Bartica, Guyana, South America

Bartica Church of Christ meetinghouseLast night for Bonnie and me ended at about 1 a.m. this morning, and our new day began 4:30 a.m. Who out there thinks that missionaries generally are just taking exotic vacations at the expense of the Lord’s church? We’re going to have to return to the so-called normal grind of everyday life—just so we can get some rest!

By about 5:15 a.m. on Friday, February 7, brother Nigel Milo (he got less sleep than us, and he is the driver) and we two weary souls bounded from Linden toward Georgetown. We made our way across the floating bridge straddling the Demerara River; barges anchored sequentially the span of the waterway support metal plates for two way traffic to traverse from bank to bank. Being on the edge of Georgetown, it is always packed with stopped or at best slowly moving vehicles of all kinds. Tolls are collected for one direction only on this pontoon bridge; there is no need to collect a fee going both ways because all returning automobiles and trucks have no choice but to return via the same passage.

wharf at ParikaThen, we drove along the river for about five miles to the river port on that side. There we retrieved two more passengers—brother Joe and his sister-in-law who had arrived by water taxi. From there, we proceeded by minivan for an hour or so to the river port town of Parika, whereupon we boarded a speedboat to go inland about an hour and a half to Bartica. The boats everywhere around the huge dock ferry passengers to various river ports accessible on the Essequibo River, which is as wide as a reservoir and seemingly endless in length. Since only full boats depart, passengers have to wait until other commuters happen by and want to travel to the same destination as you. We waited about two hours! We could have left almost immediately upon arrival, but would have had to take the last four seats (for five of us) on the front seat of the boat; that seating position provides the roughest treatment of any on board, from the bouncing up and down to the hard smashes on the waves.

Bonnie and I have no need to spend good money on American amusement park rides for the pleasure of finding a little excitement and experiencing nausea. Only one passenger had preceded us onto the boat we finally boarded, so we could have the best seats in the house, so to speak, the back bench—unfortunately, also the loudest venue, being positioned closest to the dual, high-powered outboard motors.

Despite leaving Linden early, we nevertheless arrived over 30 minutes late for the seminar program. The local, routine travel does not afford very much control over one’s travel time. Find a boat going your direction, put on a life preserver and wait for the craft to fill. Zip up the river at speeds certain to cool one down, sometimes spraying muddy river water in the faces of boat occupants. After a while, the hard, wooden seats, themselves taking a severe beating from being battered by the crash of the boat on the water, tend to aggravate one’s body, especially the tailbone. Cramped quarters for the feet are more restrictive than typical of commercial airlines. About 30 passengers, hand luggage, cargo, a boat captain and one crewman whiz through waters, dodging pilings, other boats, docks and river brush.

96 dpi 5x7 Bartica CoC2Brother Michael Osborne who preaches for the Bartica Church of Christ and that congregation hosted the seminar today. The program was scheduled from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Because of that, most of the men were absent, being at work. Still, we had an attendance of around 32. Joe, Bonnie and I took our turns teaching; Bonnie taught a ladies’ class sometimes when either Joe or I spoke to just the men. Nigel taught the young children, who to our surprise their mothers kept home from school so they could be present for the occasion. In the three years that we have been conducting these seminars across Guyana, this was the first time that we brought the program to Bartica. Should we return in the future, we may be able to alter the times, if we can schedule all venues within the frame work of four weeks, as well as factor in the variables of river transportation to Bartica and back (the water taxis stop running before dark).

By 9 p.m., we had retraced our steps, and brother Milo and Bonnie and I arrived back in Linden. Bonnie went over her lessons for the ladies’ day on Saturday in which she would speak at the Amelia’s Ward Church of Christ in Linden. We bathed and retired for the evening. Another good day had come to an end!

Explore posts in the same categories: Biblical Lesson, Children's Class, Guyana, Ladies' Class, Lessons by Bonnie, Mission Trip, Overseas, Travel

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