IN many family dynamics, fathers play a pivotal role. From being a provider and protector to being a comforter, the role of a father is vast and ever-changing. Many fathers spend their entire life working tirelessly, day and night, to ensure that their families are well taken care of. In celebration of Father’s Day, the Guyana Chronicle sought out several of these special men who continue to work tirelessly, despite the coronavirus pandemic. Samuel Maughn, a videographer and photo-journalist, spends most of his work days chasing after the news, and all that is happening across the country. His work often requires him to spend long hours, sometimes days, in the field, interacting with people to report the current affairs. This strips him of valuable time that can be spent with his seven-year-old son and three-year-old daughter. Nevertheless, he makes the best of the time he gets to spend with his children. “You don’t get enough time; that is the truth of the matter. You just have to try and make the best of whatever little time you get,” he said. In March 2020, Maughn’s job became even more strenuous when Guyana recorded its first case of the novel coronavirus, and later during the elections period, when he was required to work overtime. He described this period as frightening, since he was concerned about having to interact with persons and then having to go home to his children. “Earlier in the pandemic, it was kind of scary, but I think that I got accustomed to it, and learnt to live with the pandemic,” the young father and husband conceded. He said that it took a while for his children to get used to not hugging and holding on to “daddy” as soon as he got home from work.
However, they, too, got used to the “new normal”, and have been reminding him to always wear his masks and sanitise whenever he goes out. Working in a similar field is Adrian Narine, a father of four. A senior photographer in the newspaper business, Narine said the time he gets to spend with his family is often limited. For him, family time is always the best and most rewarding time. “Media life is very hard to actually get time to spend with your family; if you don’t have a supportive wife or spouse, it’s extremely difficult, because of the demand of your job,” he related. For him, working through the pandemic was also a challenge. “It was very scary, knowing what you have to deal with and still have to try and tell your family what you have been through, and how they can protect themselves even from you,” he said, adding: “At the end of the day, they need to sanitise just like you, because you don’t know what you are carrying in, so it was very difficult [and] still is, because I still have that routine from then to now… Once I hit my door, I strip from there, and shower immediately.” Because of the demands of his job, he has missed most of the significant events in his sons’ life. But now that he has a lighter workload, he is making up for lost time with his granddaughter. “The best part about being a grandfather is that now I actually get so much time to spend with my granddaughter; it’s what I didn’t have with my kids. I didn’t have that with my sons, because it was just work, work, work, trying to accomplish certain things… Now I’m actually getting to see her grow so much in front of me, and spending so much moments, seeing her walk, seeing her talk, seeing her trying to call the puppy; it is so much more, because I didn’t have so much of time with my kids when I was younger,” he said.
A FATHER TO MANY
Meanwhile, for Jermine Orlando Lynch, his job requires him to be not just a father to his own children but many others. A schoolteacher attached to the Ann’s Grove Secondary School, Lynch’s job requires him to father many. “At work, I am a father to all my students. Being a teacher requires you to coach, mentor, guide, love, give attention, give instructions and affirmations to the hundreds of students who have their own needs and struggles. This is exactly what I would do with my children at home, apart from the other responsibilities such as protecting, providing, and giving spiritual guidance among others,” the father of three said. Lynch, like many other educators, has to brave the pandemic to ensure that his students do not “miss a beat”. He said that seeing his students accomplish great things is what fulfills him. “The most rewarding part of being a teacher is to see students accomplish their dreams and become successful in their ways. Knowing that you were an inspiration and their achievement is partially as a result of your input is quite satisfying,” he added.