Remembering things that changed our lives

Dear Editor,
As a young man growing up in Sophia, a community that was heavily populated and dominated by children whose life were much different from those in other developed communities, I have always cherished the fond memories of the Christmas season, and the endless possibilities of hope it offered me.
Sophia was then deemed underdeveloped because of its lack of adequate infrastructure, including proper sanitation, safe water supply, electricity, and street drainage. Despite the hard reality of our lives, the children rallied with excitement during the Christmas season, as they knew that Christmas Day was fast approaching, and the Sophia Annual Christmas Party was a sure event.
The Christmas Party was an annual event hosted at the residence of Ms Cameron, a volunteer and social activist in ‘B’ Field, Sophia. This party was sponsored by the children of Hope Outreach Program, run by Ms. Cameron… This party catered to, and touched the lives of, hundreds of children throughout the community. The then President and now Vice President, Dr Bharrat Jagdeo, made it his duty to attend. This made the day for us, to know the then President would join us and sit on the ground of my mother’s living room to have pepperpot and bread with us. It was a joy to see and be a part of that. When Christmas was finished, the talk of the day was the President who took time out from his busy schedule to spend time with us, the children of Sophia, on Christmas Day. It was an honour. It made us feel we mattered, even though the roof, made of old zinc, was leaking, we mattered; we were human.
It gave us hope, and it made a big impact in our lives today, to dream outside the box that all things are possible. His generosity and dedication to this event cemented my mind and the minds of many others that experienced these festivities. The children would then get engaged in games, singing, etc., be served lunches and be presented with their gifts, and then they left. The smiles on their faces were priceless, and for this one day, all their worries went away. This would be their day, and it would be constantly brought up until the next year.
So, I feel a way when I see people trying to make him out to be a hater of black people. Jagdeo never asked for our votes, and never brought the press/media, but he was there every Christmas. In fact, I never voted for the PPP/C (People’s Progressive Party/Civic) until the last election.
My mother told us about what happened in the 1990s, when I was about three years old. She was a squatter residing in Sophia when David Granger led the Army and they came and broke down our houses and beat some persons in the village. She had to hide with me, along with my brother and sister, in trenches until they were gone. President Cheddi Jagan then sold the people in Sophia house lots for only (8000) eight thousand dollars Guyana currency. Much is needed in my life and in the lives of Guyanese, but I would gain nothing by lying on this man and spreading hate.

Jermaine Cameron