In January of this year, my siblings and I were excitedly planning to return to our homeland Guyana on 6th of April to celebrate the 90th birthday of our beloved Mom.
Two weeks ago, we were greeted with the shocking news that she had passed suddenly. Imagine our devastation! We were all left in a state of panic, scrambling to get flights etc. to rush home to lay her to rest.
I was at my wits end and was watching one of my favourite YouTube videos – IT’S OUR LIFE – ARD. I was inspired to call them, which I did. Learning of my plight, they IMMEDIATELY swung into action.
Two days after that call, I was on my way to Guyana, ticket in hand, complete with ground transportation and contingency funds, ALL COMPLIMENTS OF THIS GROUP, folks I had NEVER MET! You’re probably asking, “who does THAT!” Let me tell you about ARD.
For those who may not be aware, Guyana is a land of 6 races, VERY multi-cultured. Three gentlemen, namely, in order of seniority, ALWYN FIELDS, RICKY MOHAMED and DANNY PERSAUD formed a friendship bond since 2005.
What is REMARKABLE about this friendship is that they dared to defy the religious barriers and sought to show the world that folks of different ethnicity can PEACEFULLY COEXIST.
This group consists of two Indians and one afro-Guyanese. One Muslim, one Hindu and one Christian! Despite the fact that they live in different locations, New York, Florida and Guyana, whenever one visits another, the third one flies to meet them, just to keep the friendship alive.
It was Danny Persaud, who, after realising that each time he changed phones he lost all his memorable videos and moments shared with friends and family was inspired by his lovely wife ALICIA LYNCH to make videos and post to you tube. That way they will be saved forever.
Taking her advice along with inspiration that came from watching one of his favourite shows done by a fellow Guyanese called “Deer meat for dinner”, he flew to New York, discussed it with his pals, and thus in a garage in New York, on the 7th April 2019., using the first letter of each name IT’S OUR LIFE – ARD was officially launched and it’s first video posted.
Not only did they depict cooking Guyanese style every step of the way, from going to the market to pick up the items then the entire cooking process, but even more importantly, they did drive through videos showcasing the developments taking place in the country, the transformations from two-lanes to six-lane roads, major constructions and the vastly changing landscape in terms of housing developments etc.
Almost immediately there was an outpouring of requests from both locals living abroad and foreigners wanting to learn more about Guyana.
The videos couldn’t come fast enough. I myself looked forward to them, because they kept me abreast with the affairs and happenings of the land of my birth. The feelings of nostalgia were real.
Then, Danny Persaud, again, ever reminiscent of his humble upbringing, the days when there wasn’t enough to eat, and clothes generally came from relatives’ hand-me-downs always instilled in his children to be KIND AND GENEROUS.
One year, just as he was preparing to take them for a trip abroad, they shocked him by opting to use the ticket money to prepare hampers and distribute them to the less fortunate.
Not to be outdone, the next month himself and wife decided to use their ENTIRE salary to do the same. Thus, the OTHER element of the group “ACTS OF KINDNESS” was born.
These three gentlemen have traversed the length and breadth of Guyana and even beyond extending their charitable ACTS OF KINDNESS to those in need. A look at their channel IT’S OUR LIFE-ARD can testify to this.
They have braved wind and rain and rough rivers to bring relief and rescue to those in need. Everything is CAREFULLY DOCUMENTED AND ACCOUNTED FOR.
Those who readily donate because they see and want to be part of the good works of these gentlemen are ALWAYS given credit and whatever they contribute is handed over or spent to buy foodstuff in a TRANSPARENT manner.
ARD seeks to change the demographics and perception of Guyana, to showcase the beauty of the country and mostly to prove that despite our ethnic and religious differences we are all one people and can try our very best to embrace each other.
Through the Youtube channel, those senior citizens and shut-ins and folks who for medical reasons, cannot travel are afforded the opportunity to sit in the comfort of their living rooms and still be able to witness the changes taking place in their homeland and upon request can even view the areas near and dear to their hearts as they live out the twilight years of their lives.
ARD seeks NO PERSONAL RECOGNITION. Their ONLY request from those, like me, who have benefited from their ACTS OF KINDNESS, is to PAY IT FORWARD. They are conscious that No condition is permanent.
Danny Persaud himself is forever talking about the way he grew up in Hampton Court, Essequibo and how his circumstances changed for the better. This is his inspiration to help others in a positive and meaningful way.
The only request this group of gentlemen have is, when your circumstances change for the better, when you get an opportunity, HELP AT LEAST ONE PERSON!.
You don’t need to PAY BACK, instead PAY IT FORWARD… Let’s change the world for the better. ONE PERSON AT A TIME!!
IT’S OUR LIFE- ARD, TAKE A WELL-DESERVED BOW!!!