A lot of people have the same reaction when they ask me where I am going and I answer Guyana; a look of vague recognition (Jonestown, anyone?) and then general confusion. I think about 50% think it’s in Africa (Guineau?) and the other 50% just really don’t know where they think it is! Having a bit of an obsession with the country over the past 3 months or so, I have compiled a list of fun facts on Guyana for those interested in learning a little bit about my future home. Consider it the very, VERY concise Cliffs’ Notes on Guyana.
1) First of all, Guyana is in South America.
2) Bordered by Venezuela, Brazil, Suriname, and the Atlantic Ocean.
3) It is an English-speaking country—Creolese to be exact.
4) It is a melting pot of East Indian and African descendants, as well as indigenous Amerindians, Europeans, and Chinese.
5) The culture can be described more accurately as Caribbean than Latin.
6) The population is roughly 750,000. 95% of which inhabits a narrow strip along the coast.
7) Guyana covers 83,000 square miles. About 80% of it is still covered in rainforest.
8) Kaieteur Falls is one of the world’s largest single-drop waterfalls with a sheer 741 foot drop. See it here http://www.documentingreality.com/forum/attachments/f241/411112d1353705808-kaieteur-falls-kaiteur-20-283-29.jpg
9) It is also home to one of the world’s tallest freestanding wooden buildings, St. George’s Cathedral in Georgetown at 143 feet tall. See it here http://www.adventurecompany.co.uk/files/st_georges_cathedral.jpg
10) Holds 225 species of mammals, 300 reptiles and amphibians, more than 810 types of birds, and 6,500 plant species…
11) Guyana is an Amerindian word meaning “Land of Many Waters”
12) The climate in Guyana is equatorial, meaning hot all year round.
13) There are two distinct wet seasons, where the humidity level often rises above 90% (eesh!)
14) On May 26, 1966 British Guiana was granted independence from Britain, and was henceforth known as Guyana.
15) There are ten administrative regions in Guyana.
16) Due to its cultural and religious diversity, Guyana celebrates an insane amount of holidays and loves holding festivals. This makes me happy.
17) The main sport in Guyana is cricket. I will have to brush up on those particular skills…
18) Shell Beach in northwestern Guyana is the nesting ground for 4 of the world’s 8 endangered species of marine turtles. The Leatherback Turtle’s shell can reach 6 feet in length!
19) Many of the villages in the interior are only accessible by boat.
20) I am super excited to get to know this country and its people!