Happy Birthday Guyana

One culture with many histories and skin tones.

By Tanoa Rodgers - Peace Corps Volunteer, Guyana (2014 - 2016)


One People 

Many Shades of 

Beautiful skin tones to see


Deepest black so smooth 

Rich browns, tan to caramel

Sprinklings of white, mango and cherry cream

We are the cake and icing too


One People 

We walk...stepping in a rhythmic pattern

Gliding smoothly from left to right

We work We play

We sing We praise

We dance naughtily 

Our Guyana where We are Free



One Culture 

Six People cascading to and fro 

Crisscrossing histories hailing 

From faraway places and nearby forests


One Culture of 

Amerindian beginnings, European history and African drums 

Portuguese movements, Indian melodies and Chinese introspections


I am Amerindian and I am Guyanese

I am European and I am Guyanese 

I am African and I am Guyanese

I am  Portuguese and I am Guyanese

I am Indian and I am Guyanese

I am Chinese and I am Guyanese 



One Celebration


Hail to our Republic

A Carnival Guyanese style


We count Our blessings day by day 

For rich soils, for rice and sugar cane

Vast timberlands stretching miles and miles

Gold, bauxite and diamonds within our grasp

Rivers and plains, waterfalls in abundance everywhere 


We are a rich nation

We are a proud nation

We will find the path to prosperity

Guyana will be number one again

If we dare



One people

One culture

One celebration 


This poem was entered in the Volunteer category for the 2015 Peace Corps Poetry Contest. The contest received more than 1,000 submissions, representing over 50 years of Peace Corps service in more than 100 countries.

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