Pork Knocker

So tonight I met a pork knocker. In case you were wondering (I certainly was the first time I heard the term), a pork knocker is a gold miner who works in the interior of the country (referred to as the regions). I guess traditionally they would carry dried pork with them to eat… and as miners, they like to knock things.

Anyways, he was a really interesting guy. He has been doing it for ten years (since he was 17) but he has decided to find something else to do because the exposure to malaria is so high. He is torn because he knows that he can make good money that way but he no longer wants to risk his health. It is frustrating for many people in this profession (and many others) that health is often the tradeoff for making a living.

The reason that he is in the city, though, is because it is Amerindian Heritage month (the native people of Guyana). The Guyanese have done a pretty decent job of legislating Amerindian rights (the implementation of these policies is always less than the ideal but they certainly have a better track record than Canada). This is partially because of international pressure of NGOs and the UN, a Guyanese awareness of the struggles that can be associated with a multi-ethnic state, a sense of goodwill and because the Amerindian population have the swing vote between the two dominant political parties.

Putting politics aside, I was able to see some interesting dances tonight, eat some good food and, of course, meet a pork knocker. Tomorrow I am going to see the traditional craft show.

Drew Badgley is a student at the University of Toronto Scarborough, studying International Development Studies, currently on Co-op placement in Guyana. 

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The University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC) is home to a community of active learners drawn from all over the globe, determined to use what we discover – through investigation, collaboration and experience – to make our world a better place. Our campus is an integral component of Canada’s leading research-intensive university, a place where faculty contribute to cutting-edge knowledge, where the finest students are taught by the finest professors. Upon graduation, our students have earned one of the most rigorous and respected post-secondary degrees in the world. At UTSC, we are working together to find answers to tomorrow’s most important questions. And because the search for knowledge must always be conducted in a meaningful way, our campus is continually alive with innovative programming, engaging discourse and dynamic experiences that feed our spirits and enrich our minds. This is how to prepare students for the best possible future. This is how our scholarship contributes to a better world. This is our promise. Because tomorrow is created here.
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