Géraud

Géraud de Ville

The Open University, Department of Engineering and Innovation
London, UK

Claudia Nuzzo reports from the North Rupununi

Field Report n°5

April 25, 2012

Claudia Nuzzo is a professional photographer and intern working for the Cobra Project at the Open University. Recently, she traveled to the North Rupununi in order to conduct workshops on participatory visual techniques. She sent back this report.

Claudia Nuzzo – Creative Commons

Claudia Nuzzo is a professional photographer and intern working for the Cobra Project at the Open University. Recently, she traveled to the North Rupununi in order to conduct workshops on participatory visual techniques. She sent back this report.

I arrived in Georgetown on 6th January and had preliminary meetings at the Iwokrama office to discuss the logistics for my trip to theNorth Rupununi. We had three water proof cameras and two video cameras plus the temporary use of one semi-professional camera that I brought with me for the training. My aim was to improve the technical capacities of the local Guyanese facilitators who will be utilizing visual participatory techniques in their work with the indigenous communities.

I left Georgetown on the afternoon of 10th January by minibus and arrived at the Bina Hill Centre the next morning. The Rupununi is only connected to the coast by a narrow road that crosses through the Iwokrama rainforest. It was an amazing experience crossing the forest during the night; even when we had a flat tyre and were forced to get off the minibus for about an hour, we were surrounded by an incredible starry sky and the night sounds of the forest. Once we got back on our way, by morning the forest suddenly opened up into savanna.

There are 16 villages in the North Rupununi with around two hundred inhabitants each. The Bina Hill Centre is located in Annai village in the savanna region. The Centre is a very impressive facility, and I was able to recharge all of our equipment (and even use the internet occasionally) using their solar panels or generators. I worked with the local Cobra staff, doing practical exercises such as shooting photos and videos. My job was to make sure each of the community researchers could work independently, without the help of the more experienced individuals.

During my month in the North Rupununi the community researchers were also involved in the presentation of the Cobra project in the 16 village communities. Travelling with the teams gave me a chance to better understand the local communities and build a rapport with the local Cobra team. I first traveled to the river villages of Apoteri, Rewa and Crash water. Apoteri village was the most distant village from Bina Hill, about five hours by boat. The community members were keen participants in the discussion, with active contributions even from the Toshao (the village leader). It was great to observe the community researchers taking pictures and video in the villages using the training provided in the Bina Hill Centre. During the following days I continued to help the Cobra team present the project in some of the savanna villages.

Overall the trip to Guyana was an incredible experience! I was greatly impressed by the Bina Hill community and encouraged by the enthusiasm and rapid skill development of the community researchers. Despite some difficulties with transportation and connectivity, I think that we achieved a great deal in the span of a few weeks and have laid the groundwork for a solid start to the Cobra project in the region.

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