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By Desilon Daniels “We hearing about how the country doing well and thing but like we ain’t getting the benefits too.”Most of the houses in Angoy’s Avenue are wooden and erected by the residentsAngoy’s Avenue is a seemingly forgotten community.Commonly known as Cow Dam, the Berbice neighbourhood – Guyana’s largest squatter settlement – lies on the outskirts of central New Amsterdam but in the heart of poverty.The area is relatively large and takes several minutes to cover by foot. At first, the community may seem like any other. The roads are not great but are not terrible either; music is playing, and a few shops – even an ice cream parlour – are open.However, as a walk through the community continues, there is a shift; the asphalt eventually turns to mud, concrete houses shift to wooden ones and utility posts all but disappear.In other parts of the world, and even other parts of Guyana, Angoy’s Avenue is the embodiment of neglect and poverty. However, while residents of the community are aware that they are not in the best of circumstances, many of them unbelievably opine that the community is much more developed than it had been before.According to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Guyana has met the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of halving the proportion of people who suffer from hunger. Guyana has also made significant improvements in reducing poverty while increasing employment. “The proportion of the population living in extreme poverty has declined from 28.7 percent in 1993 to 18.6 percent in 2006.  In order to meet the MDG target for poverty reduction, the extreme poverty rate must be reduced by a further four percentage points by 2015,” UNDP has said.While on paper four percent may not seem like much, for persons like Patricia (name changed) of Angoy’s Avenue, any reduction in Guyana’s extreme poverty rate would drastically change her life.Patricia has been living in the poverty stricken community for 11 years. She recalled how the area had been overgrown with bushes when she first arrived. She said that her family went about clearing the bushes and building up a land with old materials before they finally built a tiny shack.“We dig drain at the back and full up the place and so. Long I deh here; when I come here fuh live me ain’t had neighbour or nothing so,” Patricia said.Just over a decade later, Patricia is living on the same land with her five children and husband. “It’s only me that grow up that still living at the back here suh. Now, the people here smoking and drinking and killing.”In fact, she said, there had been a murder just two yards away from her own.The shack has not grown since then and is still one living space with no separations for a bedroom, a kitchen, or even a bathroom.“My house ain’t so proper where I living now,Jerseys NFL Cheap, so I’m trying to save, save lil money to see what I can do. Even if it’s a $200 for the day or what, it’s anything to help and do something proper. Sometimes them children want bring them friends home by we but they can’t ’cause we ain’t get a room here.”Vanessa and her son, JoshuaThough she is married and living with her husband, Patricia is somewhat of a single mother; her husband works on a sugar estate and,Cheap NFL Jerseys, though he is employed, Patricia admitted that his earnings rarely trickle down to the rest of the family.“He like drink so when he leff and gone out and he draw pay, I ain’t even hold a cent. It’s me looking after the children them; you got to say like it’s a one sided affair because when he draw pay you not gon’ see it,” Patricia said. She continued, “He just gonna deh in the rum shop til night time. When he do bring some money I don’t tek it cause when you see you get a man and he does drink, that money don’t bless.”Her husband’s behaviour has left Patricia in a tricky situation; unable to find work,Jerseys Cheap, she had to find a way to take care of her children and last year she opened a little shop in the area.“I decided that I wanted to make a living; when dem children fadda wukking he hardly give them money and so. So, I wanted to help myself get things for the children, especially when they got to get this and that for school.”The shop is not much, but Patricia is proud of it. However, despite the added income, things are still difficult. Patricia noted that the community is one where many are living below the poverty line and cannot afford to support her business.“All of my children take lunch to school every day; the big ones might want a lil money and sometimes when they come home, you got to pay $1,100 to put on a lil internet on your phone so that they can do homework. If you can’t mek it to put on the net, you got to give $200 to send them til out on the main road to a cafe.”She said too that she would often depend on the very goods in her little shop to provide meals for her children.“It’s hard to live in here; nuff time I go out on the road and the people just crying that money ain’t deh, money ain’t deh. For me, sometimes I might see a lil $500 for the day. I still got to try though; I can’t give up.”Especially when it comes to unemployment, residents have noted that there are limited options.One such person is Vanessa, 27, who is financially dependent on her partner.“I don’t wuk; I does just deh home, looking after the children,” she said. Vanessa is a mother of five and is pregnant again. Her oldest child is four-year old Viola. Not all of her children live with her and she tries to visit them at their different locations as often as possible.With no job, Vanessa spends most of her days doing little chores such as feeding fowls. She has cut back on her walking because of her pregnancy. More often than not, she waits patiently for her partner to return from sea. Currently, he is at home but things have not been going well in the relationship,Cheap NFL Jerseys China, she said.“Every time my belly big we don’t agree; when I done get the baby we does be good, good,” she said with a laugh. She knows, however,Air Max 98 Gundam Price, that ending the relationship is not much of a choice.Creating opportunitiesThere are many communities like Angoy’s Avenue throughout the length and breadth of Guyana. Many of them are in rural regions such as Region Six, East Berbice-Corentyne.“A lot of the poverty related problems have to do with governance,” says Region Six Chairman, David Armogan. And while the longstanding chairman has noted that there have been developments in the region, he emphasised that much more is needed to be achieved.According to Armogan, the regional democratic council (RDC) of Region Six aims at eradicating poverty through developmental programmes. These programmes impact on areas which make people’s lives better through the provision of better public infrastructure, housing development, water, and electricity, Armogan said.He said too that the region, within its limited ambit, also works as best as it could to promote economic stability.He noted that the region is one that focuses largely on the agriculture industry and therefore its programmes zero in on opening areas for persons to engage in farming.Further, Armogan said that as part of its aim to build economic independence there are government-funded programmes executed under the region that provide training to youths. Armogan noted that many of the persons in poor, rural communities work primarily in carpentry, subsistence farming and some in the sugar industry. Skills training, he said, goes a long way in helping them find employment.However, while these programmes have been fairly successful, there is need to expand its reach to more people, Armogan said. He said too that while efforts at the regional level are being made, efforts must be simultaneously made at the government level. These efforts, he added, should be multi-sectoral and should focus on identifying the root causes of poverty before any development strategy could be formulated.“For example, with crime, locking a few persons up and putting them in jail is not going to deal with the root causes. Instead, we need to do much more in terms of letting people into agriculture, in terms of improving drainage and irrigation. We have to assist our people in becoming self-sufficient and comfortable,” he said.He noted too the link between poverty and crime and stressed that youth unemployment must be a focus – not only in Region Six but throughout Guyana – to reduce poverty.“Unemployment is fuelling poverty and the poverty is fuelling crime; it’s a vicious cycle and we have a lot of other social problems being fuelled by poverty.”Sustainable development needed“What we could tell yuh about this place?” one woman asked upon my approach. She and two other women were sitting under an old wooden house, “breezing out”. There is not much for them to do during the day once their chores are finished so they sit, talk and watch the children play until nightfall.“It got mo’ house,” the woman, Abiola Wilson, finally said after a moment of thought. “The place got more houses and it develop; it didn’t have this amount of people but now it got plenty,” she added.“What we need behind here is light and water,” another woman, who introduced herself as Shaundelle Ageday, chimed in. “That is the main man behind here. We does try with the lil mud too but if we could get the road done, that would be good. When rain fall it does get nuff mud and water but we make do.”Abiola and Shaundelle have clearly grown accustomed to their circumstances; while many persons might see water, electricity, and proper roads as necessities, these women see them as luxuries.Only some sections of Angoy’s Avenue are privy to electricity. In fact, these sections only received power this year. The provision of power to the community came decades after the area would have formed. Before then, Angoy’s Avenue had the highest amount of illegal connections in Guyana and in 2014 over 1,600 illegal connections were severed.Residents noted, however, that even if they could receive electricity, many of them could not afford to pay the bill. Many of them still have illegal connections.Like Patricia, Abiola and Shaundelle have both lived in Angoy’s Avenue for more than a decade. Abiola has four children while Shaundelle has six and is pregnant with a seventh.The women shared that they are the main providers for their children. “It’s a bit tough providing for them but we try; you got to provide proper thing for them to come to school cause you know children does watch each other. Then you got to prepare things for when they come home,” Abiola explained. She added that her children’s father works in the interior and is therefore unable to spend much time with them. However, this situation will change soon since the father has fallen ill with malaria.“He gon’ come out cause of the malaria so things will be tough,” Abiola said.However, there is one bright spot in life in Angoy’s Avenue. “Christmas time there got people that come around and they give out hampers and tek down names. Depending on the amount of children in a home, they help two or three families with clothes and shoes. Last year people came and we hope they come back this year. At least they come and we had a bright Christmas,” Abiola said.“We does depend pon de hampers and the lil bit we provide for ourselves,” Shaundelle added.The women both admit, however, that these once a year visits are not sustainable but they nonetheless look forward to it.“Is like we people forget we deh at the back hay except when is Christmas; we hearing about how the country doing well and thing but like we ain’t getting the benefits too,Wholesale Jerseys USA,” Abiola said.