Kumuni Creek, Arawak village

Trip Start May 15, 2006
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Trip End May 24, 2006


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Flag of Guyana  ,
Monday, May 22, 2006

Today we took a powerboat across the Demerara River to Kumuni Creek and an hour later pulled up at the Arawak Amerindian village of Santa Mission Reservation. Lovely, undeveloped village with beautiful Amerindian children in their British-inspired school uniforms playing on break and then returning to the school house where we could hear them chanting their lessons and singing the Guyanese nat'l anthem. Saw (heard first) macaws flying overhead, some who walked into the jungle saw blue and gold macaws in flight and a howler monkey. I saw a howler (heard first) jumping through a tree at the creek bank on the way in. Met with the PAHO healthcare worker at the clinic and toured the facility, determining needs (everyone in Guyana so far has needed test strips for unused glucometers-can't use meter without strips). Bought crafts, then ate breakfast, then went for a swim (no piranhas, we were assured). On the way back, FOUR TOCO TOUCANS flew over us at different times, as well as a banded kingfisher and many black-headed vultures as well as several sightings of the blue morpho butterfly. Lots of fun tropical foliage to look at. Very exciting and fun day--even the tour guide (wife of the guide for the Falls trip) said she had the best trip and thoroughly enjoyed us. Lovely to see the Amerindian children paddling their canoes alongside us as they returned home in the bush from their village school.

Yesterday toured zoo--some lovely habitats but mostly very old and substandard. Amazing that, without lawyers and safety engineers here, many animals, even carnivores, are readily accessible to "play with". My long-suffering straw hat was already on its last legs, and the tayra, fox, ocelot, and jaguarundi had a field day pawing at it and occasionally getting ahold of it, as did the various monkeys. It is now thoroughly shot, but not so bad that I didn't wear it on today's trip! I laugh about taking it back to Target and asking for my money back, saying it only lasted me a week (indeed, in Iowa I found the same hat at Target so now I'm back in business)! I got wonderful shots of a harpy eagle, because I could approach its cage and it was only about two feet away! Would never fly in the US...

Also amazing at the zoo--I took several shots of the hawkheaded parrot, and explained to an observing zoo employee that I have one at home. He said, "Next time you come, you let me know ahead of time and I get heem fo' you", pointing to the cage. At first I thought he meant get him out of the cage, then I realized he meant procure me one! Holy Cow--a ZOO EMPLOYEE! (Guyana still has legal quotas of some CITES listed birds, so I don't know if he was on the level or not. Either way, I'll take my parrots home-grown or rescued, not poached.)

Crazy place, but very beautiful outside of Georgetown, which we have all seen enough of despite its colonial tropical charms and crazy minibuses and taxis driving without any working traffic lights in town! Tomorrow the students will follow staff nurses at the public hospital, then we will tour a private hospital, then after lunch our last shopping and a tour of an orphanage.

We set out at 3 a.m. (not a typo) Wednesday for our long day of travel. Whew! Good times but ready for home. Taking an Ambien and turning in early for our last full night's sleep for the next 36-48 hours.
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