Saturday, April 14, 2012

Rewa - Phase II

Sydney Allicock is the Chairman of the Community Tourism and Amerindian Affairs Committee for THAG (Tourism Hospitality Association of Guyana).
He is also a new Member of Parliament, the former Chairman of the NRDDB (North Rupununi District Development Board), as well as a Trustee of the Karanambu Trust.  When Uncle Sydney asks you to do something, you cannot say "no", you simply figure out how to get it done.
Sydney recruited Andrea as Secretary and Salvador as Treasurer onto the THAG (Tourism Hospitality Association of Guyana) Executive Committee of the Community Tourism and Amerindian Affairs. Our first assignment was REWA Eco Lodge.
As you may remember we were there in November to help them get set up to receive a large group.  This time our assignment was to support them through a big visit.  It was the premier of a documentary on "Catch and Release Fishing" which was filmed in Rewa.  Field and Stream Magazine was sending a journalist with the fisherman.  Costa del Mar sun glass company was also involved.  They are well known for their sponsorship of fishing guides, and have been of tremendous support to Rewa. 

And then there was our good friend and Rewa's good 
friend, Patrick Henry,  who is Chief of Party, 
Guyana Trade & Investment Support 
 ( implemented by  
Carana Corporation (, USAID(
Patrick and Carana have assisted Rewa every step of the way, from loans to teaching organizational skills. They have also been of tremendous support to the Karanambu Trust in assisting us by writing grant proposals, gratis, for which we are most grateful!  The President of THAG, Mr. Paul Stephenson, who is also Chairman of the Board of the Karanambu Lodge, was also coming for the occasion. 

Yonette Roberts, our head cook, who had come on our last trip to Rewa to train the staff, agreed to once again be the third member of our team. We were welcomed with open arms and got straight to work trying to figure out where we were going to put everybody.

Rewa Eco Lodge has 3 self contained cabins which have bathroom open to the stars!  (It's fantastic to take a shower under the stars!)  
And two Benabs with 2 rooms each, and detached bathroom/showers. But we had 20 people and there were only 7 rooms!!!!! Just as we were beginning to panic, our dear friends from Surama Eco Lodge arrived to lend their support! 
Uncle Fred Allicock (Syndey's father) is a legend and a hero to us all.  Just having him around made everything O.K.!  He brought Victorine, his granddaughter who jumped right in. (not quite sure what we would have done without her!)

Uncle Fred said he did not want a cabin, and got to work setting up his hammock overlooking the river.
We decided to put the fisherman and the journalist in the self contained cabins.  The fisherman were there to do "Catch and Release Fly Fishing" The Arapaima is the largest scaled fresh water fish.  It can get up to 400lbs. Buddy, who was one of our orphaned Giant River Otters at Karanambu caught and hauled one out of the river.  Buddy was 6 feet from tip of nose to tip of tail.  This small one was over 86lbs and bigger than him.
Yonette got busy planning menus and teaching 
new recipes
We even convinced Salvador to make Roti one night

More supplies arrived and reorganizing the storeroom made life easier.
We needed another on a small 4 burner stove for 20 people was impossible.  We tried to get a 6 burner, but had to settle for another we ended up with 8!
Rewa Eco Lodge is a community run Lodge, so it was important for us to meet with the Toshao and the members of the Village Council to discuss the restructuring of the management of the Lodge so that they could be more efficient. We explained that the Village Council needed to be more like a Board of Directors and the Lodge had to be run like a business

We walked through the arrow canes to the Village
And held our meeting in the school house

We first spoke in English and then Yonette spoke in Makushi
Afterwards we stuck around and discussed further with Village Council members.
Back at the Lodge we were preparing for the WORLD PREMIER of the first documentary on Rewa!
It was a GREAT success!
Costa del Mar brought T-shirts with the logo of the "Laughing Arapaima Bar".  Which was projected onto the front of the bar and the girls copied it.

It came out pretty good!!!
The whole Village turned out for the movie!
It was soon time to say time to say good-bye to "Freddy" the resident Caiman who they were encouraging to hang out by the landing by feeding him scraps. We did our best to discourage them in this no avail!
After a VERY SUCCESSFUL visit, 
the boats headed off to catch their charter flight at Apoteri - a hour by boat down the river.
This really how communities work together!
When one of us looks good, we all look good!