3 Things to Know About Guyana

Kaieteur Falls international student voice magazine
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Congratulations Victoria Young studying at Brigham Young University! She won $100 by sharing three things about her home country of Guyana. Learn more about this South American country and how you could be the next winner.

My home country of Guyana, perched on the north eastern shoulder of South America has many wonderful things that people should know about.

1. The Kaieteur Falls

The majestic Kaieteur Falls, thundering down a gorge 741 feet high, is reputed to be the highest single drop falls in the world. Four times the height of the Niagara Falls, twice the height of the Victoria Falls in Africa, its rainbow colored spray is a breathtaking spectacle. It is named after an old Indian Chief called Kaie, who legend says sacrificed himself by sailing his canoe over the falls to appease the spirits from bringing misfortune to his tribe. People should know about this because they will certainly want to see for themselves this awesome unforgettable beauty of nature.

guyana international student voice magazine2. Nature and Animals

The flora and fauna of Guyana is a treasure trove for nature lovers. The Victoria Regia lily is the largest lily in the world. Named after Queen Victoria of Britain, the leaves of the Amazonica species can extend to more than eight feet. Its pink flower in full bloom can measure ten inches. Many species of wild exotic orchids abound in the jungles. Many plants are used for medicinal purposes. Lemon grass, sweetbroom, arrowroot, senna, aloe vera, cascarilla and soursop have always been used for a variety of ailments. The barks of the kapadulla and sarsaparilla trees are alleged to have aphrodisiac properties. Animal lovers will find jaguars, sloths, peccaries, tapirs, capybaras, armadillos, deer, ocelots, various types of monkeys, agoutis, anteaters, otters etc. The anaconda, which can reach a length of more than thirty feet, can swallow an adult cow whole after crushing its bones in its massive coils. Pythons abound, caimans (large crocodiles) look like logs in the water, the yellow poison dart frog, whose poison found on its skin is used to tip the arrows and darts of the native Indians. Huge sea turtles nest on the sandy beaches on the north eastern coastline. The Arapaima, one of the largest freshwater fish in the world rivalling the beluga sturgeon of Russia, grows up to fifteen feet in length and can weigh up to 440 pounds. Finally, people should know about the rarest stamp in the world.

3. British Guiana one cent stamp

On June 18, 2014 a British Guiana one cent stamp was sold for $9.5 million at Sotheby’s. British Guiana was Guyana’s colonial name. In 1856, the local post office ran out of stamps which were printed in England at the time. A local printer printed a batch of four cent and one cent stamps on magenta. On the stamp was the printed image of a ship with the Latin words “Damus Petimusque Vicissim” the motto of the colony which means” We give and seek in return”. In 1873 a Scottish schoolboy in Georgetown found the one cent stamp. He eventually sold it to a local collector for six shillings. The stamp changed hands several times until it was bought by John Du Pont in 1980 for $935,000. Imprisoned in 1996 for murdering a wrestler, he died in prison in 2010. His estate sold the stamp for $7 million more than the previous record for the sale of a Swedish stamp. It is a source of national pride in Guyana that the product of a poor Third World country is the jewel in the crown of the world’s philatelists. Also the country’s original motto “We give and seek in return” although originally coined to mean trading agreements, is still applicable in the world today to mean “compromise”, “give and take” where national hatreds flare up with deadly results.
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Victoria will receive $100 and her article will be featured in the spring 2015 issue of International Student Voice Magazine.

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