Thursday, October 18, 2012

Photo Privacy Settings for Facebook Groups

There have been some photo postings in Skeldon Conversation that are not visible to ALL members. The whole idea of a group is to share information with everyone in that group. Restricted photos should be kept on your timeline.

We respect your privacy in Skeldon Conversation. If your photos are set to “Friends Only” then you do not need to post them in a group for your friends to see. However, when your photos are set to “Friends Only” and it is shared in a group, those who are not your friend will see a blank post. Hence, the questions, Nothing? What is here? and a slue of other comments. Sharing photos in a group require that privacy setting be “Public”. While photos on your timeline can remain amongst your friends.
This post will seek to assist in changing your photo privacy settings. There are two scenarios: First, your photos may be in an “Album” as in Your Family Vacation and second, your photos maybe “Single” as in a Mobile Album. I will address both cases.
Select the photo that you wish to change.
From Album 1
Image Above: Notice the RED circle next to my name. That icon represents your privacy setting for “Friends Only”. Click on the icon.
This dialogue box appears. From Album 2Click on “Edit Album Privacy”.  
This dialogue box appears.From Album 3Click on drop down arrow in Black circle.
This dialogue box appears. From Album 4Click on “Edit Album Privacy” in Red circle.
This drop down box appears.From Album 5Click on “Public” in the Red circle.
The drop down box retracts. From Album 6Click on “Save”.
From Album 7
Your photo is now set to public. EVERYONE can see it in the group.

Select the photo that you wish to change.
From Single Photo 1
Image Above: Notice the RED circle next to my name. That icon represents your privacy setting for “Friends Only”. Click on the icon.
This drop down box appears. From Single Photo 2 Click on “Public”.
The drop down box retracts. From Single Photo 3 Your photo is now set to public. EVERYONE can see it in the group.

I hope you can follow these steps to happy photo sharing. Remember to keep your photo sharing Guyana related.

Feel free to contact me for any further assistance.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Young Guyanese girls youth are being stolen.

1979 – A busy taxi driver picks up a passenger at Timehri International Airport (now Cheddi Jagan International Airport), “Where to sah?” “To Corriverton, Berbice,” replied the oversees citizen of Guyanese birth. “Suh wah yuh guh do in Corriverton?", inquired the seasoned taxi driver. The overseas man replied, “I am going to find me a nice young Guyanese gal to play with.”

Fast forward 2012 – A Facebook conversation. 50 something year old Guyanese man, from overseas reaches out to an eager 19 year old in Guyanese girl.
Man: “Hi, how are things in my home country.”
Girl: “Things looking nice.”
Man: “I really miss my country.”
Girl: “Things change up.”
Man: “I would love to visit and see, but I have no one there.”
Girl: “Nah seh suh, meh deh heh.”
Man: “You would show me around?”
Girl: “Yes of course.”

Man goes to Guyana, spends a week. Girl shows the many improvements and wonderful things happening in Guyana. One thing leads to another, they have sex. Man comes back oversees and forgets about girl. Or man comes back oversees and goes back to marry girl. Then girl comes oversees and man turns out to be protective, abusive, dominating, and violent. Wishfully, all works out and they live happily ever after.
Have you heard these recollections before? How many times? With your family, friends, or neighbors? Is this really still happening?

While there is no scientific statistical basis that I could find, this is a recurring scenario that I hear about over and over again. Being such a closed community about issues that does not portray us in a good light, we tend to sweep these darker issues under the rug. Our sisters and cousins from Guyana does not talk about this gross misleading or abuse until there is a knife put to their throats or a gun to their heads. Even more distressful, when we read about these incidents the community raises in an uproar. Facebook comments fly like AK-47s, OMG I am so sorry, So sorry for ur loss, so sad, I feel for the family and on and on… The long crocodile tears flow like the mighty Kaiteur Falls. Where were these same people when the young girl was being lured by this grown man predatorily pursuing her?

Yes there are tons of issues in Guyana that spurned a whole generation of people to flee. Some by choice, some who were too young to make that choice for themselves, the choice was made for them. Those issues are still there. Although, there are certainly some significant changes that enhance and makes Guyana very attractive to live in. There is still the yearning of many people to leave for a perceived better life overseas. While there are many who flourish and  enjoy the benefits of living in a place of their birth. It is still very common for arranged marriages and matches made in drunken bars or bottom houses.

The old practice of parents arranging marriage for their kids, especially young girls, still exist. How many people do you know seeks to find a nice Guyanese girl for their “very successful” older boys? There is absolutely nothing wrong with a relevant match. For generations match making in various societies are the norm. This practice will continue. However, when this practice is used in a reckless manner the social outcome is disastrous. What possibly, can a 50 something have in common with a 19 year old? This girl can be his child! Outrageous! This is not love and marriage as it is meant to be. This is desperate people acting irresponsibly.

This is parents not allowing their child to grow into a relationship, just the lure of going “outside”. Alternatively, young girls may not have the strength to say no. The marriage happens, young girl comes to oversees and then the drama starts. Three kids later, staying home, barefoot and pregnant in the some cold basement in the bowels on New York or New Jersey, the startling realization happens. What the hell did they get themselves into? Wait, let me point out the abuse. This man has lived here most of his life, he is probably on a second or third marriage, all of young Guyanese girls, directly from Guyana. He goes to Guyana brings another one, knocks them up, two or three kids, slaps them around, if the girl is lucky she escapes his clutches. He goes to Guyana does it all over again.

Will this cycle ever end? When will Guyanese realize that marriage and relationships are much more sacred than “better financial lives”? When will young Guyanese girls realize that a 50 something year old man has nothing in common with you? All he wants is a younger more attractive model. He could be your father. Would you go to bed with your father? I think not.

Of course there are some who will opine that there is no age in matters of the heart. I believe that. Love can happen in strange and mysterious ways. The laws of logic are thrown out of the window. But I also believe that two people should at least be able to have things in common. These commonalities happens with age, culture, exposure and a host of other factors.

Who am I to say this is an inappropriate way of carrying on life? Every person makes their own bed. I strongly believe that as a community we should have discussions about these issues and not sweep it under the rug. No two relationships are the same, neither are any two circumstances. There is always a means to an end. Or a way to better life. Do we want to continue reading the horror stories of this issue? Do we want to keep making the same Facebook comments of sadness? Older men, find someone your own age or age group. Younger girls, don’t be lured by the glamour of “outside”. Parents, start being parents. Community, let’s open a dialogue with our loved ones. We cannot keep encouraging a generation with single mothers raising kids on their own, while fathers are either deported to Guyana or allowed to keep trading in for a newer model.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Ultimate Car Makeover in the Back Streets of Skeldon
Does anyone remember the days of Datsun cars in Guyana? Today, much to my surprise the Wall Street Journal carried this article announcing Nissan’s intention of reviving the old car brand. Back in the 70s, growing up in rural Guyana my father’s first car that he owned was a Datsun Bluebird. Later my grandfather performed what everyone I recalled said was totally crazy. He merged a Datsun Bluebird, Japanese made car with a Vanguard, English made car. Impossible? No, I was there. I helped build it.

My dad was a graduate of Guyana Sugar Corporation Apprentice Training School in Port Mourant, Berbice. He worked at the Skeldon Sugar Estate’s Field Mechanical Work Shop. Since he was a mechanic he must have seen something in this mashed up Datsun. The Datsun sat in the yard of a beer garden. A beer garden in those days and probably still is the same today, is a place where people mostly men gather to drink beer or rum. Most beer gardens were little “bottom house” shops, but as progression took a hold of the drinking public beer gardens evolved into major establishments. This beer garden was owned by a “red bone” man named Sammy. I can’t quite remember if Sammy worked with my father or he just owned the beer garden. Red bone was the name given to any person of mixed race with Portuguese and any of Guyana’s five other races. The beer garden was located in Kingston, off the main Kingston Rd. first right hand turn, second house on the right. There was an up ramp since the house sat on stilts. The car was buried in mud and grim with a mashed up front right side. I clearly remembered my grandfather who was a taxi driver, saying, “That rass would never run.” What do you know, first kick the engine caught life.

Around 1975, convinced that this was a great car, my father bought it. Over the next couple of months he worked on bringing the car back to it’s original glory. The interior remained blue, while the exterior sported a bright fire engine red color. It had a unique horn that carried a song like sound. This was a sexy little car. My grandfather even got to liking this little car and he used it in his taxi service. In 1977 my father passed. My grandfather continued to use the car. However, the car’s body started to rot in several places. All this time the mechanics of the car excelled. It was small, fast, nimble, and burnt minimal fuel. But the amount of money spent on patching the body was huge. Not to mention how ugly it started to look with patches. People did not want to ride in a car that appeared to fall apart. My grandfather’s taxi business was taking a little beating.
Back in those days up until the Berbice River Bridge was built in 2008, there was and still is a vibrant taxi service from Skeldon to Georgetown. Before the bridge there was a ferry service that crossed from New Amsterdam to Rosignol, ever so frequently or infrequently, depends if you missed the boat or the boat was inoperable. If you wanted to traverse to Georgetown from Skeldon, you would have to reserve a seat in a taxi the night before you wished to travel. The taxi would pick you up at 3:30 am and make the trek to wait for the 5:00 am ferry crossing. If you missed that boat, there was an alternative pontoon crossing from Blairmount. Either way if you had morning business to conduct in Georgetown, you were already late. Most of these taxis are packed with people and luggage. So it is very important to have a strong, sizeable, and stable car.

Since the Datsun was just running well but too small and falling apart, my grandfather, Uncle Phil was on the look out for something bigger. He kept passing a Ensign van type car without tires on No. 19 Public Road. According to him, that car was sitting there for ages and the body was still in great shape. So one day we stopped and talked to the people who owned it. They agreed to sell. We put four tires on the car and towed it to Skeldon. My grandfather was a mechanic through necessity. I don’t think he was ever formally trained, he just picked up from driving cars all his adult working life. He did have a brief stint of driving an estate truck when he first left his home village of No. 35. to settle in Skeldon. Over his long career as a taxi driver he acquired most of the tools required to work on cars. For as far back as  I can remember we had a car. There was a semi work shop with car parts littering our yard. I remembered at one time we dug a fish pond in the back yard and I am convinced that we retrieved an entire car parts catalog of relics from various eras. Needless to say we revived the Ensign to a blue whale of a van. It was huge, spacious, with a huge trunk for carrying luggage and a huge engine. That huge engine drank an enormous amount of fuel. For a good couple of years this van did it’s job. As time passed, the engine started to go. Another car caught my grandfather’s eye. A Vanguard sitting under Mr. Scott’s house. Mr. Scott was a onetime mayor of Skeldon and a good friend of my grandfather. The good old boys network. We acquired the Vanguard.

Most of the Vanguard’s parts were interchangeable with the Ensign. As we phased the Ensign out, the Vanguard did the heavy lifting. As a car the Vanguard was spacious, functioned well, but still had the thirst for fuel and was sluggish. During all of these years as a child growing up from Primary to Secondary School, many of my out of school hours were spent messing with these cars. My very first memory was a good trashing from stuffing grease in my mouth. I would crawl and hang out with whoever was working under whichever car we had at the time. I was the unofficial shop helper. Child labor laws did not exactly exist. I can’t quite remember the exact moment, but one day my grandfather called me over to the Datsun. Remember, the Datsun was sitting at rest again. Brush, vines, mud, grime, and small animals had taken residence once again. He asked me, “Do you think this car can start again?”

I knew the car could start. Because when he wasn’t home, I would start the car and prepend I was driving. I was only 9 or 10 yrs old. He probably knew also. Maybe I kept starting the car in remembrance of my dad. Who knows. So I replied, “Yes it can.” He said, “Start it.” When my grandmother over heard the conversation she came over. Uncle Phil had a huge personality and intimidating voice. But he was a gentleman. She was wondering if he was going to give me a good trashing for messing with the old car. I was shaking in my slippers. I got in the car brushes and all, inserted the keys and turned. The engine turned over. Nothing. He started to laugh. “Meh think, yuh seh dis old shit can wuk.” I tried again. Nothing. He walked away with his wife, Eva, still laughing. I tried again. The engine fired. The car jerked and did what it had done so many times when he wasn’t around, started! He came back over and leaned in the window. “So eh a wuk. Turn it off.” I did as I was told. He beckoned me out. We sat on a wooden bench in our semi work shop. He looked at me straight in the eyes and ask; “This July when school close do you want to work on a project with me?” You think I was going to say no to him. Never. I loved this old man. He went on, “We are going to take all of the mechanical parts of that Datsun and put it in the Vanguard’s body.”

What? Did I hear him right? We were going to take a Japanese made car with everything in metric measurements and put it in an English made car with everything in Imperial measurements. Was this ever done in Skeldon before? Was it ever done anywhere? I would never know these answers. But can he pull this off? However, I know that we were going forward with putting together the solid English body with a stellar Japanese machine. Uncle Phil recruited two of his on again off again apprentices Steve and Chico. I rounded up my little friends Sean, Intikalb, Tariq and anyone else who lived on the street and wanted to get dirty with me. We were set when the doors of school closed that summer. Steve and Chico were both accomplished wielders and Chico was a good mechanic. My friends and I did everything else, from clean up, wash parts, run to the store, buy cigarettes, take love letters to these guys girlfriends while they worked and whatever else needed to be done. Uncle Phil was the brains. Like every boss he talked more than worked. Slowly we stripped the Vanguard and cut it’s chassis out. Since not a whole lot can go wrong with taking things apart. I was tasked to strip the Datsun with my underage gang.

After making the necessary adjustments we transferred the Datsun’s chassis under the Vanguard. Then Uncle Phil took to rewiring the Vanguard. With wiring in place we started to transfer part by part often times having to fabricate the mounting. It was odd when we transferred the dashboard. There was space on both sides since the Vanguard is much wider than the Datsun. But we made it work. Same goes for everything under the hood. We had to fabricate a longer drive shaft. Which was a piece of cake for Uncle Jamna, another one of Uncle Phil’s long time friends. Uncle Jamna’s Metal Work Shop was our “go to” place for anything we could not handle. We kept the gas tank of the Vanguard for more fuel capacity. After everything was completed which took most of summer vacation, it was time to test our creation. First time out the car was sluggish as if the engine was straining to carry the heavier body. With minor adjustments the Ultimate Car Makeover was a complete success.

This car ran until Uncle Phil retired from the taxi business. Since I was still too young to drive, the car just sat parked. After we all immigrated to the states I am not sure what happened to the car. I was told several years later that we sold the house and everything in it. When I went back to Guyana in March 2010, our entire house was gone and so was everything in the yard. It is a clear vacant yard. No car in sight. I asked around the neighbors, no one remembered what happened to the car.

If after so many times the little Datsun, that a mechanic thought was a good car, still roared to life. I believe the revival of the Datsun brand will certainly be a success. Maybe, as the company is focused on developing countries we may not see this car in the United States. But, some day I will meet a Datsun again.