When I was eighteen years old I had this dream of walking the length and breath of Guyana to experience the beauty of the land and its people and to share my faith. I began that enterprise somewhat, concentrating my walks along the coast, particularly on the coastal area west of the Demerara River. For me, that was a period of self discovery as I engaged in a pursuit that I never knew I had the courage to pursue. I would do those walks on weekends, resting my head (most of the time in church buildings) wherever night caught me. Other endeavors put a hold on my dream, but I never stopped dreaming. This year, more than ever, I started to feel that stirring again, that yearning to walk the country. It was one of the key reasons for my leaving (in June of this year) the Stevenson school, the place at which I worked for the past twenty-six years and the institution that has had the single most impact on my life.
So here I am, about to fulfill my dream of walking (backpacking) the length and breadth of Guyana. I have shared my intent with some people, and the response has been from enthusiastic encouragement, to the enterprise being characterized as crazy. Some have (and rightfully so) expressed concern for my safety given the proliferation of crime in Guyana. Of a truth, the Guyana that I intend to walk is not necessarily the same Guyana I began to walk in 1980. However, I refuse to allow fear to prevent the fulfillment of my dream, choosing to focus on and to entrust my life to that which is good about my country rather than to be intimidated by that which might be bad about it. That said, I do intend to be careful and not to be foolhardy.
I will not lie to you; I am a bit scared, but I have done this before. The technical know-how, the physical conditioning, and the skills are there. I am a seasoned backpacker, having participated in and led adult backpacking trips in various terrain and weather conditions here in the mountains and wilderness of the eastern United States. In addition, my training as a Boy Scout and as a pioneer in the Guyana National Service has prepared me for managing tropical rain forest conditions. The fear is more about the unknown, and I am glad that that little fear is there as it will help me to be careful.
Moreover, I am placing this endeavor and my well-being in the secure hands of God and in the prayerful thoughts of family, friends, and well-wishers.
This walk along the length and breadth of Guyana is essentially a spiritual enterprise for my own self-development, but I would also like to use it to help sensitize our national consciousness to all levels of violence (homicide, rape, suicide, bigotry, etc) in our country, to promote racial harmony, and to highlight the beauty of Guyana. I am not presumptuous to think that mine would be the only "voice" being raised; I am simply adding mine to those already raising awareness out there. On a personal level, my objective is to reconnect with the heart and soul of Guyana (the land and my people) and to use the journey as a means of recalibrating and clarifying my future pursuits. I depart for Guyana on August 23, and I expect to begin my walk on August 29. I ask for your prayers and your positive thoughts.