The local Macushi people still hunt using the traditional bow and arrows. The main prey are the smaller mammals such as agouti or maybe tapir if they are lucky.
Seeing Bernard walking towards us with his traditional hunting equipment, it seemed somewhat out of place for him to greet up with a firm "Good morning!" Forgetting that English is the official language of Guyana, you don't expect a greeting in your own language!
During our visit we were given a guided tour of the research lab, which was absolutely fascinating. I have never before actually stayed at a research centre, and the whole experience was very novel. It made me feel like an explorer rather than a tourist.
In the lab were found many computers (of course), glass jars with various specimens (spiders and snakes mainly), dried nuts and fruits found in the forest, skulls and skeletons of some animals and numerous reference books amongst other things.
Most of the people who live in Fairview Village are from the Amerindian tribe called Macushi. They have lived in this area for hundreds of years, and are now a thriving community. Once close to extinction, it is now the second largest indigenous group in Guyana.
The main crop of this area is the cassawa, which is also the staple food of the Macushi people. It is used as a vegetable, and also bread is made from it.
It is the root which is mainly used, whereas the leaves can also be eaten, once the poisonous substances have been removed.Alcohol can also be made from Cassawa.
One evening, the rangers gave us a very interesting presentation on the history and objectives of Iwokrama, its reasearch and biodiversity management.
It really is a fantastic project, involving many organisations and people. If you are interested in finding out more about what goes on at Iwokrama, check out the link below.
Ecotourism generally defined as touring a natural area while conserving the environment and preserving the interest of local people.
Iwokrama is focusing on ensuring that it becomes financially self-sufficient through Ecotourism.
The local Macushi comminity in Fairview Village, use the slash and burn method to create arible land where they can grow vegetablers, mainly cassawa.
While we were busy climbing Turtle Mountain, the boat men had been out fishing for our supper! And very tasty it was too!