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Showing posts from 2015

A jungle within a jungle, caterpillar rains

As today is Earth Day (April 22), we have planted two ‘neem trees’ and one ‘cherry tree’ in the CI office grounds.  The ‘trees’ are probably just a foot high now,  but given that the rains will be with us soon, chances are that they will be strong saplings before we depart South American shores.  The ‘cherry’ trees here are not quite the conventional cherry with which most of us are familiar.  The small fruit – more orange than deep red – is used to make a fresh fruit drink and without added sugar has a tart flavor.  Like many fruit trees, it has two seasons and is hugely popular with kids, who snack on the fruit like its candy.   I always believed the neem was indigenous to India, but now I’m not that sure.  Mangoes, cashews, tamarind, coconut, carambola, jamun, papaya, pineapple, custard apple, golden apple (aamra), guava, and so much more are ubiquitous all over Guyana.  It’s a challenge to find out what was introduced and what originated here.      It’s been raining quite a bit her…

Beyond the Rupununi

Today is a day of celebration for us;  exactly a year ago we landed in Georgetown.  We can still remember the excitement in the pits of our stomachs when we saw the advertisement, inviting interested applicants to respond to an invitation to work with local Amerindian communities in the south of Guyana.... one of the three Guianas  - the other two being French Guyana (still a part of France, so no visa necessary for Europeans, and Suriname, which the Dutch (like the British did to Guyana) happily returned to their rightful owners.  So, here we are and apart from the fact that one is not tripping over wildlife and primary forest at every step, we have certainly not been disappointed. 
John Gimlette's book 'Wild Coast' brings this part of the world to vivid  and at times, shocking, life.  Since our arrival in March last year, we have visited Suriname (Paramaribo), where one can live the life of the Dutch knowing that summer really does last longer than just one day in the ye…

Rainman.......

 Sitting and teaching in the middle of the Amazonian Forest near the village of Rewa (current population 284) where the Rewa and Rupununi rivers meet, Dicky, one of the part time managers of the local eco- lodge, stops our conversation abruptly and puts a finger to his lips. Silence…… We halt talking about the finer details of international sales and marketing and how to prepare for higher gas prices in 2015. “ I smell the rains”, he says. “ It’s gonna be wet tonight”. Overhead, not a cloud in the sky, the sun is relentlessly beating down on us. We don’t see, hear or smell a thing. We don’t doubt him though, we can’t, we have to believe him. We have learnt very quickly here that the people who inhabit the rainforests and have lived here for generations, know, smell and see things we can’t even begin to think of. As a result, they are excellent guides; they have this uncanny ability to see or detect wildlife before we even hear it, know where the fish are (do they love fishing) an…

Life must go on....




It’s hard to get going again after the passing of our colleague and friend. Since we operated as a team, we have to readjust and re-arrange. We have to move on and a replacement has to be found for the agricultural position. We just returned from our break in Europe and we find ourselves in what is called Heritage Month. The several Amerindian communities in Guyana celebrate their culture, indigenous customs and history during a month long celebration and, as we find out pretty quickly, this is not the time to start talking about the finer details of promotion, tourism trade fairs or budget issues. So, together with our colleagues and friends, we immerse ourselves in the celebrations. Excellent opportunity to build relationships. One of the many nice things of these celebrations is that it’s not a commercial event (yet), more a gathering of like minded souls having a good time. Refreshing and charming in our eyes. Small-town affairs really.
We witness the local pepper pot coo…