antabanta posted:

Thanks. Looks like it's Coag. I just found this https://www.stabroeknews.com/2...-scene/09/15/203860/

 

Anta, COMPLAN was another drink served in maternity wards at New Amsterdam/GT hospitals in the 1960s.

I have known de spelling  as COAG. It became eggnog overseas.

Vish, now me know wha de white stuff was in Coag, da got kids high.

Its no wonder Cain is so skinny.  Whereas, we had our own cow fa milk and chicken fa fresh eggs. But it was rass pulling de cow udder with a straight aim into de bucket, an not to de face.

Cain, you eva drink warm milk straight from de cow and not hitting you eye ?

Another question. A while ago I realized the word "lease" in lease water is spelled differently but I forgot what it is. Does anyone know the correct spelling (and maybe pronunciation) for the nasty black water in canals next to cane fields?

antabanta posted:

Another question. A while ago I realized the word "lease" in lease water is spelled differently but I forgot what it is. Does anyone know the correct spelling (and maybe pronunciation) for the nasty black water in canals next to cane fields?

In 1945,  the Sugar Workers Welfare Fund retained an Italian doctor who was also instrumental in dealing with malaria in Guyana, to do a report regarding the living conditions of Indian Indenture  Labourers on the sugar estates. This report resulted in the logies being dismantled and new housing schemes being built at all the sugar estates, with better sanitation facilities.

I was sent a copy of this report by a student at the University of Guelph.  It has photographs of many sugar estates in 1945, including an aerial photo of Albion estate, where I lived. 

I made a poster size picture of this photograph and caption the different places, including the LEASE water trench.

Like you Anta, I was not sure whether it was called LEASE water trench, so I contacted an Albion historian friend  older than me. She explained that since the waste water for the factory was less than good water, it was called LEAST water, 'less than good  water'.

At Albion, we would often play on the LEAST water trench near the factory  that was spongy, but if we stand long enough at spot we would  sink. Later years, the least water was placed in regular drainage trenches, that became black and the fishes would surface and die.

I don't understand your entire question. ' Spelled differently, but I forgot what it is'.  

antabanta posted:

Another question. A while ago I realized the word "lease" in lease water is spelled differently but I forgot what it is. Does anyone know the correct spelling (and maybe pronunciation) for the nasty black water in canals next to cane fields?

My Dad said it's called Lease Water. I'm guessing that it's water that has no RELEASE, stagnant water. The canals don't lead to the ocean, so the water is stagnant, dirty and stinky. Like the canals in Venice, I rode in the Gondolas but squeezed my nose.

Wha rass Cain know bout LEASE wata, he ah one GT bhai who only seems to know whea  me Danish fren Inga put she finga ah Strand.

Anta, who knows who might have the right name. Names were butchered so much in Guyana, that its hard to know which one  is right. 

But what  Leonora described makes sense, because the LEASE water trench I knew at Albion  was stagnant water. It was a storage  trench, with  no exit to other trenches. But later the lease water was release into other trenches, that blacken the water and killed the fishes. The fishes would surface and seems to suffocate. 

Release black water in drainage trenches to the ocean, was not only bad for fishes, but also not good  for  animals and crops.  

Regarding butchered names. I was in GY and trying to find a guy name Harold, no one knew him, until I describe de man without any head hair and everyone know Balhead rum shop. Same with cane field, after its flooded for  a while and drained.  We called it BANDIN and I later discovered it was ABANDON. Then  someone gave me an English word meaning the same thing.  

Continuous searching yielded this:

What are spent lees?

Spent lees are the residue in the Spirit Still after the distillation of the foreshots, potable spirits. and feints. They are usually treated and run to waste.

I discovered the correct term a few years ago but had forgotten it. The description of spent lees fits what we call lease water in Guyana. Thank you all for your input.

Look, doan get me all puff up an I get mad yeh....even yo badman buddy yugiski wont able help. You start ask a question bout hegg nog next thing you talkin bout is usin dis here Spent lees for mix with heggnog.  Dah is how Iman see it.

Sample. Feel free to critique.

  "Camoudie! Snake! Camoudie!"
  "Where?"
  "By the canal! A camoudie catch a goat! Y'all come quick before 'e swallow it!"
  Brandishing a cutlass in the general direction, he loped away. Abandoned radios continued to blare Sunday morning calypso and East Indian music as women paused gossipping, men threw bone dominoes on boards and scurried away to retrieve weapons, and children secured marbles in their pockets, remembering positions in the mud and grass better than they would ever remember arithmetic and grammar. Others playing bumper-ball agreed tacitly on score and batting status and fielding positions before merging with the crowd surging behind the running man.
  "Keep them children back! That camoudie catch one of them and they dead."
  Sunday morning, with the majority of residents home and around, ready and waiting to mobilize at the least bit of excitement, was poor timing for the camoudie to strike. One man toted a spear, the head a ten-inch spike nail honed to a needle point and strapped to the shaft with layers of wire, twine, and cloth. Other men carried sharp cutlasses or stout staffs. Women trailing behind struggled to keep children at bay.
  Saira and Sabrina weaved their way to the front of the group as the head of the camoudie whipped out from under the end of a staff, the wielder prancing around jabbing at the camoudie's head. Another man appeared with an eight-foot long pole, a short piece nailed at the top to form the left arm of a 'Y'. He skipped around and jammed the opening of the 'Y' just below the snake's head.
  The first man with the staff ran to the other end and jumped on, trying to keep it still with his body-weight while grinding the end of the staff into the wriggling tail, succeeding only in enraging the reptile. He wobbled, fell off, and jumped on again, jabbing at the tail.
Saira stared at the twenty-foot long anaconda wrapped around the bleating goat, the snake's body thicker than her waist still crushing its victim while fending off attackers.
  The man with the spear plunged it into the tail. The other man abandoned his staff, adding his hands to the shaft of the spear to help pin the beast while others hacked its body with cutlasses. One keenly honed blade slashed the goat's neck, almost severing the head. The wielder of that particular blade, the man who had raised the alarm, paused his efforts to look up at the crowd with a smirk. A few people laughed, conveying their intent to condone whatever division and award of the meat was forthcoming. Long before the camoudie ceased to wriggle, its victim was lifeless. Since the goat's owner wasn't nearby and no one knew who to contact, a few households supped on curried goat that evening.
  The following day, the distressed teenager searching for the missing member of his flock was shooed away with warnings to take better care of his herd and to watch out for alligators and camoudies and to better not go blaming innocent people when his animals disappear.

Chapter 1 Sc 2.

  Saira's right arm wouldn't move. She moaned. The tingling that started in her fingers had crawled up to her wrist. Her arm must be in the camoudie's mouth, the rest of the giant snake twining around her, scaly body flexing and tightening, mouth expanding to fit her head and shoulders as she bleated. She shuddered and tried to roll again. The camoudie's mouth opened wider, its tail tensed, squeezing, pressuring her right hip. The tingling inching up her arm would reach her head soon. She had to get away, get up and run before the cutlasses started hacking. She was not no goat! Sis! Stop them!
  Whimpering, she twisted her head from side to side and fought her eyelids open at the same time Edna shushed and patted her. Saira's arm was wedged under Edna. She wriggled it free, closing and opening the fist to regain feeling. No camoudie. She massaged her right hip and shoulder to ease the pain from sleeping too long on one side on the hard floor.
  She still had trouble moving and sucked her teeth at the pair of knobbly brown legs draped across her thighs. She reached down to shove Sabrina off but hesitated. Sis always took care of her. Like right now sleeping against the wall to protect her from the cold and any danger that crawled in through the spaces and holes. And in the dream, didn't Sis stop the cutlasses from hacking her? Even if the dream ended before any cutlasses came, Sis would have stopped them.
  Yawning, Saira rubbed her eyes and felt around for Kimmy. She examined the piece of wood carved to vaguely resemble a limbless doll. The eyes and mouth were a little smudged. She would redraw them with pieces of crayon later. Maybe make the lips red. Cuddling Kimmy in the crook of her elbow, she patted the strings of hemp stuck above the face. At least the few drops of Evo Stick glue Edna had squeezed out of a salvaged tube still kept the hemp-hair attached to the head. Evo Stick was strong glue.
  Saira pried Sabrina's legs off gently, stood, and glanced at Mr. Bhagwandass on the other side of the soft drink crates that separated his sleeping area from theirs. He was sprawled on the best hemp rice bag laid over a thin sponge. Some nights he let Edna join him on the sponge and Saira and Sabrina were glad for the extra room to stretch their arms and legs. Except that Edna's muted crying kept them awake. She whimpered as if he was beating her and she didn't want them to know. Maybe he was pinching her backside like he did sometimes when she wasn't expecting it and she jumped and cried out in a muted squeak that wouldn't dare attract attention and embarrass him.
  Saira looked away. Even asleep he might know she was looking at him and could erupt any minute.
  "Turn yuh blasted bad-eye somewhere else," he would say. "I know you wishing something evil happen to me but you better hope it kill me dead or else ah going chop yuh head clean off."
  She prayed he didn't survive any accident or sickness. She visualized the goat from yesterday morning, blood pouring from it's neck, and squeezed her eyes shut to dispel the image.
  Sabrina shifted half-way into the space Saira vacated and stretched her cramped body out slantwise, careful even in sleep not to hit any of the junk piled at the foot of the sleeping area.
  It was still dark outside, the corrugated zinc sheets and the hard clay floor both cold from the early morning drop in temperature. Edna had made the mistake once of mentioning the neighbor's wooden floor and how nice it must be to have one. She would never mention it again. She couldn't even build the floor herself or complain about the hard clay they slept on. He forbade any thought of a wooden floor because coveting the neighbors was unacceptable. At least the walls kept the wind out, except for a little whistling in through the holes.
  Navigating through legs and arms to the flimsy door, Saira eased outside and squatted against the wall to pee, juggling her feet to dodge the trickles. The latrine was too far away and it wasn't safe to walk around late at night or early morning. Mongooses and snakes came from the sugarcane fields across the canal to feed on chickens and mice in the squatting area and battle each other. Maybe they wanted their homes back and were trying to frighten the humans away so the sugarcane would return.
  The sugarcane would never return. In the year since the estate cleared the area for squatters the number of shacks had increased daily. "House the nation," the Honorable Prime Minister had said and the people repeated. They chanted, "Land to build homes," and "Hail the father of the nation giving away free house lots." No streets, no running water, no electricity, no basic facilities and amenities but families were happy to get a little plot on which to put up a shack to call home and plant a vegetable garden.
  If pests could get into the better houses in Squatting Area and into the even better ones in the housing scheme built on wooden stilts and concrete columns, they would have no trouble entering Saira's shack but few came because this household did not leave many food scraps. Labaria snakes were bad, always hiding under old wood and junk, their brown skin and squarish patterns hard to see until they moved. They weren't interested in food scraps. One bite could kill a person and people who survived remained sick from the poison that never one hundred percent left the body. Every night before sleeping they tumbled the firewood and rustled the junk accumulated in the shack to chase away concealed pests. Edna warned them all the time to watch out for labarias and black widow spiders.
  The canal had caimans too but they didn't crawl up to the squatting area. The few sightings of black eyes behind a dark snout in the canal always sounded the alarm for "alligator", never mind there were no alligators in Guyana, only caimans. The alarm always generated pandemonium, dragging every grown man within earshot along with his cutlass or stout piece of wood to unleash an uncoordinated, hysterical assault if the poor animal didn't escape quickly. Maybe the beasts were too terrifed of humans to venture close. Maybe the bank was too steep for them or the sun too intense.
  It was rising now, the sun, swathing faint yellow and orange above the canefield. A cool breeze rustling sugar cane leaves caressed Saira, swirling wisps of hair across her face. She stood and breathed deep, inured to the sweet-rot odor of bagasse and lees water deposited from the nearby cane sugar factory and distillery, accumulating a putrid, black liquid in the canal.
  The area was tranquil at this hour, too far from the main road for the noises of motor vehicles. The shacks were dark and silent but neighbors would soon start getting up to use the latrines and brush their teeth and wash up with cold rain-water from forty-five gallon drums set under the ends of roofs. Who didn't own toothbrushes, cleaned their teeth with wild black sage. The women would rattle pots and pans readying breakfast for their families and lunch for working husbands. Most mornings they raced each other for the shared latrines that serviced the closest two to four shacks, sometimes more. The men had joined forces to dig the pits, build the boxes over the pit to sit on, and erect the wooden shelters over the contraption, mostly with scraps of wood and broken zinc sheets for the walls and roofs. Most of the latrines started leaning after a few months. The pits could not be more than six feet deep to stay above the high water table in the region. Filled pits made fertile vegetable gardens.
  When no latrine was vacant a person who couldn't wait had to run to the canal, hoping no predators were around. The shacks couldn't be too close to the canal because when the canefields burned heat leaping across the water singed everyone and everything nearby. The last row of shacks, despite the hundred feet or so to the canal, turned into ovens, forcing inhabitants to abandon their homes until the flames died.
  Saira's family always had to drop back to last place in line because Mr. Bhagwandass hadn't helped to build the latrine close to their home. He had had business to take care of both days during the construction, slinking back home dead drunk at night after the men finished working. Many times when it was her turn and someone else jumped ahead, enjoying at least the one advantage over a fellow human, Saira had to run swearing to the side of the canal.
  "Harden yuh mind and bear up," Edna always said. "With God's grace things getting better one day."
  "When, Ma?" Sabrina would ask. "When? Nothing ain't getting better for us. God forget about us."
  Sabrina argued more and more with Edna, demanding answers to hard questions, voicing observations unusual for an eight-year old.
  "You play big woman with me." Edna would shake the broom or wave the pot spoon. "Ah going give you something good to think about."
  Saira stood and peeped through a hole in the wall, careful with the rusted edges around the hole. People died from cuts from rusty zinc sheets or after getting pricked by rusty nails because the hospital was far away. No one else was awake. She stepped back and eyed the shack of old corrugated zinc sheets nailed to scraps of wood to make the walls and the lean-to roof. A strong wind would blow the whole thing down. If Guyana got hurricanes and all them other disasters a lot of people would die and suffer. Maybe because the people so poor God spared them everything else. As soon as she got a good job she'd make a bigger house for them, two times the size of this one so Sis could have enough room to sleep, and with a wooden floor, and with the kitchen and bedroom not all in one. Maybe even Mr. Bhagwandass could stay but in a small attached room with no door to the inside and with no wooden floor. And he would have to behave or she and Sis would beat him. Same way he beat them all the time.
  "And you better behave too, Kimmy, or you get the same thing. We have plenty work today. No time for nonsense. You hear?"
  She flipped the doll's hemp locks.
  "Sai?"
  "Right here, Ma."
  She peeked around the door. Their voices were hushed. The rum from last night would make Mr. Bhagwandass's head ache and anything could set him off. Waking him up early was bad. Edna never even opened her eyes to see Saira. Maybe she had special powers or something to know Saira was up and where she was. If only she had special powers to fight Mr. Bhagwandass when he got drunk and wanted to beat them and threatened to kill them.
  "Come back in when yuh done and don't make any noise."
  "Yes, Ma. I done."
  A few yards away, a door creaked open, a dark face with bright white teeth peeked out.
  "Manuj," Saira shouted. "Look! I got Kimmy. You want play?"
  "Jesus Christ! Edna! Shut yuh blasted child up before I shut her up!"
Saira froze. Edna jumped up and scampered outside. Eyes wild, index finger pressed to pursed lips, she shook her head hard, flinging stringy hair around. She wrapped her arms around Saira, shushing.
  "Sorry, Ma," Saira whispered.
  She trembled. Edna trembled.
  It was June, 1968. In four months, Saira would be six years old.

Nice imagery. In pure Guyanese style and circumstances. For us middle agers, the Guyanese dialect would sound more fluent but given that it is also intended for the younger generation, the writing bridging works very well. I have a real problem with people like Bhagwandass.

antabanta posted:

Thanks, Ksaz. I'm actually aiming for the non-Guyanese and non-West Indian readers. That's why I softened the Guyanese dialect.

That is what I thought. I like the imagery. Makes me remember the times I spent in Nandy Park looking out the window at the passing pontoons laden with sugarcanes.

antabanta posted:

Sample. Feel free to critique.

  "Camoudie! Snake! Camoudie!"
  "Where?

The story makes the readers who witnessed these events remember everything; it was very serious and scary. The ending with everyone feasting on curried goat, and the last humorous paragraph add a perfect balance to the seriousness.  

Leonora posted:
antabanta posted:

Sample. Feel free to critique.

  "Camoudie! Snake! Camoudie!"
  "Where?

The story makes the readers who witnessed these events remember everything; it was very serious and scary. The ending with everyone feasting on curried goat, and the last humorous paragraph add a perfect balance to the seriousness.  

Thank you very much. Although I appreciate the positive comments, I am grateful for critique. Anyone sees anything that could be improved upon, please feel free to offer it.

Leonora posted:

Ch. 1 Sc. 2: 

Many youngsters who saw these camoudies had nightmares.

Vivid description of sugar estate life.

Now I see why you asked about Lease water. I guess Lees is the correct word.  

Good writing, attention to detail. 

Thank you. Thank you. Yes, lees is the correct word. As is coag.

Anta, 

Your story about the camoudie  reminds me of an incident of a large snake wrapped around a man at Albion sugar estate back dam.

We had a donkey and cart that we used to go to our farm for mangoes and other fruits. We also had a cow for fresh milk and some sheep. 

There was a special PARA grass we would often cut from the back dam for our animals.  This was tied in bundles and carried home on our bicycle handle bars.

One day on our way home from the back dam, we came across two men casting nets in a sugar cane canal. The weeds prevented the net from  trapping  the fish properly, so one man returned in the trench to clear the weeds.

At the time of our passing, a large snake had wrapped around the man's lower body and the other man was trying to assist him and the snake out of the trench,  so he don't drown.

We also assisted the man out of the trench and as we tried to remove the snake, the snake's head moved around wildly and we were afraid of the snake biting us.

The cane field was new from a previous forest and some tree stumps were still present. The snake partially wrapped its head around a tree stump and the other man took the opportunity to chop off its head.

But the body of the snake was still alive for some time, before it could be removed from the man.

The men gave up fishing and we all went on our way.

Also, during a visit to Guyana, I was staying with relatives at South Ruimveldt GT [sp]. One morning the family dog was barking fiercely at a 'log' by the fence. It was not really a log, but a large snake that crawled from the weed trench at the back of the house.     

 

  

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