|The 'highway' between Georgetown and Lethem|
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 cooking competition, arrow and bow making challenge, cassava grating and the “how to make a fire without matches in a second” contest. Other, more rowdy events, involve the paracara (the local beer, brewed from cassava, tastes like spiked coffee) drinking competition; that’s, btw, typically the time to leave the festivities.
All in all, it’s a good way to ease back into things but after two weeks of almost continuous celebrations, we are ready to start our training sessions with the communities again.
Having been here now for almost nine months (we write end of November 2014), we have mapped out plans to start working with the different villages, that have an interest and potential for tourism and we are raring to go into the field again. We have now visited most of the communities several times and have gotten into training sessions with the several of the main actors quite enthusiastically. For those with serious travel plans or just a genuine interest, follow this blog; we will report on places of interest you might be visiting in the near future.