Vishal Singh paces nervously around his family's stucco home in Bartica, a town in northern Guyana overlooking the Essequibo River. A few months earlier, gunmen under cover of night had ambushed the community, an outpost for gold and diamond miners operating in the country's wild interior. The bandits robbed two gold trading stations, including one run by Singh's father in their home. The family survived by escaping to a fortified hiding place. Afterwards the Singhs fled town. Only Vishal has returned.
A NewsHour poetry segment on poet and writer Kwame Dawes aired on Tuesday October, 7 on PBS. Kwame is a Pulitzer Center grantee whose work with the Pulitzer Center culminated in the project HOPE: Living and Loving with HIV in Jamaica and the interactive site www.livehopelove.com. Kwame recently read at Busboys and Poets in Washington D.C. with a NewsHour crew on hand.
HOPE: Living and Loving with HIV in Jamaica
"It's about soul. It's about humanity. It's about beauty, and beauty can be ugly. But it's still beauty." - Kwame Dawes
Poet, writer, and Pulitzer Center grantee Kwame Dawes read from his forthcoming book of poetry and discussed the experiences that inspired his work early Monday evening at Busboys and Poets.
Dawes' work, "Hope", is an assemblage of poems he wrote while exploring and reporting on the parts of Jamaica hit hardest by HIV and AIDS for the Pulitzer Center last winter and spring.
GEORGETOWN, Guyana -- In a remote area of southern Guyana earlier this month, security forces tried to surround the country's most-wanted criminal and his gang of well-armed fugitives in their jungle hide-out. But after a fierce firefight, in which authorities say three police officers were wounded and one of the fugitives was killed, the gang escaped deeper into the bush to continue its fight another day.
Early last year, Annesha Taylor's face was plastered on billboards across Jamaica. She was living with HIV, taking her medication, eating well and, above all, "getting on with life."
I'm on my second day in Georgetown. Remarkable city; a national capital dominated by two story, peaked-roof wooden houses, many with ornate gingerbread trimming (the influence of Dutch and British colonialists), but up on stilts. Cars, trucks, scooters and the odd horse-drawn carriage clog the streets. The shops you pass range from internet cafes and cellular phone stores to stores selling mining equipment. Children play on open fields in the city center while cows and horses graze nearby. The clash of epochs here is disorienting.
In a society like Jamaica, any talk about HIV/AIDS is going to be about secrets, about taboos, and about the private lives of people.