The 'Snake People' of Bartica - Patriciafaye Marshall, GUY 1
Patriciafaye MarshallGroup: GUY 1 Location: Lethem and Bartica Type of Volunteer: EducationWhere did you live in Guyana? Can you describe your experience?We lived in Lethem and Bartica. There were 3 married couples in our GUY 1 group, including Bill and myself. They wanted to send one couple to the most remote part of Guyana to Lethem and they sent us. After a year, the Ministry of Education moved us to Bartica. We would have loved to have stayed in Lethem we loved it there.
Lethem was the most removed kind of culture from anything I had ever been exposed to before. I was born and raised in a small farming community in Mississippi. In Lethem we lived in a Macushi Indian village. The women in Lethem would go to wash clothes at the river topless and I would go in my two piece bathing suit. They would laugh at me until one day I went down the river in just my bottoms. They loved that!
The women taught me how to make cassava bread, how to use herbs for healing, make salves. Our house had ants and the ant hills were growing bigger all the time. We got ant bears (eaters). Otto the Orkin man a pygmy ant eater, and a large spiny one. They were our first pets. We had Ms. Pig, a wild peccary. She was our favorite pet. We had a capybara that I could ride on. We had a bunch of monkeys I made diapers for one orphaned baby monkey. He would eat these leaves and would have terrible diarrhea. When his diaper was dirty he would come to me to have his diaper changed. He was like a little baby!
In Bartica, we lived in a guest house and brought the orphaned baby monkey with us. We put him a leash when we went to school and one day, he got wrapped up in a pipe and hung himself. That was it for me, I almost went home. We had a fox, a gray fox. We had a baby ocelot. We had snakes.