Tag Archives: Rupununi

Guyana’s Waterways – By Dave Martins

Guyana’s Waterways – By Dave Martins

Dave Martins

Stabroek News – Sunday 27 Jan 2019

Growing up in Guyana, or coming here to live, our waterways are part of your life. For me, growing up in West Demerara at Hague, in a house by the seaside, it was the rowdy Atlantic, a hundred yards away, and the long straight canal running from the village road, straight as an arrow, about a mile, past the train line, all the way to Hague Backdam where farmers planted rice and kept cattle.

Later, as we moved to live at Vreed-en-Hoop, travelling daily to school in town, it was the Demerara River, with the government ferry boats – Querriman; Lady Northcote; and the small, appropriately named, Hassar – where we would watch the few small cars on deck, with wooden chocks holding them in place. Surely they would be pitched into the sea when the Hassar rolled – and roll it did, but the chocks held.      Continue reading

Short Story: GUYANA-  Savannah Vacation – By Geoff Burrowes

GUYANA-  Savannah Vacation – By Geoff Burrowes

Here are some of my recollections from my dear land of Guyana

It is 1953, and I was 9 years old when a friend invited me to his father’s ranch in the Rupununi Savannah of Guyana, to spend the holidays.

His name was Peter Gorinsky and he was very different from the other boys in our neighbourhood. He was tall and lived next door only during the school term. The rest of the time he lived on his father’s ranch which was in the Rupununi Savannah, over 300 miles South of my town, Georgetown, the capital city of British Guyana (Now Guyana).

Most of my friends were, like myself, town boys and we took some of Peter’s tales as being tall and self-promoting. However his was a very different life as I was about to discover.

My parents agreed to the invitation and early one morning Richard King’s father pulled into our driveway. Richard was a teenager, a friend of Peter’s older brother Conrad, he was also going to spend the August holiday with the Gorinskys.   Continue reading

SNAKE CUT – By Hugh Yearwood

SNAKE CUT – By Hugh Yearwood

Hugh Yearwood

I treat my own bouts of hiraeth by writing about my experiences as a child growing up in Guyana. I was fortunate to travel and work in the interior and luckily kept an irregular journal during the years 1980-1981. I left Ebini Ranch in 1983 to study veterinary medicine in Poland where I have remained since.  Here is my first story – Snake Cut.

A story about overcoming fear of snakes at Kabawer Ranch using alchemy.

Snake Cut vial

Snake Cut vial

“Snake! Snake!” – The children scattered. The high octave warning would do that. It caused our eyes to dart left and right, hearts pumping loudly against eardrums as the adrenalin surged. That startling call was able to interrupt us even when we were making much louder noises with our calcium carbide-mixed-with-spittle and shaken-in Ovaltine tin bombs. Come to think of it what a nice, long winded name for those ‘harmless’ bombs.

“Snake! Snake!” The alarm call would ring! Stay and get closer for a glimpse as it slithered on its menacing way? Or should I trust the others to keep it in sight, run for the cutlass and be the one to make the heroic kill?  Continue reading

The Versatile Ité Palm of Guyana – By Dmitri Allicock

The Versatile Ité Palm of Guyana

By Dmitri Allicock

 The majestic Ité Palm of Guyana is a native palm of Guyana, commonly found growing nearby its vast waterways of rivers, creeks and wetlands.

Palms have been important to humans throughout much of history and are among the best known and most extensively cultivated plant families. Palms are valued as an important food source and provide valuable ingredients in many household products. In many historical cultures, palms were symbols for such ideas as victory, peace, and fertility. In Assyrian religion, the palm is one of the trees identified as the Sacred Tree connecting heaven, represented by the crown of the tree, and earth, the base of the trunk. Today, palms exotic and captivating appearance remain a popular symbol for the tropics and vacations.   [Read more  The Versatile Ite Palm Of Guyana]

The Giant River Otter or “Water Dog” of Guyana

Giant River Otter

Stabroek News –  February 10, 2013  – In In the Rainforest

The Giant River Otter, ‘Water Dog’ or ‘River Wolf’ (Pteronura brasiliensis) is the most endangered mammal in the neo tropics as they were once hunted for their fur.

Today they are protected and it is illegal to trap them for the pet trade or for their pelt. They are found across north-central South America and they can be commonly seen in the rivers and lakes in Iwokrama and the North Rupununi; Diane McTurk is world renowned for her work rehabilitating Giant River Otters at Karanambu in Guyana.   Continue reading

Mega farm by Barbados investors taking shape in Rupununi

Mega farm by Bajan investors taking shape in Rupununi

Posted By Stabroek editor On March 16, 2013 |  Comments

A Barbados company is pushing ahead with a mega farm in Region Nine which will have rice as its centre piece.

The Government Information Agency last night said that along with the cultivated areas, Santa Fe has almost completed a state-of-the-art rice mill with huge silos which will be used to store the paddy harvested from the large fields.

GINA said that the project – operated by the Simpson family of Barbados – will be expanding the current cultivation by an additional 980 acres by the end of June this year. This will make it a total of 1000 acres of upland rice being cultivated with the zero tillage technology/method.   Continue reading

The railway discussion of the earlier twentieth century

Hinterland Development discussions 100+ years ago…..

The railway discussion of the earlier twentieth century

Part I – By Gwyneth George

Discussions on railway development in British Guiana have always tended to focus on the East and West Coast railways. These instalments are based on the discussions of the period 1902-1917 regarding proposed schemes for railway development in British Guiana for the purpose of penetrating the hinterland.
  [more]

Part II

Part I examined the proposal of 1902 made by Mr. M.L. Hill, President of RA&CS with regard to railway development for the hinterland of British Guiana. This instalment will examine some of the responses to Mr. Hill’s proposal and alternative proposals for the Central Trunk line.   [more]

Amerindians – The Wai Wai

Amerindians – The Wai Wai

by Peter Halder

The Wai Wai is now an endangered Amerindian tribe in Guyana. In 2007, according to International Cry online website, there were only 240 Wai Wai left in Guyana.

Amerindian Tribes
The Wai Wai is one of nine indigenous Amerindian tribes in Guyana. The others include the Patamona, Arecuna, Macusi, Wapisiana, Carib, Warrau, Arawak and Akawaio.

Meaning
Wai Wai means “tapioca people” and they were given that name because of the enormous amount of the tapioca (cassava) they eat.

Early History
The Wai Wai people and its tribal territory were discovered by the famous explorer R. Schomburgk during his exploration of the province of Essequibo in 1837.

Religion
U.S. Protestant Missionaries established a permanent Christian Mission near the Wai Wai tribal area in the 1950s. The Paramount Chief of the Wai Wai and his tribe converted to Christianity by the end of the 1950s.

Location
The Wai Wai live in small remote villages in the southernmost tropical forest of Guyana. They migrated from Brazil in the early 19th century and their population increased to some 1,250. As the tribe expanded , so too did trade and marriage contracts. When the Protestant Mission was established, nearly all the Wai Wai relocated near to it. In the 1970s, due to the uprising in the Rupununi area and events that followed, there was massive re-migration of the Wai Wai back to Brazil. By 1989, there was only one major tribal area remaining.

Dialect
The Wai Wai dialect is similar to that of the Carib. The Umana Yana Amerindian structure in Kingston, Georgetown, is a Wai Wai word meaning “meeting place.”

Tribal Land
Their tribal land, to which they hold title, covers about some 2,300 square miles. The area is known as Konashen and includes the headwaters of the mighty Essequibo River.
The paramount Chief of the people is the Kayaritomo. The Medicine Man is called a Yaskomo.                Continue reading

Aranaputa women open peanut butter factory

Aranaputa women open peanut butter factory

March 21, 2010 – Jobs are scarce in the Rupununi. A majority of the mainly Amerindian population farm but markets for produce are scarce too. So it was with a sense of accomplishment that a group of women in Aranaputa, North Rupununi last week celebrated the opening of a new peanut butter factory in the community.

They started with the aim of improving the social and economic welfare of their village, Leona Bremner of the Aranaputa Processors Friendly Society (APFS) said. Peanuts are one of the main crops grown in the savannah region to earn money. The women produced and sold salted peanuts but this was not enough.

In 2002, a local team of peanut farmers joined with the Universities of Georgia and Florida to start the Peanut CRSP (Collaborative Research Support Programme) – Guyana project. The 2004 peanut crop reached an all-time high but this coincided with an increase in imports of peanuts from China, a glut in the Georgetown market, thus lower prices to peanut farmers.  A search for new markets led to negotiations with the Ministry of Education for the purchase of school snacks made from locally grown peanuts, cassava and fruits. The Ministry agreed to a six-month pilot project in seven villages in Region Nine. In January 2005, the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives committed funds for the purchase of tools and equipment for the pilot and by February, groups of women were active in the seven villages. By June that year, they were in operation, producing a peanut butter, cassava bread and fruit juice snack for 1,400 students.

Aranaputa was one of the villages. They started under a thatched roof in the compound of the Aranaputa Primary School, Yvette Benjamin of the APFS recalled. She said in the beginning, they purchased cassava and fruits from farmers in the community. They also sold salted nuts and peanut butter in and around the community. It was “very challenging” she said, noting that they baked the cassava bread in the traditional way – on a wood fire.

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USAID Guyana Mission Director, Carol Horning (top right) looks on as a woman prepares cassava bread at the peanut butter factory in Aranaputa last Thursday.

Bremner added that it took twelve and a half hours to produce 100 pounds of peanut butter by hand. Last week, with the new equipment, they produced the same amount in an hour, she said. The group also purchased 400 pounds of the nuts per year but plan to purchase thrice that amount this year. At the end of 2005, the seven cottage industries were selling $20 million in the snacks to the Education Ministry, Jerry La Gra of the NGO Society for Sustainable Operational Strategy (SSOS) said. SSOS was formed in 2007 to ensure ongoing training and technical support to the women.

With funding and support from several organisations including the Canadian government and the US Ambassadors Self-Help Fund, the factory was built. It was also equipped and has storage capacity. Canadian High Commissioner, Francois Montour, said that they provided close to $3 million. “We have to pay tribute to the women,” he said at the formal opening of the factory last Thursday. US Embassy Charge d’Affaires, Karen Williams, as well as Agricul-ture Minister Robert Persaud and Amerindian Affairs Minister, Pauline Sukhai, were also present at the opening.

The group plans to expand their market. In January, SSOS and the Education Ministry signed an agreement to expand the school snack programme from seven to 33 villages in Region Nine, integrating over 4,000 new nursery and primary school students. Five of the new villages have already started operations and were serving snacks made using the peanut butter made in the factory, La Gra said. He said that by next year, earnings are projected to be $34 million, which would remain in the local economies.

Currently 50 women have steady jobs and this is projected to double by December. There are market opportunities for over 300 farmers and this is projected to reach 500 by next year, La Gra said. He noted that over 15 groups from the private and public sectors, including governmental ministries and bilateral and international organisations collaborated to make the project a success.

Bremner noted that they had already been selling peanut butter to small businesses within the community and said the group plans to serve the region and country. They also plant to produce jams and jellies from local fruits, she said.

URL to article: http://www.stabroeknews.com/2010/stories/03/21/aranaputa-women-open-peanut-butter-factory/