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Partir, c'est mourir un peu........

These have been eventful months. It’s been a while since we reported from the Amazonian Forest and Rupununi Savannahs; this is not because of a lack of stories. More the other way around; so many things to report and so many things happening that’s it hard to know where to start.
In a nutshell, we got stuck again in the mud after a rainstorm during the rainy season, we lost a good friend and great colleague, we moved house, we went to Europe, via Suriname for a break to visit family and friends in Holland and France, where we both gained 10 pounds (now gone again). In France, we were impressed by the solemn-ness of the first World War cemeteries in Albertville……. As usual the food in France was great (although Christine got a bad food poisoning after some salmon) and "la service", well, what can we say, very French. Upon our return, early September, we were thrown right in the Amerindian heritage celebrations (a month long festival here in the Rupununi, celebrating local …

Surviving the Jungle

 Four months in, we are back in Georgetown, involved in meetings with partners and committees.One thing we have learned about the local culture, the Guyanese LOVE to talk.They put Jelte in the shade, and that’s saying something!!It’s a great opportunity to connect with tourism interests here in Georgetown as there’s certainly a dearth of them in Lethem.

The past few weeks have been spent visiting a number of communities already identified as needy of training of one sort or another.It’s been a wonderful experience, spending extended lengths of time with the villagers, getting to know the individuals, sharing our skills and learning from them.It’s humbling.One of the attractions of the Rupununi is hard-core survival training.There are only a couple of specialist operators that offer this type of thrill.The logistics attached to these programmes are humungous, as you can imagine.Essentially, individuals are dropped at diverse points in the jungle (all alone - this is a exercise in phy…

Imagine This....

We last posted in early May this year.So, dear friends, we must apologise for this long silence. Our bad!!Here in the tropics – and so near to the equator – it’s tempting to return home after a day’s work, pour a couple of Camparis (available across the border in Bonfim) and languish lazily, suspended in the heavy, humid air.We’re told by Roelof that if not used to the tropics, one needs an extra two hours night-time sleep.Very easily done!We don’t have TV (we’ve decided against it) and so have been catching up on our reading, digital and hard copy (thanks Behi and Eddi for the great supply of books).

Now that the rainy season ishere, the nights are a mixture of heavy, still air and pounding rain, which, in Lethem, always originates from the East, at a 70° angleSo there’s a quick, untidy rush to untangle oneself from the mosquito net to get to the windows in time to avoid a flash flood (only half kidding).The sound of the rain is a lullaby; we sleep so well here, with two floor fans …

On The Road Again, Finally........

We are finally heading out, seriously. After two months of introductions, seminars, reports, more introductory meetings and other preparations we are ready to visit the sites and communities, we read and heard so much about but have not yet seen or experienced.


 The company car is deemed fit after a final check up by the mechanic (the roads will be bumpy and rough) and loaded with machetes, torch lights and other field trip necessities, we are ready to roll. We’ll visit the South of the Rupununi first for a variety of reasons. The most important one is that the later during the rainy season (May-September) you travel, the higher the chances will be you get stuck in the mud or be stopped by a swollen, un-crossable river. Before we leave our office in Lethem we, coincidentally, meet with Theodore, a gentle man from the remote village of Maruranau, one of the places we will visit on this trip. Theodore (or Theo) is an artisan, making local crafts out of the natural forest …

Second mosquito report and an authentic, Rupununi, Rodeo

The last couple of weeks have flown by and we just came to the realization that, when we post this blog, we have already been in Guyana for over seven weeks. As reported earlier, we are settling in nicely and we have now come to the point, where most basic necessities have been organized and we can start exploring the region in all seriousness.
On the work side, we have been engaged in all sorts of meetings and seminars, which seem to be hard to avoid here. Although deemed necessary, we feel our work and expertise is more needed “in the field” so we are happy that we managed to create a travel plan for the next three weeks (April 25-May 15 roughly) which will bring us into the real Rupununi, its unspoiled nature, rivers, forests and wild savannahs, which are the main attraction of the region.
The rains also have started arriving, although the locals are reluctant to announce the official start of the rainy season. According to them, the season only starts May first and not a day earl…

39 Beverly Hills Drive......first mosquito report

Although the similarities with zipcode 90210 are very remote, we have landed in Beverly Drive; not in Beverly Hills, CA but in Lethem, Guyana.In a place the size of a few square miles, they have managed to find a house for us on (39) Beverly Drive….. to ensure that we do not get homesick.
Lethem has about 7,000 inhabitants now and has been growing rapidly over the last couple of years. It’s a border town and after the bridge to Brazil was finished four years ago (total population then 3,000) it has seen rapid, unbridled expansion and development.

The new, outer rings of the village are littered with ‘big-box’ super-stores (Savanah Inn, Chinese Superstore, Mr Chans….) where, in the weekends, Brazilians do their shopping. Brazil, officially, doesn’t sell or import Chinese produced goods so for let’s say, ‘less expensive’ stuff, the neighboring Brazilians cross the border to load up on toilet brushes, garbage cans and other (mainly cheap, plastic) merchandise. There is also a movement towa…

Boom-boxes, Birds and Bush-masters



Our memories drift back to October 2010, Dushanbe, the Prospekt Medical Clinic at Rudaki Avenue, the boulevard that dissects the capital of Tajikistan.........
.................As part of the VSO-CUSO in-country training programs, new arriving volunteers have to meet with the staff of an always private local hospital to understand, what living in a new environment means and what bacteria, viruses and rabid dogs are on the loose and will visit the ignorant new-comers (unfortunately with alarming frequency).
In Dushanbe we meet with the (German) Herr Dr. Andreas Hencko, an interesting, quirky and fascinating character. The older volunteers, quite unceremoniously, refer to him as Dr. Death. In a mere 20 minutes he manages to scare the bejeezus out of us hardy volunteers, with stories about the use of un-boiled or untreated water (filter first, boil twice), meat bought at the local markets (immer a definite nein) and food stalls in Dushanbe (stay away from them as far as you can, the apo…