By Naomi Parris
Guyana the land of many waters is overflowing with nature, diversity and a tremendous history which is truly a beauty, however in this technological age, many are tied up with the internet and social media not finding much time to get back to their roots and talk about the good old days.
Linden Cave, a 34-year-old father of three, is trying to get the Guyanese youths to put the devices down and refresh the minds of the old while taking them on an adventure with his Real #1 Guyanese boardgame.
“What I’m trying to do is kind of inspire Guyanese, you know stir up our patriotism and our love for country, because there are a lot of interesting things about Guyana that we don’t necessarily know; that we don’t necessarily think about every day,” Cave told the Pepperpot Magazine.
The young man, who edits and produce content for The Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo), noted that game is meant to “sort of tickle the brain” and make the players crave to know more about their country as there are many interesting facts about Guyana that the game brings out.
The Real #1 Guyanese board game was birthed out of Cave’s youth group at his local church when he was asked to engage some younger folks at the church and he came up with the concept of the game to engage the children and young teens while educating them.
However, while he was in the creation process Cave stated that he thought of Guyanese who would have migrated and how they can have a piece of Guyana with them even when they are away and possibly share the country’s history with their children via the game.
Hence, he decided to make the initiative global so that one day this board game will be in every Guyanese home.
“My desire is to see this game in every single Guyanese household because it has enormous value. There is a tendency for people in the diaspora to try to be patriotic from where they are so again [I wish] to have this game in every single Guyanese home, in Guyana and outside of Guyana,” he said.
Cave added that Guyana’s culture and history as the power to put the country on the map through commercialization, however, the game is more so about embracing the Guyanese culture. “Our culture, our history, our ‘guyanseseness’ – it has commercial value, yes, but this is not about commercialising it- this is about embracing it.”
Ask Yuh Granny
Aside from the usual history textbooks and internet sources, one of the best places to go to learn about one’s history and culture is to your grandparents and that is what exactly Cave did. The majority of information he gathered for the game were from teachings and conversations the young man had with his late grandmother.
Cave even added a feature to the game in honour of this grandmother, which is called ‘Ask yuh Granny’.
However, he noted the most difficult part of the game was finding information for Guyana’s sports achievements, “While we have accomplishments, we literally have people that walk around with that information in their head – it’s not written down anywhere so now that I want to sort of compile it is difficult to get it written down,” he said.
Cave hopes that the game will inspire Guyanese to pursue similar things and invest in documenting every inch of the country’s history to make more accessible to the populace, especially the young people.
Aside from that, he is hoping that the game pushes more art enthusiasts to showcase their talents to make the country known internationally.
“So I’m hoping that it will sort of inspire other people to pursue similar things and really put us on the map in the right way so that we can sort of erase this thing that when you talk to Americans or any other foreigner they can be able to say ‘Yes, I know that country’,” Cave said.
Passing on the tradition
Cave told the Pepperpot Magazine that one of his major goals is to have the game be the driving force that will see parents, grandparents and the older folks interacting more with the young people.
“I want my children to experience, ‘sal-out’ and Chinese [skipping] and all these things that I know about growing up but then they don’t have any idea of what those things are, so it’s just using vehicles like this now to sort of encourage persons and remind them that they should really be passing these things on,” he explained.
The game, Cave noted, serves as an educator while having fun, so whenever persons play it, they can leave with a new piece of information about Guyana.
“All the answers are there so if you are playing and nobody knows the answer you can flip the card around and get the answer,” he said
How the game works
Real #1 Guyanese is a trivia-based game and the objective of the game is to collect all five pieces of the game. The first person to collect all the colours of Guyana’s flag is the winner.
There are five categories of questions representing the five colours on the flag, each card has five questions and the objective is to go around the board asking questions from the five categories.
The Real #1 Guyanese is a board game for one to six players. Why six players? Guyana is traditionally a land of six ethnic groups: the Amerindians, Africans, Indians, Europeans, Chinese and Portuguese.
The game pieces are, The Jaguar- Guyana’s national Animal; the Sugarcane Punt, because Guyana was founded on Cane Sugar; the Pork Knocker, the one-time cornerstone occupation for the Guyanese man. The hope of finding El Dorado, the mythical City of Gold, said to be located in Guyana, is the reason many took up work in Guyana’s interior; the Bauxite trolley, rich deposits exist in many regions; timber on a trailer, nothing like Guyanese hardwood anywhere else in the world; and the Tapir Van, the original Guyanese vehicle that is still in service all these years later.
The players will make their way along a trail, around the map of Guyana, answering a series of questions on Guyana. There are five categories of questions, because the flag of Guyana, the Golden Arrowhead consists of five colours. History, Geography, Arts & Culture, Sports, Science and Nature are the categories.
The game also features a few special features like ‘Ask yuh granny’ and ‘Tek a breezer’ which allows a player to get a free pass and ask for help or to take a quick “breezer” from playing.
Cave related to the Pepperpot Magazine that he also intends to have the game in every school across Guyana by the new school semester, however, due to the lack of funding and printing opportunities he is unable to do that.
For now, though, he added that there are only a few prototype copies that he has shown to several organisations and persons in hopes of receiving funding to make multiple copies.