continue bout he business. Cats an Zoo cat turn back an head back to line. Baaka and Daaghuur dih standin pan market bridge and a couple a dem market lady come out fuh see wha goin aan. A sart ah loose group farm, and as yu know, dih serious name talkin start. Baaka hawk and spit a green cole pan market bridge as if fuh seh, that’s it!. An everybaddy went back bout deh bizniss.
I turn an cast mih vishan to line tap to finish the arc and I see a big side pan the line by mikey shap and some ah dem big maan holdin court pan dih log. Dih side by Mikey shap was a backdamside crew. It dih include people like Fish, Sucka(dowe), Pagasse, Fiend, Snake a hole, Jumbie, Bruck up an Tosh, among addas. Pan dih log I see Sugar stick, Poon, Saalpipe, Bowla, Badding, Cartwright Hamer and Coolie Brown. John p dih presidin ovah dih proceedings an fram wheh I stan up, I could see he was in he full rick a ticks. Matchless, Black an shine an Capital K dih walking pan dih line tap headin towards friendship an Double ugly dih comin fram friendship side.
When I complete dih sweep, I step aff. I dih feelin a lil peckish suh I stap at Dottie shap and wuck a salara an wash it down wid a stray boy tanic. I had a couple a lil friends by roadside who does always ambush mih, suh I also buy a pocketful a Jagan balls fuh dem. I walk up company dam to the line and I could hear Millie Jackson “loving arms” playin fram grant punch bax. At dih time, dat song, backstabbers” by dih O jays an “Found a man in my bed” by Roy C was dih 3 top tunes in dat box. I stap briefly by dih log fuh hear John P puffarm, while lookin round. I didn’t see any ah dem bannas fram mih crew, suh I decide fuh tek a walk up road alone. Mih crew was a 6 man crew; me(Situ), Tall Daag(Black Wayne), Gandum, Coptic, Thompson and Tiga shit.
I start walkin up company road. I see Mush cutting somebaddy hair and gaffin wid Fuss cut at the same time. Suck man Quatas dih eatin a pepper pot or something fram a calabash in at fuss cut. I guess yu all know by now dat Quatas had he own utensils at Fuss cut. I use to always wanda about dat. When ah pass“Old Trafford” (Clevie rum shap) deh had a test match goin aan. It dih loud an raucous. Dih usual suspecks dih all deh bout. Dih spin twins (Rummel an Rumsfeld), Tozack, Bildad, Red hat, Shit coge, Tocile, Licka puppy, Blood fish, Taras Bulba, Borracho and Taam pearson. I had no doubt dat dem man dih battin fram marnin. When dat side siddown fuh bat, deh gashin through. No lunch or tea time. An dem man does gash anything, be it baboon skin, Harry Wills, IPR or pack pack. Any ball bowl dem man gash. Googly, Chinaman, or bouncer, is gash. Off break, leg break deh still gashin. Is bare gash. Dem man nah had kinna.
It remine mih of a story I hear fram mih granmudda years ago about Kappa paisa. Kappa paisa actually get he name fram dis incident dat happen back in mih granmudda time. Kappa paisa was actually fram dem Dooksie tribe. He was a pork Nacka an waan time he meck a big strike. He teck hire kyaar fram town and when he arrive at found out he pay some lil bhai(boy) fuh call Baajie dih bell man. When Baajie come he pay Baajie fuh announce roun dih village dat he in town. Once dih news get out all dih big bats start come out ah dih woodwork an assemble at old Trafford. Kappa paisa arrive an tell Clevie fuh give each man a large. An dih war start. Fuh bout a month straight dih side opening clevie in dih marnin an closing he down at night. Early a clack dem licka daag deh out by Clevie ah dribble. An whenevva Clevie bring change, Kappa Paisa ah seh; “Clevie doan embarrass mih rass, wha me go do wid all dis Kappa Paisa?”. an he would teck dih handful ah change an throw it in dih trench by Clevie. Well, afta dat month, tings start run low, till it stap. Waan early marnin waan ah dem lady who does sell ah town was goin out to ketch transpee to guh to town when she see something raise up out dih waata in dih trench by Clevie. Dih woman drap she basket an teck aff down dih road. She run een by market an call Cano. He an two adda man grab pitchfark, cutlish an a torchlight an guh to dih scene believin was a alligitta. When dem shine dih light, fuss dem only see some bubble, den guess wha? Ah Kappa paisa surface. When he see dem, he seh; “A wha? Ah nah me paisa?
I pass Chandaban headin up to road, an by Barnwell street I see Human san truck carryin a house. I ain’t mean literally a house, but he had everything fuh furnish a house. Yu just had to move een. He had a bed spring an mattress pan he head, wid a chest a drawers, a table, 4 chair and a settee pan top ah it. He had a fridge and a stove anda he arms, a bag a rice pan waan shoulda and a bag a sugar pan dih adda. He had a piece a rope round he neck like a sart a necklace and to dih two ends he had attach, pots, pans, a cannary an a posey. Natural penis dih passin at the same time. He casual walkin pace as yu know was a dead run fuh anybaddy else. He slow down enough to seh, “Hey Daddy Jones, yuh missin dih latrin”.
San truck let aff a epistle a cuss and end by sehin dat what he was missin was a cutlass fuh dig some chap in natural penis. Natural penis just drap a gear in stride an mystic.
It was waan a dem cool evenings. A breeze dih blowin crass the village and yu could smell dih sataday village smells. Deh gat a sart ah vortex by dem ford area in which yu could still get dih black pudding smell fram Miss Eva but den it start to intamingle wid dih fresh bake bread smell fram Newton baker shap. Was a unique smell, an it hit yu full blass when you gat to dat area. Was a smell dat tell yu dih village was alive an it give yu a excited feelin. Yu pulse quicken an you step get light an yu feel like it great to be alive. I pass anadda side mole up by ogle street. I see Kang, Durant, Shartimo, Shadda, Baad Coolie, Rengae, Goatah and Thick Eyelash in a huddle in deep concentration. Whatevva deh dih plannin, dis much mih know. Was nat a Sunday school trip. I hail dem man and keep movin. I meck a mental note fuh lissen out fuh dih report nex marnin.
I pass garment factory and ah see Movin Godie coming through. Now, dem gat a controversy about wedda it was Michael Jackson or whoever else invent dih moonwalk. I can state dis categorically; it was Movin Godie dat invent dih moon walk. When he comin toward you he does do dih forward slide and slip he sons to dih back. When yu pass he does do dih back slide and move dem to the front. Dih operation is deft, precise an fluid. It look like magic. Now yu see me, now yu don’t. If we had video camera in dem time Movin Godie might ah bin a millionaire. Dih rest ah dih way to road bridge dih pretty uneventful. I pass Lightnin (Tantaradin), Turn Foot Allan (Which way yu goin billy?) an Poogray gaafin pan dih road in front ah Bunzie dem lot, an Suru an Duru pass mih lil afta. He always in front an she behine.
When I reach road bridge, I literally see a zoo. I see Lian, Tigah, Wolf, Cheetah, Magga Daag, Mountain Lian, Bullpig, Panta, Cancer Cow, Tusty Bull, Goat meh, Kaduri goat belly, Septic Yowarie, Pig Reuben, Paapa daag, Monkey, Banana goat an Marudi monkey sittin een pan road bridge. An Toyee was the gamekeepa. He had all dih animals in stitches; so much so dat cheetah ovabalance and fall een company. He couldn’t swim suh Wolf and Lian pull he out, but nat before he drink half a company trench waata. Cheetah may be dih only true Buxtonian because to dis day dem seh dat when he pee it still look like company waata. Toyee was the greatest shit talk artist in the village, but he had stiff campetition fram people like Pudding, John p, Punakee an Kabba. But he had dih crown, hands down.
Nancy an Cow Fly dih standin aff to dih side arguin bout something, an Bata Crappoe bin pan Mappow bridge observin wid keen intress.
Dankey sun shades dih talkin wid Waveney Cow crass dih road an Bumble as usual dih jus buzzin roun.
A huge front side crew pass headin toward middle walk. Dih crew had Walk About, World War, Toyoy, Popports, Lang Boom, Pickey, Solo, Kabalic, Jagan, Leap Year, Bumba and Tipperary Nose Hole. I falla dem, and when I raise mih head I see a big crowd at middle walk head.
When I get to middle walk I realize dat deh had a party at Tipperary dat night. Little Jones dih warming up and the reason fuh dih big crowd was dih fact dat deh had a big bwusin out goin aan between Fancy Lady an Dutty Reds. An Tear Aff was in dih middle ah dih proceedings doin fiah fiah bun mih haan. Deh both dih ignorin he suh Tear Aff tear aff he shut an tie it round he wase and he had a bandanna roun he forrid, an while all dih bwusin out goin aan he start wukkin up an juckin up to dih music; he dih drench in sweat an he breasts, he jowls an tyres dih bouncing wid dih riddim. Fancy lady dih scorin heavy points an dih crowd was in a frenzy, an Dutty Reds knowin she lass dis one, cut out. Dat is when fancy lady join tear aff an dih big winin competition start. Dat is when I lef.
I continue down middle walk in leisurely fashion til I get to covetous. Ovah deh it look like somebaddy was playin either head or mind games wid me. Deh had a side at Covetous dat was literally way a head. Deh had World Head, Bake Head, Wood Head, Bone Head, Hard Head, Sweet Head an Ole Head; and Mud Brains was pullin up jus as I dih passin. I pass by Studio 35 an peep een but deh had nutten goin on. I pass couple rasta by calabash alley and ah see Leg Hair, Bowels, Baaney and couple adda man playin dice in front by well yard. I know Wallababy couldn’t be home. If wallababy was around it woulda be worries in dih dance. Dem boy dih frighten wallababy moh dan dih police. Wallababy didn’t like young boy dih way daag nah like lil boy.
When I pass by Bell I hear dih steel band practisin up deh an I pass Brick standin anda dih street light by Barnwell street troubling dem young gaal when dem pass. I hear deh had a ugly man campetition back in dih day an Brick an Mickey Shanganashi meck dih final cut, but a winna was nevva declared. Dem seh was a tie.
Deh had classes goin aan in County when I pass deh. I see Kway an Nkofi teachin classes downstairs an deh had couple people upstairs.
When I pass Yankee(Sherman) deh had Puss mouth, Cut mouth an Two mouth dancing to mista magic fram dih punch bax. Putch Blair(hag head) dih walkin up an down an cussin an goin on in front ah Baby Jarvis an you had Lancuchan, Sterry, Slippa tree, Scenes an Cocky Jamoon laughin an howlin inside Baby Jarvis. I turn battam station briefly teckin een dem Kitchen Attach house an store. Mih mudda dih tell mih a story about dih people who use to live deh back when she was a chile. Was some putagee people name Kaitan, a man an he wife an deh had dih store downstairs jus like it still deh today. Dat was before even dem Decosta had dih store an before Sago had he famous maiden motobike journey roun dih village. Anyway a night teef go in dih store and dem bin upstairs sleepin. Mary, dih wife wake up an she start shake Kaitan. “Kaitan, Kaitan teef in dih house!, and kaitan snoring grrrrrrrr! Grrrrrrrr!. But Kaitan dih only pretendin to be asleep. When he hear dih backdoor slam, Kaitan jump up.
“Maly, wha happen?”
“I bin tryin to wake yu up. Teef bin in dih house”.
Wheh he deh? Ah go deal wid he rass“.
Kaitan pour out a large enamel cup a waata fram he goblet an he tess it wid he finga. Cold an nice. He stan up by dih kitchen window knowin dat dih teef gat to pass anda deh to get away. When he hear dih teef passin he lean out an throw dih cup a waata in he mole. He seh, “Ketch cole an dead”.
When ah get to battam station ah nearly jump out mih skin. Mih see three shart, black figgas movin slow in dih darkness. An deh walkin in a line. Mih stap an mih a peep fram behine waan ah dem post anda battam station. As dem get mo close ah was about to buss a Usain Bolt sprint when dih faint light fram Twillie dem casa reveal dih mystery. Was Backoo, Biskit an Warra Warra teckin a stroll togedda. Whoa! Dem peeple nah suppose to walk ah nite.
Dem boy dih lashin domino by Twilly casa. I hear Bakkas, Hat swank, Twilly an George voice. Babbins at war. I pass by Urla an den clime up pan dih line tap by dem Early. Yu know dem Early sistas dat dih live pan dih line tap right by Lackan before he dih get bun out. Ah see dih two ah dem standin by dih gate lookin out.
When I get back to dih log, mih crew was aan dih ship. Dem banna han mih a buxton spice. Mih seh “nah, ah jus had a Buxton slice”.
Buxton slice? Whad-da?
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