Photowalk: Linden

Monday was a holiday on account of – as we call it here in Guyana – Youman Nabi. So, the ambitious photography group planned a trip to Linden for a photowalk. I was very excited to go because 1.) we had to leave super early in the morning in order to catch the sunrise (which didn’t really work out but still – yay for pre-dawn gatherings!) and, ever since childhood, I’ve associated early morning outings with fun activities (minus airport runs) such as camping or long distance holiday excursions (minus airplanes); and 2.) I’ve never been to Linden.

So, we set out in the dark of early morning and not too long after we hit the Linden Soesdyke highway, it began to rain. Of course! This is the rainy season, right? Our car  occupants realized there might not be a sunrise to catch at that point in time. Though the others laughed at the futility of our early rising, I was secretly glad no one had thought of bad weather.

On and on, we drove with only the road in front of our headlights visible. To either side of us was darkness. And, the relentless rain. The downhill dips in the road were the best.

As the sky got lighter, the feeling that we were traveling between two high reaching mountains receded as one could make out the tops of the trees and bush on either side of the highway. Still, the clouds were not budging.

By six, a crack of sunlight was visible in the sky. And finally, we reached the fork in the road – forward was dubbed “wrong turn” and so we went right.

Linden! About 107 km inland from Georgetown. Second largest town in Guyana. Named after our first president. Bauxite mining town.

Not very lively at 6 something in the morning but the chug of smoke from a factory tower in the distance was going steadily. I suppose it never turns off.

We passed through the little village of Watooka and over the unused railroad tracks. Eventually we would end up at an old quarry where the water was blue – an unfamiliar sight in Guyana where our creeks and rivers are brown or red. Toxic water, I was told later (after I had washed my hands in it).

We pottered around here and there around quarries and man-made sand dunes. Barring the occasional jumbo truck, our 20 odd crowd were the only humans around. Given the strange landscape (blue waters, red roads, snow white mountains of sand), it was a somewhat surreal experience.

All in all, an awesome trip.

Check out the pictures from the pros!




7 thoughts on “Photowalk: Linden

  1. Scarred landscapes resulting from excavation of the bauxite ore. I’m very familiar with these, having lived in the area for many years before leaving Guyana. These man-made lakes dot the landscape even further inland than you have travelled. We bathed in those “toxic waters”, pick- nicked in the areas surrounding them lived and breathed the alumina and bauxite dust very often, Returning home at night from evening activities was hazardous sometimes, as the dust was so thick, it was hard to see your way ahead. Thank heavens we were walking most of the time. We’ve survived. No one talks about it. The majority of the inhabitants of Mackenzie, now known as Linden, lived in the areas between the two mammoth plants. The managers lived in Watooka, far from the out pouring of the dust One reason my lungs are scarred. But this was home. While living there, no one knew of the possible damage to our health. I discovered it only two years ago and while talking to some other people who lived there so many years ago, I realised that our lungs resemble for having lived in the area. However, people have lived well into their eighties. No attempt was ever made to close those open craters, to restore the land. Ecologists today would be horrified to hear under what conditions we lived and thought it was normal. It was a thriving area, which attracted people from all over the country. Still my memories of living there are mostly good ones. One needs to mention the sister cities, Wismar and Christianburg on the other bank.
    Krysta, It was good to have gone to Linden, better still it would be to spend some time exploring.
    Thanks for posting this and the jolt to my memory that it provided.

    1. Wow Maureen! Thanks for sharing all of that with us. My only regret was that we didn’t interact with folks there (mostly because there weren’t any). Would’ve liked to get a background story on Linden. But it was a photowalk. Next time, I’ll try to do more exploring 🙂 Fantastic recollection!

  2. Spend some time there, cross the river, I don’t know if it’s still done by boats, because I know that a bridge exists. Go up the hills, the sand up there is white, beautiful. I can see it all in my mind’s eye as if it were just yesterday. The last time I visited was in 1976. I was a young teacher in the primary schools of yesteryear. Guyana is beautiful. I’m feeling a bit nostalgic at the moment. Cheers.

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