Learning to change and adapt
WINDSOR Forest is a quaint little community by the ocean on the West Coast in Region Three (Essequibo Islands/West Demerara). The village is home to a few hundred households and, coupled with its neighbouring villages, is home to several thousand people. Windsor Forest is one of those communities that rests perfectly on the outskirts of the hustle and bustle of Georgetown and the regional capital, Vreed-en-Hoop, all while keeping its calming, authentic, and welcoming nature intact. And as mundane as the village may seem to some, depending on where you come from, it is fast-paced compared to life elsewhere.
It certainly seems that way to 19-year-old Tashmini Ramnauth who was raised in Port Mourant along the Corentyne. According to Tashmini, life along the Corentyne was drastically different. She described her home village as having more of a country essence and a simplistic atmosphere. She remembers her time there as seemingly slower than the rush of living in a community like Windsor Forest offers. Tashmini moved to the village of Windsor Forest just over three years ago after moving to live with her mother. The move, she said, was based on various reasons and was a big step in her life. Coming from a community where backdam walks, swimming, and climbing trees were the norm, to Windsor Forest, a quite busy village by contrast. Tashmini says the move, although challenging, has given her more opportunities while forcing her to adapt.
Young and enthusiastic, Tashmini is the eldest of three children who grew up with their father, and she is the first to move from home in Berbice to live with her mother in Windsor Forest. Her decision to move was based on several factors, but she felt it was time for a change, but she had no real idea of how much of a change the move would be.
Tashmini’s childhood is defined by her upbringing in Port Mourant. The Corentyne is what many people see as the countryside, and according to Tashmini, life does not get muore authentic and ‘country’ than along the Corentyne; as she stated, her home village had a ‘country vibe.’ However, she emphasised that it was some of the best years of her life, and at no time was she unhappy with living in Port Mourant during her childhood. She described the days spent playing with the neighbourhood children, swimming, and being a part of the great outdoors that her village had to offer. “In Berbice, I had childhood friends and neighbours with whom we would play and socialise more,” Tashmini stated.
Her views on Windsor Forest are interesting. Tashmini describes it as ‘fast’ compared to life in the Corentyne. Although she is undeniably happy to have made the move and see more of Guyana, Tashmini misses some of what the Corentyne had given her. She told the Pepperpot Magazine that apart from the quietness, village interaction, and community ties, there are plenty of good things about calling the countryside home. But above all else, her family and friends still hold a place in her heart. As Tashmini shared, “I felt sad at first because all my family and friends are there. I was born there in Berbice and everything was there. My whole heart was there.”
Tashmini is still, in many ways, learning to live in Windsor Forest, although her heart is in Berbice. She shared that moving around and familiarising herself with the West Coast was one of the most challenging aspects of the move. “It has been a little difficult because I did not know the place or the routes. And I did not have family and friends.” But the more she lives in Windsor Forest and the more she experiences life in the village, the more she is captivated and happy with her decision. One of the biggest upsides to living in Windsor Forest is the fact that Tashmini has been given far more opportunities. Living in the Corentyne, she explained that finding work was somewhat difficult. She shared that, “Berbice is a big place, and when it comes to jobs, it was a little hard.”
Tashmini explained that the availability of work opportunities was among the biggest driving forces for her move. For as long as she can remember, Tashmini has always had a profound love for nursing. She has taken steps towards achieving this goal. She shared that while in Berbice, becoming a nurse seemed an impossible task. Currently, in Windsor Forest, however, Tashmini is a part of the community’s neighbourhood council while she works towards becoming a nurse. And while she is sure she will achieve her aim, she is also sure it will come with its challenges. But like she has done before, Tashmini plans to adapt in the face of adversities.