Last Night In Guyana

Reclining in the Tower hotel, digesting rum and Chinese food, watching CNN and blogging on my phone.

Today we zipped out to Kaieteur Falls near the Brazilian border. It was my second time, but no less fun. Kaieteur really is a natural wonder of the world.

I just realized that Venezuela is going to the polls soon, as Hugo Chavez bids for an end to term limits and gives credence to American charges of dictatorship. I am reminded of a drunken Amerindian we encountered in Kamarang a few days ago. He was ranting about Chavez’s virtues,
particulary of how Chavez is, in his opinion, the champion of the the oppressed against the Americans and the “white people”.

The big news today, however, is a follow-up from yesterday’s farce. The transportation of the two patients, resulting in a car crash, made page 2 of the newspaper this morning. The article reported that “there were no injuries”, completely missing the point that these two Amerindians, flown in from the bush for medical care, have been doubly traumatized in a world they do not understand.

When one of our number, Bekkie, went to see them at the hospital, she found a pathetic, tiny woman with a bruise on her face and a pain in her chest and no one tending to her needs. Her husband with the hip issue had been more-or-less cared for, but she had been admitted with minimal care.

In fact, she had not been fed in a day, and no one had offered her clothes or a towel. It seems the hospital only feeds you if you have your own plate. So Bekkie bought her a new nighty, a cup and plate, and a towel.

These people are impoverished, traumatized and have no one to care for them. In many ways, it would have been better for them to have stayed in the interior and suffered with their illnesses. As the Amerindians say, people come to the city hospital to die.

I am sadly reminded of the snake bite woman who was flown here and who died of the bite. Her final hours must have been horrific, spent alone and terrified in an unfriendly, dirty and alien place. It would have been better to leave her to die in her village, surrounded by love and care.

This place needs advocates for the poor and remote. Soon.