(Demerara Waves  21 May 2013)— Representatives from Builders Beyond Borders (B3), the Region 2 Regional Democratic Council, U.S. Peace Corps Guyana, and the U.S. Embassy joined community members for the commissioning of a new roadway linking three of Wakapoa’s islands. 

This G$73.4 million project was made possible through the hard work and dedication of the people of Wakapoa Mission, U.S. Peace Corps Guyana Volunteer Lesley Allenby, and U.S. non-governmental organization Builders Beyond Borders (B3).  The U.S. Embassy also donated books on America and the environment to the Wakapoa Mission school and gave backpacks to the students to support education in the community. 

At a ribbon cutting ceremony May 16 marking the official opening of the road, Region 2 Vice-Chairman Vishnu Samaroo spoke on behalf of the Region 2 administration and Government of Guyana in extending thanks to the contributors and the people of Wakapoa for what he described as the largest project ever undertaken in that community.  Executive Director of Builders, Amy Schroeder-Riggio, thanked Lesley Allenby for her commitment and hard work, and handed over a plaque to the community. Flavio Rose of U.S. Peace Corps Guyana reiterated the agency’s commitment to aid in the development aspirations of the people of Guyana.  B3 Directors Steve Lewine and Tony Sanfilippo as well as Region 2 Executive Officer Sunil Singh were also present at the opening.

The goal of the project was to connect Waipaqua to Yarashima and Myrie, where the majority of the population in Wakapoa resides, by constructing a new road to facilitate safe passage between the islands.  The length of the road from Myrie to Waipaqua is approximately 1,700 feet, while the section from Waipaqua to Yarashima is approximately 1,200 feet.  Waipaqua is home to the Wakapoa Health Post for the community and is accessible only by boat or a dangerous, narrow footbridge.  Waipaqua Village Elder, Mr. Seaford Fredericks said that construction of the road has been a major goal of the community for more than two decades as they explored several options for possible funding.  Help finally arrived in the form of U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer Lesley Allenby who was assigned to the Wakapoa Health Post as a community health volunteer in March 2012.

After assessing the needs of the community and meeting with village elders, Lesley approached Builders Beyond Borders with a project plan.  Builders Beyond Borders engages U.S. high school students in local and global community service projects.  Several meetings later, a group of 37 U.S. high school students arrived in country in February 2013 to work alongside community members on the commencement of the road construction process.  A second group of student volunteers followed in April 2013.  Contributing their labor, both students and villagers pulled logs with ropes and carried sand bags through the swamped savannahs to the project site to develop the road surface.  Financial contributors to the project were Builders Beyond Borders, Digicel Guyana, and Friends and Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Guyana (FROG).

The road was constructed with locally logged wood and materials, mostly without use of machinery.  Eighty-eight percent of the project cost came from the community members through self-help labor.  The new roadway, named “Lesley’s Memory Lane,” is expected to serve the residents of Wakapoa for many, many years to come.






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