Even if someone tells you the mountain is more like a hill... the mountain is still a damn mountain!

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South America » Guyana » North Rupununi » Rewa
September 28th 2013
Published: September 30th 2013
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<strong style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;">Tuesday 24th September 2013

Ahh, forgot to mention another frog/toad incident. So before I went on the Grass Pond adventure, I was tossing up wearing boots or just flip flops. I grabbed the shoe and knocked I against the windowsill expecting a spider to come out but instead it was just a little toad!! I left him there and opened up the windows more so he could jump out but he didn’t seem to want to move. When I came back from the adventure, I had just assumed he was gone. I went to bed with the mosquito coil on because there were a ton of bugs out. When I woke up this morning and made my bed, opened the windows, there was the little toad friend again, just sitting on the floor. I felt bad that he may have been there all night with the smokey coil! I’m a little afraid to pick him up, plus I have 80%!D(MISSING)EET on so Toria picks him up and places him into another spot. I also make sure that I have stuffed the shoes with socks so no more creatures take up residence in them!

We headed over to watch the school sports again in the morning and it was already extremely hot, I don’t know how the kids manage it. We stay for a little bit and decide to come back after the lunch break. During lunch, the pregnant iguana (with eggs) comes back for a visit. She came by yesterday and as we got closer to her, she ran off towards the river. We were half expecting her to swim across the river but she didn’t and we left her alone. This time, she was just chilling out in the middle of the clearing and she didn’t seem to mind that were approaching her, slowly. I managed to take a couple of fairly close photos and Sheena was trying to get it to move a bit so a stick was on top of the iguana. Toria moves closer to get the stick off and just as she grabs the stick the iguana runs off and all can hear is some strange shocked noise coming out of Toria and my loud cackle at the hilarity of it all! On the previous day, I asked Ken how many eggs there will be and he says 200, I give the shocked face and they all start laughing because I have misunderstood! It’s 200 in a lifetime and maybe 20 eggs at one time. That would be insane if it were 200 eggs each time, the place would be overrun with iguana!

After the iguana adventures, it’s back to the sports ground and the final event for the older kids in long jump. Some of them can jump such long distances, it’s quite amazing how high and long they can jump. They are also meant to be doing shotput, discus, high jump and swimming but because they don’t have the facilities, it means that they never do that well when it comes to the national competitions. In the end, the Harpy Eagle team wins the competition and my poor Jaguars are a little sad. But they did a wonderful job and cheered each other on so I am proud regardless! At the end, the teachers selected the best to compete against the school in Apoteri. From there, the schools will be combined and compete against other combined schools in the region, then again the best are selected to compete against other regions for the Nationals. It’s an epic journey for the kids to go through but will be exciting if the Rewa kids get through to the finals.

After we get back to the lodge, it’s back to a bit more work before dinner and it’s not long until Dicky comes along to have another lesson on the new spreadsheets I have built for him. I takes it all in and picks it up fairly quickly and it’s now up to him to practice as much as he can before I leave Rewa on Sunday. After dinner, Romeo comes by to work on the proposal again. I think the realisation that Saturday is starting to hit everyone

<strong style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;">Wednesday 25th September 2013

Wednesday was pretty much a normal day. Working in the luxury of the veranda of the other benab. It’s probably the best spot to sit in the morning but by the afternoon it’s a pretty warm wind which makes me start thinking that a nice cold banks is in order and not work…. In the afternoon I spend some more time with Dicky and see some of the youth group out near the office. I’m not sure if they are waiting for me or for something else so I just head over to my hammock and wait till I think that some people might come by for night lessons. After dinner, Romeo heads over to work on the proposal and we both realise that the other youth group members must have been too shy to come over to me earlier! We work on the proposal some more and I write a whole bunch more and we agree to meet on Thursday to work with the team together on the budget and timeline. It might be a little hard to get us all together, but it will be worth it in the end.

<strong style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;">Thursday 26th September 2013

In the morning, Toria and I get fed a hearty lunch before we start the trek to Mt Awarmie. It’s not a very high mountain, but apparently it can tire even the fittest of the fit…. SOOOOOO I’m a little scared. I get ready to put my shoes on and do the mandatory bang of the shoe. Surely not frog. So I peer in and there are the eyes looking back at me. This damn frog won’t leave me along. I let him free again and hope he doesn’t come back!

We take the boat back out to the farming area and I can’t believe how much the water has gone down in just a few weeks. The boat doesn’t have to go as far in as the last time I came. So we start on the same track which can also lead you to the Harpy Eagle but we make a little turn off and start heading up. Instantly Ken spots some Howler Monkeys (or were they spider monkeys? Geez, my memory is so bad!) soooooo far off in the distance that you can only see them if you have binoculars. The Amerindians have such amazing eye sight compared to us and I am so grateful that they can spot the wildlife for us. The first 5 minutes up the mountain is fine, no problem. And then the steep rocky hill begins. It’s such a struggle to get up, I don’t know how the Bushmaster group got up there with the big packs! Ken and Delly say that after you get through this bit it gets easier. It takes us about 15 minutes to battle that section and we end up on a beautiful look out over the land. You can see all the way down the river and down below and can even spot the howlers from here. We take a good rest and start back up. After 10 minutes I can feel my asthma starting to take over my lungs and I start seeing a few black spots. I don’t want to be hindrance to everyone but I have to stop and get my breath back. When we start back up again I notice that Ken stop a bit more often to give me a bit of a break and then finally we are at the top after half an hour. We just have to make another little 200metre walk and we can get to a rocky outlook and once we get up there it is absolutely spectacular. You can see a full 360 around the rainforest and it’s a beautiful sunny day to see the clear sky. We are so high up that we can see down to the macaws flying over the rainforest with their bright red feathers. I am literally in awe of this place. Ken gets comfortable and starts telling me stories about the area, like a vine with special powers but is protected by the Bush Dai Dai (like a bigfoot) and the stories of the Caribs who would attack and eat other tribes like the Makushi. But I will write down and post all these stories at another time…. We spend about an hour up there and I look over onto another rock to see back down onto the river and the farming area. It’s a never ending forest and savannah, well worth the slight asthma attack. We start heading back down and it’s so much easier for me to get down but I still sweat like a beast anyway.

After we get down, we get into the boat and head back to the lodge to eat a hearty lunch and I must be dehydrated again because I down 3 fruit juices in 5 minutes. I’m so exhausted but manage to make it to the hammock to rest my little feet and get a visit from Romeo. The PYO will be ready to work on the budget from 2:30pm, after school is finished and we will meet under the mango tree. I take a very leisurely walk over to the village, and meet the group and we get started straight away on the timeline and budget. We work on it for just over an hour and I can tell everyone is tires, as am I so I recommend we regroup on Saturday after they have some investigation with parents of the village to check costs so we can estimate the budget a bit better. They also mention that there will apparently be a bonfire on my last night which would be pretty cool, but I won’t get my hopes up just in case! Romeo also invites me to Apoteri on Friday to see the kids compete and as much as I want to, I have to decline as I need to teach Clarice and Dicky a few more things and I am running out of time. I am so torn between the two but I really need to teach at the lodge. Panic begins I’m keen to make sure I finish everything I possibly can.

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<strong style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;">Friday 27th September 2013

Friday ended up being a normal work day. I sat with Clarice for a while and worked on the remainder of the projects, including adding jazzy graphics to the PYO proposal for the timeline and the budget. Nothing else spectacular really happens but Toria and I end up having a movie night and watching the classic Sixteen Candles. Ahhh Molly Ringwald, worst and best 16th birthday ever!

<strong style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;">Saturday 28th September 2013

Today is my last full day in Rewa. This is getting sadder and sadder. It’s a cool morning so we take the opportunity to walk along trail that goes around the lodge and ends up back onto the track towards the village, almost a half circle around. The staff tell us to be careful as they haven’t had a chance to clean up the trail since a few storms so there a few toppled trees along the way. I go to my shoes and check inside. The frog. Again. He is literally stalking me! I get him out again and we just can’t believe it! I even stuffed socks in there so he couldn’t get in and he still managed to make his way in again!

We try to walk through quietly and see if we can spot any wildlife high up in the trees but luck is not on our side. We do see an amazing looking spider wide that looks like a massive nest in a tree. On closer inspection, it is full of baby spiders eating lots of different bugs. It gives us both shivers up and down so after a few photos we start walking again. We make it to the site where a fallen purple heart tree was used to make a dug out canoe. We followed the track of small branches where they dragged the dug out to the water. Where the tree fell is now a big gap in between the thick rainforest, but it is so good to see that they take the opportunity to use fallen trees. The day before we went to Awarmie, a team of people headed down the river to utilise a fallen tree for a dug out which would take them a week to shape, burn and shape again. We head forward again and see some pretty giant spiders which we don’t really want to disturb and ruin their webs so we go off the trail to get around them. Eventually we are back on track and it’s taken around 50 minutes to walk. I have worked up a decent sweat.

After the walk, Dicky has already arrived to have his last lesson and we make it worthwhile! I get some thanks from and it makes me a little shy to hear. But I am so happy that he has enjoyed it and felt that I taught him in a way that he can understand. It makes it all so worthwhile to see how happy he is and how he giggles each time I teach him something new. While teaching Dicky, Neil from the PYO arrives just before lunch. I ask him if he wants to start on the proposal now or wait for the others. He says wait and I suspect it’s more so that he’s too shy! So after lunch I head back to the benab and start the lesson with Clarice. Final lesson and it’s so sad when it’s time to say goodbye. She doesn’t even let go of me when we hug goodbye. She also looks like she’s on the verge of tears which starts to put me on the verge of tears. But I promise that I will be back. I know that I will be back.

A few more PYO members come and I show them the budget and timeline. They are pleased with it all and begin work on the budget but it gets difficult to work on prices and quantity. So after a while I start cracking open the Banks beer and we chat instead and do the whole adding each other on facebook. The younger ones (18 – 24) all have smart phones and connect to the wifi when they can. Generally they have gotten jobs at the mines or at logging companies to get some cash before coming back to the village. They head off and I go off to cool down with a nice river water shower. After dinner I relax for a bit and then Audrey and her husband Hendricks come round and we have a final lesson on gmail. She can finally write to her friend Lesley who is a researcher of Arapaima and bases herself at Rewa for a few months a year to track the habits of the giant fish. Audrey (and myself) are so proud when she’s able to send the email with minimal help from me. And then the PYO come back again with Romeo in tow. It seems like a never ending day of people trying to get some last minute knowledge. Every now and again Russian comes over to get snippets of info and even Toria asks me about a few little handy excel shortcuts! We also get some time to run through all of the documents I’ve worked in case anyone forgets how to use those sheets I made.

So when the PYO come, Romeo is straight onto getting the beers and we go through all the new additions and what they need to finish. They will go round the village to see how much people are paying and see what people need so that they can estimate the quantity for initial supply within the shop. We all end up just hanging around drinking banks before its time for everyone to go home and for me to get some sleep before the big journey away to Surama. Again, it’s time for another sad goodbye and the I’ll miss you’s. There’s the odd few jokes about coming back and everyone will have babies before me or that Neil will have to find a wife from another village because everyone here is related now. Good times in Rewa.


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