My Island Leguan Blog

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Leguan my beautiful Island March 5, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Leguanite @ 7:34 pm
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Leguan Island will always be the place I call home. It is a beautiful little island in the vast Essequibo River in Guyana South America. The Essequibo River, by the way, is the longest river in Guyana and houses no less than 365 islands. The largest among them includes Leguan.
Here lives a mixture of people mostly of East Indian and African ancestries plus a large percentage of dougla people – those are people of East Indian and African ancestries and one or two Amerindians, Chinese and Portuguese as well.
The main religions practiced on this island are Hinduism, Christianity and Islam. In recent years many Hindus have turned to the Evangelical faith and moving away from the religion of their parents.
The people on this island live in harmony and peace. Even when Guyana had its bout of civil war in the 60’s, Leguan was untouched. People went about their business as if nothing was happening. The only disruption to life was the shortages as a result of the strike but other than that it was life as usual.
People on this island work hard and they understand the tactics of politics. It’s only the politicians who win they know they have to continue to work hard to provide for their families. I liked that about Leguan people.
Most people work the land for a living – either planting rice or ground provision. In Leguan there is a fair bit of cattle raising as well. Everything is organic on this island. In fact no one knows any other way to plant a farm. That was in the old days say 20 years ago. I am not sure if farmers have picked up the bad habit of using fertilizer of late.
The population of Leguan is on a declining trend. It is around 4,000. In its hey-day there used to be more than 6,000 people. Young people leave the island in search of better jobs. Many do not want to continue farming and since education is a premium among islanders, it makes no sense for the educated children of the farmers to hang around with nothing to do.
The few brainy jobs available are teaching, working at the post office, police officer or the Commission’s Office. There is a cottage hospital where a doctor can find work as well as nurses and orderlies.

There are about 27 villages with names that are Dutch, French, Spanish and English in origin pointing to the Island’s historical occupation by colonials from these various countries. There are names like Thierens, Louisiana, Phoenix, Endeavour, Labagatelle, Success, and Enterprise etc.
The mode of transportation is as old as the hills, donkey cart, horse-drawn trailer, bicycles and a bus and a few taxi cars. Many people do not want to drive on the road because it is in such bad condition it just wrecks the cars. You can swim in some of the potholes on the street.
To get to the mainland many people have abandoned the steamer and opt for speed boats which take a fraction of the time the steamer takes to cross the river. The steamer is basically used for transporting freight. Those who are timid opt for the safety of the steamer. This has created valuable jobs for some people on the island who can afford to buy a ferry boat. The boat takes you from the shores of Leguan to the shores of Parika where you are greeted by a huge market of ground provision, food stands and haberdasheries, clothing etc. This is a popular destination for shopping by the Leguanites. When Leguanites depended on the government ferry (the steamer), they did not have the flexibility to pop over for a few hours and then just hop on a speedboat and be back home in less than half hour. In the old days the ferry came in the morning and departed in the evening so there was not much flexibility.
Leguan has moved into the 21st century however with the coming of electricity in 1997 and both land and cellular lines and only two paved roads running along the north and south coasts. This is unfair to those who live in Phoenix because the potholes are still plentiful everywhere and life is tougher for the people because of it.

The Steamer stelling upon arrival


18 Responses to “Leguan my beautiful Island”

  1. Aptie Sookoo Says:

    I do not think that Leguan has a “Commission’s Office”. I wonder whether it is a typographical error and you meant district commissioner’s office. If my assumption is correct, then that building houses the Neighbourhood Democratic Council office. So then it will be safe to say, that there is limited opportunities for employment by that local government body.

    • Leguanite Says:

      You are correct, I meant District Commissioner’s Office and it’s true Leguan did not have a lot of opportunities for young people, we had to leave the Island to find work in the City meaning Georgetown. Young men who did not want to pursue higher education went in the bush – Bartica, Stampa or to the goldfields

  2. I love leguan,this little island will alwayz be my home………I cant wait to go back to leguan…………

  3. joel Says:

    i love leguan and the people of leguan, the best time in my live when i worked as a doctor there beatiful places and people
    Dr. Joel from cuba

    • Leguanite Says:

      I used to see a Cuban doctor. When I was growing up in Guyana it seems like we had a lot of Cuban doctors. I used to think all Cubans were doctors, silly me lol. You guys were great or are great. Thanks to Fidel who understood the wisdom of education as a right and not the privilege of the rich.

  4. t.rampersaud Says:

    well years have passed and a lot of things have changed since to be honest the roads were rebuilt there are no more horse and donkey carts the speed boat is in place. i think there are a lot of land on the island that could be invested but persons are just afraid to invest because they taught they will loose. well that island is the best in the Essequibo river compare to those i visited well i visited a lot of other islands but leguan is the best

  5. ella Says:

    I couldn’t agree with you more. Leguan is special and the people are even more special. We are all family over there.

  6. Bishai Says:

    My name is Bishai and hails from the village of Endeavour and attended St. David’s Anglican School now renamed Eastern Leguan Government school. Love to hear from schoolmates.

    • Bishai Says:

      One of my friend’s name is Rohee Ramnauth

    • Leguanite Says:

      Thank you Bishai, thanks for your wonderful comments. I love Leguan passionately too – it must be paradise Island. I remember those school races and competitions that we used to go to at Endeavour. I came in third once year in the egg and spoon race, my cousin Ellis Verbeke came in 2nd in high jumping. We used to have so much fun.

    • Naz Says:

      Hi Bishai,
      I’m working on a map of Leguan Island as part of updating maps for Wikipedia – is there anything you can provide to assist please?
      Many thanks,

      • Saven Says:

        Hi, Naz, I have a map of Leguan Island, given to me by my Mamoo, Bhawanlall
        Of Amsterdam Village. I will be glad to share a copy with you.
        Like Mr. Bhawanlall, our family’s ancestral village is Ocean View, Uitvlugt, WCD. Mr. Bhawanlall settled in Leguan in 1955. Three of my brothers arrived directly from Ocean View in 1951. Four of us came to Leguan in 1959 from Ocean View, Uitvlugt, via Fort Island. We settled at La Bagatelle Village.
        All of us attended the Maryville Govt. School. My brother, Chandra Narayan Teeluck, had won a County Scholarship to the elite Queens College, in 1960. The other pupil to have won that scholarship was the equally brilliant pupil ‘Babil’ Shadick of Waterloo Village.
        Those were ‘red letter’ days for that prestigious school.
        I ‘missed by a mile’ QC by six marks, and went on to Zeeburg Secondary; my sister, Heera Devi, and my brother , Rudranath, did NOT miss, and went on to Bishops High and Queens College, respectively. We are so eternally grateful to those dedicated teachers for their guidance in showing us the way forward! To be proud but not arrogant. To be humble in our achievements. And to be able to raise another generation of truly educated citizens.
        A good teacher teaches; a great teacher inspires. Our former primary school teachers of Maryville Government School would be proud to know that collectively, we have twenty college graduates in our family, excluding two trained teachers of Guyanese vintage.
        Leguan Island, Maryville Primary School. That grand island. That memorable school. The dedicated, inspiring teachers. The mostly humble people. The harmony of the races. Eternal Memories …..

  7. Bishai Says:

    I also love Leguan passionately

  8. Jay Singh (Esau and Jacob from Backpart) Says:

    I visit Leguan once a year, love to visit and have a great time there.
    The best and most hospitable people in Guyana.

  9. Tom Says:

    I just read a great book on Kindle Misadventures in the Land of Milk and Honey. It is about two Leguan characters. Magical, funny, warm stories. All my friends from Guyana are lovin’ it.

  10. I grow up in Leguan, I love to reflect on those wonderful days I had as a child,I go back often to visit my mom and sister and other family who still lives there,they told me they will never move,I love my island .

  11. Rohan Says:

    Hi Bishai , if I am not mistaken, you lived at a bridge-turn .Your brother Fred had a horse-drawn cart.One of your teachers was Mr.CB Rodney and headmasters were Garrat and Bryan.You will remember teacher Budhu and James Davidson ,not forgetting Miss Briggs and Miss Jean Hunt. Hope I am right. Later.keep on writing.Love it

  12. maselene ruth wilson (nee agard) Says:

    I lived at Leguan from 1952 to 2958. Those were the best days of my life. My dad was the postmaster at Leguan. Postmaster Oscar Agard. We had to leave the island when he was transferred to Georgetown. I was 11 years old then.

    I attended the St Peters school and also attended the St Peters church. I remember the Dennisons – teachers. Also teacher Murray. Our dear Schoolmaster was Mr Robertson. Those days were sheer joy. He was strict but we received a well rounded education.

    I keep saying to averyone that as far as I am concerned, Leguan in those days was a Paradise. I just cant get the memories from my mind. I hope to be able to visit someday.

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