Monday, November 29, 2010

A Rupununi Thanksgiving

At first we weren’t going to really celebrate Thanksgiving.  Most of our guests recently have been from England…some how it just didn’t seem to be the appropriate thing to do.  We were sort of feeling out of sorts...our first Thanksgiving away from family and our traditions. But, much to our surprise, the group of guests who arrived were American!  And so the fun began!  We don’t have turkey here….so we decided to have Lukanani (Peacock Bass).  Lukanani is a very special, very tasty local fish. Very pricey in town, but local here in the Rupununi River.  I decided that I was going to cook for everyone!  Staff, Guests, Crew, EVERYONE.  In order to be sure that we would gave enough fish to feed a crowd, of 30 people, I offered a Fishing Contest!  The one who caught the most fish would receive his/her very own chocolate cake!

The Fishing and the Fun began….
 Martien was the winner!!

Then cooking began…
Macaroni and Cheese, Pholourie with Mango Sour, 
Mango/Paw Paw Curry, Rice, Salad

We skyped our family in New Jersey and let everyone say “hello”

We sat down to a full Thanksgiving dinner

with rum soaked fruit filling for Dessert
 Happy Thanksgiving!!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Balahoo, Parakari and the Beasts!

A few weeks back the "Balahoo" from the Village of Simuni arrived at the landing.  They had things to sell; mostly just bananas, plantains and farine (grated and roasted Cassava meal that is the staple of Savannahs). I went down to the landing and did my shopping, while Diane inquired as to where they were going.  They were on their way up river to Yupakari to visit and shop and sell.  They were camping at our landing, at least for tonight.

We did not have any guests and everybody was finally having a breather.  The staff quickly gathered down at the landing and next thing I knew, there were buckets appearing.  There was squeezing of Cassava pulp through strainers and into buckets.   "Parakari" or "Kari" is basically Cassava Beer.  It is fermented for a few days and used to be chewed up and spit out into a large old canoe by the women and left to ferment.  These days the women still do most of the "brewing", but it is made with sugar, instead of saliva.

I put up a good fight. I waylaid two buckets on the way up to the staff quarters.  But it was a loosing battle.  It came round through the bush, through the back, up the path....the staff was down for three days.  It is very difficult to describe the Amerindians on alcohol and they really like it. So, we had to help out with everything.  And the guests came on the third day, but it was only four of them, so we got through it.  I took the Otters down to the river a few times, careful to keep my feet away from their mouths.  Andrea got caught on the top of the rock, waving as the guests were leaving and took her eyes off Philip (the bigger one) for two seconds and nearly had her tendons ripped out. These two are nothing like Buddy.  Don't let that cute face fool you.  They are vicious and powerful beasts. And these are only babies.
Then of course, there is the "Bandito",
who is always into mischief. Toothpaste is his favorite thing!  At night he goes hunting, but often ends up in one (or several) of the cabins checking out what the guests have brought that he might like! All too often, the guests still have the little pink, sweet, sweet, sweet, cookies that they are served on the plane. "Bandito" is famous for unzipping bags and finding them and hiding under their beds and "CRUNCH CRUNCH CRUNCH". He's sweet...but don't trust him either...he too is a wild animal!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Emergency Medical Response Training

All of the equipment arrived for our Emergency Medical Response Training.  Some by boat, some by plane.  Nurse Gravesande arrived and the training began.
After 3 days of intensive training on everything from Childbirth to CPR, from Spinal injuries to massive disaster, we were ready for a DRILL.  The Alarm (our old symbol from Rachel’s drum set) rang out across the compound and we all moved into action as if it were a real emergency!
We work so well together…and very seriously…we got everyone in position and stabilized! 


We practiced again...another SERIOUS DRILL...TWICE!!  After this training, Karanambu became the first lodge in the Rupununi to become certified in Emergency Medical Response!

Special thanks to Captain Malcolm Chan-a-Sue for making this happen. Our gratitude to Nurse Marcia Gravesande, who has become a dear friend to all of us at Karanambu.  And a BIG BIG CHEER to the Staff of Karanambu who where absolutely BRILLANT!