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Retired teacher, Althea Wade (Carl Croker photos)
Retired teacher, Althea Wade (Carl Croker photos)

A village on the move

THIS week the Pepperpot Magazine visited the village of Hopetown, West Coast Berbice; the home of the ‘Soiree’ an African celebration which is held annually every July 31 where the village comes alive with activities to observe Emancipation.

The village is home to farmers, small business owners and skilled workers. This historic community is between the villages of Onderneeming and Number 22 (Bel Air) villages and has a population of about 300 residents, most of whom are related.

The community is basically self-sufficient in terms of vegetables and meat products since they rear pigs, sheep, goats, cows, poultry on a large scale and almost every yard has a striving kitchen garden for home use.

Home of Althea Wade

The village has a nursery, a primary and a secondary school, all located in the same street.
Apart from that, they have a practical instruction centre, which provides skills training for secondary school students from neighbouring communities and private schools.

Hopetown has a large community centre which has a large field that is outfitted with floodlights and is well-kept and the area is secured with a fence.

King Gillis Street is noticeably the most decorated and well-kept street which has plants, a charging outlet for cell phones, trees and benches for public utilisation.

The street has developed into an avenue which boasts brightly painted old tyres that beautify the landscape and well-trimmed lawns, adding that natural colour to the area.

Ellen Webster, 87

The village is divided into several sections and has very vast backlands which are used for farming and rearing of livestock.

The Pepperpot Magazine first met Althea Wade, a retired school teacher, who is enjoying her golden years in a village she has made her home.

She describes life in Hopetown Village as excellent, explaining that her life does not lack anything. Wade stated that in Hopetown she has everything within her hand reach and pointed to her kitchen garden which has an array of fruits and vegetables.

“In Hopetown you can never in need of a dry coconut because as you can see this is a village of fruits and vegetables, we made it like this, so one cannot punish or go hungry,” she said.

The mother of two disclosed that she came from Kwakwani in 1974 when her mother relocated to Hopetown Village.

In 2005, Wade said she returned to Hopetown after several years in the city, where she taught at several schools including, St. George’s and Campbellville among others.

“These days I am looking after my grandson because I have the time and apart from keeping a kitchen garden I find things to occupy my time and life here is very quiet but rewarding,” she said.

The Pepperpot Magazine also met Ellen Webster, who was out for a walk.

She related that her grandfather is the oldest resident in the village and will celebrate his 99th birth anniversary on February 25. He is Rickter Edwards.

Webster joked she is taking her golden years in good stride ‘with nothing to do and all day to do it’ but takes the time to stay in touch with relatives.

One of the many resting/seating areas in Hopetown

The 87-year-old reported that she is most disturbed with the behaviour of school children these days referring to a recent incident in which a schoolgirl was stabbed in the back by a fellow student during a melee.

“In our days, any adult could have upbraided you if you were caught doing ‘nonsense’ and when you go home is more ‘licks’ but now you cannot beat children, it different and sad at the same time. They need to bring back corporal punishment in schools, our children have gone wayward and out of control,” she said.

The mother of six added that it is a good thing they have a ball field in the village which is utilised fully by the young people but it needs a bit of upgrading.

She called for the construction of a multi-purpose centre where children and youths can benefit from after-school activities in terms of education since there is none in that community.

Webster also said there is a need for an ICT hub in the village.

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