A bustling village
THIS week the Pepperpot Magazine visited La Grange Village, West Bank Demerara, a developing community of mixed ethnicities and people who are resilient in their bid to earn. This village is located between Meer Zorgen and Bagotville and it is a busy place with a flurry of activities.
It has a gas station, sawmills, shops, supermarkets, roadside stalls with fresh fruits and vegetables, stores, a mall, three Chinese restaurants, Chinese supermarkets, hardware stores, a primary and a nursery school, a community centre ground, a playground, a branch of the Guyana Fire Service (GFS), a health centre, a police station, a library, the home of West Side Taxi Service and Prestige products- a line of locally made essence, cassareep, miracle sauce, vinegar, achars and pepper sauce among other products.
La Grange is a large village with long streets, including Independence Street, which runs for more than a mile and it connects La Parfaite Harmonie to that village and Unity Street, which is also more than a mile long. The population consists of about 3,000 and the people, many of whom lost their jobs when the Wales Sugar Estate closed, had to seek alternative jobs.
They went into other lines of work such as labourers, mechanics, farmers, poultry farmers, livestock farmers, self-employed entrepreneurs with small shops, landscapers and weeders, vendors, skilled tradesmen, professionals and other people, who have office jobs outside the village.
La Grange Village is a clean place, where the people take pride in beautifying their houses and surroundings and they do not dump garbage. The people are friendly and welcoming and despite being busy, would take time out to have a quick chat.
La Grange is an agriculture-based village with many cash-crop farmers and it is the home of fine thyme and other seasonings and lovely, blooming plants and trees that enhance the place. It is a place where you don’t have to leave the community to get fresh-caught fish, fruits, vegetables and groceries, since the vegetable vans and the fish vendor would frequent the village.
The NDC and the village
Meanwhile, the Pepperpot Magazine spoke to Chairman of the Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC) Anjanie Narine, a resident of La Grange, who had been at the post for the past four years.
She reported that the La Grange/Nismes/Bagotville NDC is located in Bagotville and the building houses the Community Centre, the NDC and the Bagotville National Library. Narine added that La Grange is the first village on the West Bank of Demerara section just over the Demerara Harbour Bridge (DHB).
The village has 10 internal streets, most of which were recently re-paved from crush and run to all-weather. Narine stated that the village is a developing place with almost everything within the community and its environs and the people are very cooperative.
She related that the two longest streets are Independence and Unity, which run for more than a mile and a quarter. “This village has electricity, potable water supply, internet access, and landline and cellphone services with a few government facilities with good roads and other infrastructure,” she said.
Narine disclosed that the village is home to aviation and civil engineers, truck drivers, heavy-duty operators, doctors, deceased politician, Komal Chand and other skilled professionals. As for developmental works, Narine told the Pepperpot Magazine that they had street lights installed, several internal streets are being upgraded, and the drainage and irrigations system within the village is being upgraded, which will be of great benefit to farmers since they have had a flooding problem when it rains.
She pointed out that the playground near the health centre and the other one behind the La Grange Primary School will be upgraded. Narine reported that there is a high level of unemployment among the youths and young people in the village and some have turned to drug abuse and have been reportedly breaking into the homes of residents while they are asleep and taking away kitchen utensils, ducks, chickens and other valuables.
She is of the view that if the village had a skills-training facility, the youths could have been equipped with skills to eventually open their own small businesses and become gainfully employed. Narine revealed that a large number of school drop-puts reside in the community and they had to exit the school system prematurely, due to economic reasons when the Wales Sugar Estate closed.
The NDC Chair stated that the Community Centre will be rehabilitated and the Community Infrastructure Improvement Programme (CIIP), which has 10 workers, maintains the drains, trenches and parapets in the community.
The La Grange Health Centre
The La Grange Health Centre provides primary health care for villagers with its Dental Department and other services offered. Registered Nurse Andrea Wrights told the Pepperpot Magazine that they would have clinics for chronic diseases, pre-natal, ante-natal, childcare and maternal health, and family planning and outpatient services.
She related that they have a staff of seven, including a doctor, and they would accommodate student nurses from the Guyana Nursing School for clinical exercise. Wrights added that they have more than 80 persons passing through the health facility per day, depending on the clinic and they do visits to shut-ins and hold outreaches.
“We would telephone patients to ask them why they are not coming to clinic and try to get them to bring the children to receive vaccines and reach out to others, as well,” she said. Nurse Wrights reported that their catchment area is La Grange, Nismes and Bagotville and they cover a total of 4,675 patients.
She explained that the dressing room is out of order and they would try to do simple dressings for diabetic patients and some they would refer to the West Demerara Regional Hospital (WDRH). Wrights disclosed that it would be nice if a separate washroom can be constructed for the staff and they need filing cabinets, a steriliser, and a refrigerator.