Vincenzo Lauriola

Vincenzo Lauriola

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Brazil-Guyana exchange: positive ideas

Seizing the opportunity to share experiences

June 17, 2014

In his second article on the visit of members of the community of Maturuca, Brazil to Bina Hill, Guyana, Vincenzo Lauriola reports on how unplanned exchanges can lead to exciting possibilities for future collaborations.

As well as successfully completing the planned work (see previous article), the Brazilian Macushi COBRA team’s stay at Bina Hill resulted in a number of unexpected positive interactions, which in turn provided further opportunities to exchange ideas and experiences.

Compostclass charles 1An unexpected two day overlap with a parallel workshop of the NRDDB CMRV project enabled an interaction between the two project teams. After meeting and exchanging views over lunch, the CMRV technicians and community leaders assembly invited the COBRA Brazilian group to introduce themselves and give a presentation on their work. Moreover, Luis Meneses, a Brazilian member of the CMRV team, shared a presentation of the CMRV project with the Brazilian COBRA team, providing the COBRA team with some interesting ideas about projects that could be developed in their own indigenous territories.

Whilst staying at Bina Hill, the three visitors from Brazil observed the daily school routine, and dynamics of the Youth Learning Centre (YLC). They were particularly interested in the early morning agricultural education session, and spoke with the students whilst they were working. The Portuguese-English language barrier was quickly overcome, partly by the use of Macushi, as well as by direct interaction on the agricultural field. Charles, who graduated from the Centro de Formação e Cultura Raposa Serra do Sol (CIFCRSS), an agro-technical school run by CIR (Conselho Indigena de Roraima) in Brazil, took the lead in this agro-technical interaction, having observed the use of some agricultural techniques different than those he had learned to practice in Brazil.

Charles sharing agricultural techniques with students at Bina Hill

Charles sharing agricultural techniques

On their last day at Bina Hill, at around 6 a.m., an agro-technical best practice exchange took place, with Charles giving Bina Hill students a practical lesson on compost pile techniques in use at CIFRSS and in Maturuca, while Jacir Filho and Beatriz documented the practical class using video and photography.

Later in the day, a meeting  took place between YLC’s principal, Mr Victor Perrier, and a representative of the students, Miss Verlyn Skyber, where ideas were formulated and the possibility of  further exchanges between Bina Hill School and CIFRSS was discussed. An invitation was made to Bina Hill and COBRA to visit CIFRSS in the near future, to discuss  the details with the Director of the school. An invitation was also made to visit CIFRSS on the occasion of their 3rd Indigenous Science & Seeds fair. Whilst, Bina Hill school were unfortunately unable to attend at such short notice, a plan to strengthen the links between the organisations has been put in place.

Surama greeting Allicock Beatriz

Last but not least, on their final afternoon at Bina Hill, the Brazilian Macushi COBRA team visited Surama Eco-Lodge  where they were welcomed by local staff and leaders, including Mr Anthony Andries, Mrs Paulette Allicock, and Mr Sydney Allicock, Macushi Member of Guyana’s Parliament. It was a unique opportunity to see an Amerindian community-owned and run tourism business, as well as to explore a future best practice exchange opportunity in the field of tourism, an activity in which Brazilian indigenous communities have little experience. This exchange opportunity also seems to be well-timed. Following the recent final demarcation of their land, Brazilian Macushi communities of Raposa Serra do Sol are currently discussing how to explore the potential of tourism in their territory. Surama Eco-Lodge staff and directors welcomed the idea of hosting Brazilian Macushi interns for tourism capacity building.

Several seeds were sown: will they germinate and flourish? Time will tell. Stay tuned!

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