Saturday, September 18, 2010

Expedition to Orealla and Siparuta!

To summarize: Me and Tom Sanches spent a week in the interior of Guyana on an expedition to work a village that had never been preached to before. This village is named Siparuta. The strange thing is, there's a congregation (in Orealla- it's a small town down the Corentyne river, on the Guyana/Suriname border) that had been assigned this village to preach, but because it's so far away they can never get to it.

So me and Tom made arrangements to take a ferry down to Orealla, and meet with a local brother who would join us/guide us to Siparuta. Now the only problem is: trucks cannot get into this village, because the path there looks like this....

So the only option was walking. This left the three of us (Tom Sanches, me, and the local brother Martin Miguel) carrying two and a half boxes worth of literature during a three-hour hike through the jungle and swamps.

Now I'm going to back up a bit here. The following story proved to me the extent of Jehovah's support on this trip.

Our primary objective was to find the teachers in the village of Siparuta (population: 300-400). The purpose for this was so that we could leave literature for use in the schools, and so the teachers could possibly distribute literature to anybody we couldn't reach.

Fast-forward to the ferry taking us to Orealla (remember, the bigger town nearby). There's no space on the floor because the boat was hauling supplies to Orealla, so everybody had to string up hammocks to sit/sleep in....

Now Tom and I hadn't expected this, so we were sitting on the railing of the boat, when a woman nearby points to an empty hammock and offers to let us use it. She says that she had brought her daughter over, and was now going back to Orealla alone. Tom (being the friendly talker he is) asks where the woman lives in Orealla. She says "Oh, I don't live in Orealla. I live in Siparuta."

Tom says "Really? What do you do there?"

"I'm a school teacher."

We were thrilled by this. Tom rapidly explains we plan to come in and try to give literature to some people, and she sounds very interested in the books/magazines/etc. He gets her name (Ruth Christmas) and makes arrangements to visit her when we get to Siparuta.

The boat arrives in Orealla, we meet Martin Miguel (the local), spend the night in a house behind the Kingdom Hall, and the next morning we gathered literature and began our hike into Siparuta.

We arrive, 3 hours later, exhausted and covered in sweat. Tom's trying to figure out where to find Ruth Christmas when Martin says "My wife is related to her. I know where she lives!" When she sees us, she immediately brings cold water and lets us sit on her porch for a while (a while = an hour). During that time, Tom is showing her the books and things he wants to leave with her, when she stops him and says "Wait here a minute." She later returns with three plates full of food! (which contributed to the one hour break)

I couldn't believe how much better we felt after all that! At this point, Tom asks if she knows where the other teachers live, and she says "I don't, but my daughter knows all the teachers in this village! She'll take you to them!" So the three of us depart for preaching, being led through town by an eight-year old girl :)

Eventually, me and Martin split off and started house-to-house as Tom continued to visit the teachers. Finally, the two of us finished the main part of the village, and Martin went off to visit some others he knew already (he actually works in a farm near the town, so he'd gotten a few RVs and studies in the village) and I found Tom right as he talked to the last teacher. We still had some literature, so we asked the girl if she could take us to some of the back roads and houses further away. She was happy to do it! How many eight-year-olds would willingly guide two people around as they talked to every person they saw?

After a while, thanks to this kid's guidance, we covered THE WHOLE VILLAGE!! Every house was preached to! And it was done in ONE DAY! We were so happy about it!

When we arrived back at Ruth's house and met with Martin again, we began discussing the hike back. We weren't too happy about it, because it was 6 PM at this point and a storm was beginning directly overhead. In addition, it gets dark here at 6:30, and we didn't want to spend a few hours in a dark jungle. At this point, Ruth hears us and says "My husband has a boat! Ask him if he can take you to Orealla."

We asked him, and asked how much it would cost if he did  it, and he says "I can take you, and no charge. Just buy me some gas so I can get you there."

So here's what happened: We were fed, given water, guided through the village, and taken back on a boat, and why? Because of talking to one person on the ferry to Orealla. No way that happens without Jehovah's help.

And now, a few totals:

Hours spent preaching: 7 (11 AM-6 PM)
People reached: Over 300
Books placed: 111
Brochures: 109
Magazines: 225
Cost (in U.S. money): $32

The next day, we got to attend the Orealla meeting (Sunday) and Tom did the public talk, and they had me reading the Watchtower. This is due to the congregation having one ministerial servant, who was naturally conducting the Watchtower study.

Brother Lennox, the ministerial servant.

Outside the Orealla Kingdom Hall (behind is the house we stayed in during our visit).

Inside the Orealla Kingdom Hall!

Corentyne river! Burr Oak has nothin' on this!

Well, we had many other experiences on this trip which sadly I just don't have time or space to tell them all (plus, I've gotta have SOMETHING new to tell you all when I get back).

But if anyone wants the name of a good place to work where the need is greater, I've found the perfect place for you!


  1. Sounds like fun. Wish I was there!

  2. that has me really looking forward to leaving ... & also thinking i might need some hiking boots.

  3. Hello, I'm a need-greater sister currently serving the Brighton Congregation here in Guyana and I was just reading your post of your excursion to Siparuta and thought it was really cool! A group of us just got back from Orealla and made that same trip last Tuesday...without all the packages of course! I didn't realize they just started working Siparuta that recently. And of course Tom would be spearheading that work. This makes me miss Orealla already! :-)