Lower Amelia’s Ward/ Kara Kara Creek River Front
– a community in dire need of development
A boat ride up the Kara Kara Creek is an exhilarating experience, that, to the uninitiated, seems fraught with danger, but the boat captain puts all such fears to rest as he operates his outboard motor with the dexterity born of years of experience.
For me, riding the waves a few days ago, was a trip back in time with my own father ‘’captaining” our boat, powered by its powerful Johnson outboard engine. Only this time, the trip was not down the Demerara River, but up the Kara Kara Creek. The excitement mixed with just that little bit of trepidation, was however, one and the same.
Too soon the little boat slowed down and, after mooring alongside a wooden bridge, we disembarked.
This is Block42 Lower Amelia’s Ward, Kara Kara Creek River Front, a small farming community that is separated from its sister community, Spieghtland, by the Kara Kara creek.
Residents on either side of the creek, use boats to get to the other side. The more adventurous simply swim across.
But that is where the similarities with these two communities end. Where residents of Spieghtland can drive through their community, for their neighbours on the other side of the creek, such a possibility remains a dream.
Here, walking is the most popular means of getting around, as the difficult muddy terrain exacerbated by persistent rainfall, hinders even the simplest modes of transportation, such as riding. For school children, it is a frustrating exercise.
“It is really hard because the children have to walk through the mud, to get to school. As you can see, we have no roads, all we have is these ‘sirihies’ (narrow tracks through bush). During the rainy weather, the children really suffer because the paths become sheer slush,” one resident complained.
But it is not only the children who suffer hardships. Farmers too, cryout about having to ‘’fetch’’ manure and other farming necessities over long distances, because taxis and other modes of transportation can only make it to a certain point in the village.
“When they drop us off, we have to lug these things over a long distance. But we can’t blame the drivers, because we don’t have internal roads; we need that”, one resident opined.
There were also complaints about “unscrupulous” taxi drivers who charge exorbitant fares to go to the community, which is just about two miles from central Mackenzie, Linden.
“We pay sometimes $2,000, for a one-way fare, and that is hard. I mean the road is not so good, but there are other areas in Linden with equally bad roads and these people don’t pay as much.”
Block 42 Lower Amelia’s Ward/ Kara Kara has no potable water, no landline telephone service and no proper access road.
Residents depend on the rain, for drinking water, but in the dry weather they purchase bottled water.
The nearby Kara Kara Creek is the community bathroom. They also do their laundry there.
However, residents claim that the problem with the creek is that persons from other communities dump carcasses and other debris, polluting the waterway in the process.
“Right now there is a dead pig not far from here; you could smell it, and is somebody dump it- this ain’t fair to us, because we depend on this water for so many things.
“People got to stop doing this. They got to realise that these things affect us,” the boat captain pointed out.
But despite the hardships and challenges, there is nowhere else the residents of this obscure little community would rather live.
“This is a beautiful place; all we need is the necessary infrastructure and development. For instance we need a nursery school and a playground. We already earmarked sites for these. And that wide expanse of water over there, we plan to develop it into a facility for aquatic sports, to help boost tourism.
“We also need the relevant authorities to dredge the creek on a regular basis, because when it becomes silted up, we suffer flooding,” Chairman of the Community Development Group, Mr. Bunbury declared.
He added that residents are willing to work to help develop the community, provided the necessary assistance is given.