So I was on a bus today, trying to drop off some materials I had borrowed when I found myself humming along to a song. My subconscious had kicked in long before I even consciously recognized it.
Now it is no strange thing for music to be played on the buses here. I was warned before I came that the buses play different styles of music – sometimes really loudly (though it usually isn’t loud unless you are on the bus after dark). Music is really important to people here (which is great for me because I love music).
Now I often hear some of the popular hip hop and rap artists I am used to hearing at home (on weekends Nicki Minaj – played by neighbours – sings me to sleep). I also hear lots of soca (which like Nicki also originated in Trinidad and Tobago but has become popular in many other places). I hear dance hall, reggae, chutney, toasting (deejaying over top of songs) and even from time to time some hard rock music.
But back to my subconscious humming. The problem was that it was so out of context for me that I didn’t recognize it at first. I knew the intro but it wasn’t until I heard the sweet tones of Agnetha Fältskog that I realized I was listening to ABBA’s Thank You For the Music. I thoroughly enjoyed the ride due to my deep (and unashamed) love for ABBA and was glad to find a kindred spirit in the bus driver.
My next goal is to find a bus that will play show tunes!
In totally unrelated business – Canadian mining companies get an EPIC FAILSTAR. I’ve had too many conversations with people: “Oh you’re from Canada. I know a Canadian guy. He works for the mining company. Oh, by the way, they left pits of cyanide that leaked into the water table in the interior and they take resources without properly giving back to the country.” I wish it was all hearsay… but it’s not. If you check it out the verdict is — we officially suck when it comes to our mining companies. But don’t take my word for it…. look into it… and then do something about it.
But an EPIC GOLD STAR goes to my neighbour Tyrone. I just had an hour long conversation with him about everything from political economy to culture, to gender, to crime and to development context. (I say conversation but really it was my privilege to just listen to him give his ideas). He is a very down to earth man who observes the world around him. He outlined a three pronged approach for Guyana as it moves forward (very well thought out) and had a real life understanding of how to make the economy work for the poor. His supply and demand analysis was very sophisticated (far better than some economists) and the best part is that he didn’t even realize what he was doing. A very brilliant man … and he also knows how to cook! On Saturday he is going to take me to get some VERY fresh fish and teach me how to prepare it: TOTAL SCORE!
Drew Badgley is a student at the University of Toronto Scarborough, studying International Development Studies, currently on Co-op placement in Guyana.