This village was certainly the bomb… I will not hesitate to declare that my experience while visiting there was pure heaven…
The rich camaraderie between residents was certainly refreshing, not to mention the welcoming warmth bestowed on first time visitors by jolly residents.
The fresh crisp ‘country breeze’ seemed to ooze comfort and solace into the inner soul and the merry chatter of the people was like fairyland music to the ears. This was infused by peals of mirthful laughter and the bellow of cattle, drowning out the pitiful bleating of young lambs for their moms who somersaulted freely alongside grassy dams and roadside trenches.
My dear folks I was IN THE BEAUTIFUL VILLAGE OF Triumph located just over six miles from the city of Georgetown.
This large village is inhabited by mostly by East Indians, but there is also a sizeable percentage of Negroes and a smaller ratio of mixed races residing there, all living in peace and harmony.
The village is flanked by the equally enthralling village of Mon Repos to the east and the slightly larger Beterverwagting to the West.
This village is separated by several small divisions named Doctor Miller Street, National Walk, Suraj Drive, Ogle Street, Republic Drive and a few others.
As some residents dictated this village has a population of almost two thousand all living comfortably in dreamy little cottage houses and otherwise larger, sophisticated abode.
Well the bus ride to this village was quite cool and breezy and the driver and conductress were quite kind to show me the exact location of where the village was separated from its neighbours.
I got off at the junction where the Regional Democratic Council (RDC) Office was situated and bumped into school teacher, Colis Nicholson who explained that this facility was indeed the ‘business hub’ for Region # 4, nothing that it housed an Education Department, Registry, Accounts and other offices that made up its day to day operations.
Thereafter our brief conversation I trekked into the village heading for the railway embankment where a colourful cluster of dreamy houses beckoned with tropical luster.
I was taken back by the welcoming smiles of the people and how they waved at me as though I was a long found friend.
Some shyly question the reason for my visit and on hearing my purpose presented themselves to assist in whatever manner they can.
Enjoying the cheerful people
I sat down under the shade of a genip tree to chat to the cheerful but lamenting Ishrad 57 year-old Shivgobin who is an ailing poverty stricken soul, laden with the trials of life. This does not however stop him from marveling in the riches of Mother Nature or basking in the refreshing ambience of his home town.
“Bai this ah wan nice, nice village… And meh nable string bury right hea. Me just love dis place… It nice and quiet and everybady hea does live as wan… Ahwe a h get good wata fuh drink, electricity and although de drainage nah perfect, it reasonably good. Me only problem is dat me ah wan sick man and me really ah suffa because ah dah. Me nah get no wuk because me nah get de strength and all my try fuh get de lil fianancial assistance de Govament ah give me nah get through. Me nah know whea fuh guh or wha fuh duh… Me really need help fuh get food and clothing….. Me ah ask around de place about de assistance, bout everyone just ah push me round”.
My next stop was at Mr. Simon Portland who was elated to be under my radar and almost choked as he gused with excitement, “What!!! You is ah media man and yuh want talk tuh me? Eh, eh… Yuh mek me feel really important…”
He too lauded the beauty of the village and the merriment of its people, but noted that while there’s was an harmonial location they were plagued with the problem of really bad roads.
“Dis village is ah really nice place… And dis is one of de locations where coolie, black, and mixed races live happy together as wan big happy family. Indis village we does share with one another and things are quite fine. De only problem is dat we roads really bad and in de rainy season the big holes does full up with wata and damage de people vehicles. We really need de Govament tuh visit us and do something about dem roads. That aside, life is beautiful in dis area”
This village was simply divine…
In every nook and cranny villagers loudly applauded the beauty of the village and the rich camaraderie shared by the inhabitants.
Their blissful tales made me long to relocate and their stories were further heightened by the somewhat soft and cozy ambience that oozed from the location. As I breathed in the fresh air I just felt happy to be there.
My eyes swept across the long line of eye-catching buildings, made more attractive with the array of fruit trees and tropical flower plants that so nicely decorated well swept yards and pathways.
The sandy streets twisted and turned like snakes amongst the comfortable cottages and I marveled at how the youths darted in and out of the grocery shops, shopping lollipops, tamarind balls, or groceries for their impatient moms who stood at the gates sometimes heaving for fear that dinner will be late for their soon home coming husbands.
Even the sheep, cattle and goats seemed to be enjoying at leisure the quite calm of the location as they munched on juicy grass by the roadside, rolling their eyes in sweet wonder at the tasty flavours they were digesting.
Quite fat and healthy looking puppies pranced about without a care and a few of them even ran up to me and sniffed my feet withy ‘doggy curiosity’, before darting off for their ‘animal romping’ amongst the tall grass or bushes.
Triumph in the olden days
Today Triumph is a very spectacular village that sports a vast arrangement of lovely houses, shops and other businesses. But in times gone by this impressive location was certainly not what it is today. To shed light on this era was Retired Headmistress, Jean Cadogan who has lived there as a young girl.
“This is by far one of the most impressive village on the East Coast of Demerara. Here we live as one big, happy family despite our race or creed. He harbor or share no negative difference, and we often like to call ourselves the ‘Big Family.
In my days as young girl growing up this village was not as developed as it is today. In my childhood days Negroes and East Indians lived as one. This has always been the custom in this village…. My fore parents were popular for rearing goats here for over a hundred years. And I could remember the days when there were birthday celebrations, neighbours would come and beg for a goat and my grandmother would just give it to them freely regardless of their race.
The yards were not fenced and it was such a pleasant sight to see the children hopping about playing marbles and hop-scotch… I can remember the days when an East Indian man gambled out his entire property and we took him in with his family and he stayed with us or months. Such was the degree of love and harmony amongst neighbours..
In my time we had no electricity so to get around at nights some used gas lamps or flamboughs (lamps made with cloth wicks soaked in kerosene, in bottles)
To get water we had to gather at two standpipes in the village and often fights broke out when village bullies did not want to wait their turns to fill water. At one time a young man made the mistake to push me out the way and the fire ball I was… My fists began flying like crazy.
In zero time I tore off his shirt, scratched up his entire face and using my bucket, beat him until he fell in a nearby trench from which his friends had to pull him out”
She related that in the olden days they bough fresh meat everyday for cooking since meat was plentiful. There were many poultry farmers in the village…
Those days most were employed as farmers and cane cutter at the La Bonne Intention (LBI) Sugar Estate, while there were a few fishermen, and vendors. Drainage was not the best of the best, but villagers used forks and shovels to clear drains and small trenches to avoid flooding.
How Triumph Village got its name
As history would dictate, on May 8, 1839, 62 ex-slaves pooled from their savings the princely sum of $52 000 to acquire the estate of Baron Von Gronigen, a Dutch coloniser who held on to his lands during the British occupation of the colony. The name `Beterverwagting’ literally translates as `Better for waiting’ was chosen by the purchasers for these lands.
Three years later, one Lambert Christian acquired the area immediately east of Beterverwagting and sought to confer the name `Plaisance Profitt’ on these lands. His wish was frustrated since the name Plaisance was already assigned to another village a few miles west of these lands. In the circumstances the name `Triumph’ was chosen for the area.
Baron Von Gronigen must have been a benevolent coloniser since the occupants of these two areas of lands chose to refer to these holdings as BARON. With the passage of time, that name has crystallised into a generic term and residents of Beterverwagting/Triumph deemed themselves Baronians.
The village market attracted customers from all parts of the country and was perhaps the busiest place in Guyana on Saturdays. In attendance were itinerant vendors such as `Knowledge’ with his erratic pricing system; `Brown Betty’ pedalled popsicle carts all the way from Georgetown; newspaper vendors Derek Katchay and Mr. King making home deliveries; and invariably, the walking lexicographer, Prophet Wills. Food vendors, such as Amechand (Baccoo-Boy) and Hydar offered aloo ball and channa in competition with Gertrude who boasted the best black-pudding and souse in all Guyana.
Everyone in the area had a false name. Those which come to mind include Lord Mud, Grabble, Josey Catuntun, Salt Pipe, Yangoor Tiger, John Mulaloo, Cockhead, Cheese Mouth, Brave Boy, Fighting Cock, Turkey Money, Juglamp, Marmite, Daddy ole Horse, Gold Foot, Turkey Chest, Lamp Oil, Captain Midnight, Scraps and the Pope! Some of the false names are not suited for publication in a family newspaper!
Entertainment & Employment
Triumph is customarily a quiet village and there is only one disco there called Genip ree Disco where villagers would gather on weekends for reveling and to have their fill of the alcoholic spirits.
That aside, villagers wait for occasional birthdays or for the massive wedding celebrations, where relatives, friends and well wishers will revel for days to come in wild, festive abandon.
Today villagers are ambitious and try their best to find some sort of gainful employment.
While there seem to be many shopkeepers there, there are a few masons, still a few farmers, while some persons still continue to rear their poultry. That aside, many are occupied in various positions in the sugar estates along the Lower Coast of Guyana.
The Bakewell Facility is the village also opens doors for numerous levels of employment for many villagers. Just a few are employed in administrative positions inside the RDC Office.
This village enjoys an exciting fusion of the cultures and customs without conflicts or any apparent disagreements.
While some follow the Muslim and Hindu faiths, a large number are actually Christians and would worship at the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah Witnesses, Triumph Assembly of God Church, Sadhu Sudan Singh Lutheran Church and other such facilities.
Fancy words would not do this dreamy village any justice to proclaim its beauty. Sophisticated phrases will not creditably describe the jolly and hospitable people.
Hence I urge you to take a trip there and enjoy the ultimate, ‘Triumph Experience’
Written By Alex Wayne