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Beyond Volunteering: Exploring Guyanese Culture Through Cricket

I volunteer at St. John Bosco Boys’ Orphanage, one of the service sites in Guyana. While much of my time during the week is spent working at my service site, my community member, Emily, and I try to spend our free time adventuring throughout Georgetown and participating in Guyanese culture.

My favorite experience so far was when Guyana won the Caribbean Premier League (CPL), a cricket tournament throughout the Caribbean. Guyana was hosting the CPL this year so many people were excited. One of my coworkers told me that the Guyana Amazon Warriors are a good team and tend to make it to the finals or semifinals but have never won the tournament. On the weekends we like to visit St. John Bosco boy’s orphanage to spend time with the boys, and during this time the boys were playing cricket almost every afternoon. Some of the older boys tried explaining the rules of cricket to us and how the scoring works so we could start to understand a little bit better.

The Guyana Amazon Warriors were doing very well and ended up making it to the finals against the Trinbago Knight Riders. The match was on a Sunday evening and one of our friends invited us to go out to watch the match. We went to a little restaurant bar and the building was crowded with people wearing jerseys and waving flags. People shouted and cheered throughout the whole match and sang and danced during the halftime performances. To me, it seemed like the CPL tournament is almost like the Caribbean version of the Super Bowl.

Watching the cricket match, learning about the sport, and seeing the community and country pride was really amazing and I am so grateful to be part of that experience. The Guyana Amazon Warriors bowled first and kept the Trinbago Knight Riders to a shockingly low score. The Guyana Amazon Warriors started slowly when it was their turn to bat, gaining only a few points at a time. Eventually, they started scoring more runs and it seemed like Guyana had a chance to win the tournament. Towards the end of the game, everyone in the restaurant was standing and chanting for the batter to hit a 6 and win the game. He did just that and for the first time ever Guyana won the CPL. Everyone in the restaurant was cheering and singing. I could hear people talking about how they were not going to work the next day and how it would likely be a holiday.

While not officially a holiday, many schools and businesses closed the following day for the cricket carnival. My school canceled classes so I was able to go to the cricket carnival. I went downtown with a friend and we walked along the streets with the different dance groups and floats. Eventually, we found the float with the cricket team holding the championship trophy. People were lined all along the streets to stand and watch the parade go by, including the employees of the few businesses that remained open. We walked all the way from downtown to the seawall with the parade. At the end, the streets were blocked off and a stage was set up for live music. There were also small food and drink stands open for people to stay and celebrate.

I loved getting to learn about cricket and experience a historic sporting event. It was a unique and exciting time to be in Guyana that I never could have expected and I am so grateful for these memories!

Micaela Deutsch: Georgetown, Guayana

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