Most people have never heard of Guyana.
It’s a teeny little country along the northeast coast of South America, and it’s also where Michael & I have been living for over a month now.
I’ve been super busy with my work here, but I wanted to write a quick post orienting you guys to my new home away from home. And what better way than an internet-style pub quiz?
So grab a beverage or some chicken wings, pretend you’re in a crowded bar, and test your knowledge (or your luck) with these 10 multiple choice questions.
Ready? Here it goes!
Question #1: What is the official language of Guyana?
Answer: The official language is English!
(Yes, there’s also a French Guiana, and they do speak French, but I’m talking about plain ol’ Guyana, y’all.)
It’s the only country in South America where English is the official language, and despite its location, Guyana is actually considered a Caribbean country due to its strong cultural, historical, and political ties with other Anglo Caribbean countries.
However, while English is the official language, most locals speak an English-based creole language (known as “Creolese”).
Question #2: When did Guyana officially gain its independence from Britain?
Answer: Guyana achieved independence in 1966!
I was surprised by this. That’s pretty recent history, y’all! In 2016, they celebrated their 50th anniversary as an independent country.
And you see their Jubilee celebration seal all over EVERYTHING. It’s on stickers, cars, t-shirts, store windows, pens, and even the airplane we flew to Kaieteur.
Question #3: Guyana is approximately the size of what US state?
Answer: Guyana is about the size of Idaho!
It’s 83,000 square miles: 495 miles north to south, and 290 miles east to west.
However, there are also some border disputes. Venezuela claims a pretty big chunk of Guyana’s land mass to the north, and Suriname claims some area to the east. Soooo…. The size of Guyana does kind of depend on who you ask.
Question #4: What is the average temperature in the capital city of Georgetown in January?
a) 79 F
b) 65 F
c) 57 F
d) 45 F
Answer: 79 F!
And the average temperature in Georgetown in July is 81 F. Sooo basically it’s just hot all year round. In fact, instead of the four seasons you might think of (summer, fall, winter, spring), they divide the year into “rainy seasons” and “dry seasons.”
Umbrellas are used year-round for either heat or rain.
Question #5: What is the number one export of Guyana?
Answer: Guyana’s biggest export is sugar!
Guyana produces one of the world’s finest raw sugars, and it’s all the rage in London tea shops. So keep an eye out for Demerara sugar if you want to be extra fancy with your spot of tea!
Sugar, gold, rice, and bauxite are the most profitable exports and account for almost 80% of sales to overseas markets. Other exports include shrimp, timber, diamonds, and rum.
***AND NOW A QUICK WORD FROM OUR SPONSOR!***
Please enjoy this view from our taxi and a lovely radio jingle for a local Georgetown supermarket.
(Also, please note that Survival Supermarket does not actually sponsor The Travel Medley in any way, shape, or form. I’m just being silly.)
***AND WE’RE BACK! TO THE SECOND HALF OF THE GUYANA TRIVIA QUIZ!***
Question #6: What is the most popular sport in Guyana?
Answer: Cricket is the most popular sport!
Cricket was introduced by the British and is played in every part of Guyana.
The basic rules go like this: A bowler pitches the ball at a batsman, trying to hit the stumps or wicket behind him. If the batsman hits the ball well enough, he runs the length of the pitch and scores a run. Fieldsmen try to run out the batsman by hitting the wicket with the ball before the batsman reaches it.
Question #7: Which of the following can you find in the executive branch of the Guyanese government?
b) Prime Minister
c) Vice President
d) A & B
e) A & C
f) All of the above
Answer: All of the above!
Yup. There’s a President, who is chief executive and head of state. He appoints the Prime Minister (who is also the first Vice President and head of government). Then the President also appoints a second Vice President (or three, or four?!?) and a cabinet of nineteen ministers.
The responsibilities of the ministers include education, health, housing, finance, agriculture, foreign affairs, culture, youth & sports, marine resources, and Amerindian affairs.
(And if you think that seems like an awful lot of people to govern a very small country, I’m going to have to agree with you.)
Question #8: Which of the following is a national holiday in Guyana during the month of October/November?
a) Halloween & All Saint’s Day
c) Bonfire Week
d) The Celebration of His Presidency
Answer: Diwali is a national holiday in Guyana!
The majority of people in Guyana are of East Indian or African descent. East Indians make up 43.5% of the population, and as such, Diwali has become a national holiday. It’s celebrated with lots of lights, fireworks, and specially made sweets.
In Guyana, many religions coexist. Despite each person having his or her own faith, they also respect and celebrate their neighbor’s traditions and holidays. So everybody, regardless of religion, will take a day off from work and celebrate Diwali.
(This holds true for Christian and Muslim holidays as well.)
Question #9: Approximately how many species of plants occur in Guyana?
Answer: Approximately 8,000 species of plants occur in Guyana (half of which are found nowhere else!)
Guyana has one of the highest levels of biodiversity in the world. And unlike other areas of South America, approximately 70% of the natural habitat remains untouched.
Question #10: The Waiwai, an Amerindian tribe in Guyana, requested a specific item from a British scientific and exploration society. What was the item?
a) a deep freezer
b) a computer
c) a pickup truck
d) a grand piano
Answer: A grand piano!
And the piano went on quiiiite a trip to arrive in one piece, you guys.
It was first brought to Georgetown, Guyana’s capital city. From there, the piano was flown 2.5 hours into the interior of the country. Then it was strapped to a sled and dragged across the savanna. And finally, it was taken on a 30 foot long dugout canoe to the Waiwai village.
(LOL WHAT. How crazy is that? Here’s the follow-up story.)
And that concludes the Guyana Trivia Quiz!
We won’t talk about your score, because I already know that everyone did horribly on this quiz.
That’s okay. Humble up, my friends.
At least now, you don’t think Guyana is in Africa, and you don’t think I’m here practicing my Spanish, and maybe you also retained a few other fun facts about this little-known country!
(At the very least, I hope you took my suggestion and partook in a beverage and some chicken wings.)