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Fair View

Fair View Village is situated on the left bank of the Essequibo River at the crossing and is also known historically as Kurupukari. It is located adjacent to the Linden-Lethem Road which was first completed in 1992.

History

The founder of current settlement of Fair View first came to Kurupkari in the 1920s with the establishment of the cattle trail from the Rupununi to the coast of Guyana. Arthur Andries worked on the punt that ferried the cattle across the river. Arthur chose the site as it gave him a good vantage point of the approach both up and down river. The village is believed to be established where there was an old Amerindian village as evidenced by postshaerds, stone tools and palm stands. The village is established up river of an Old Dutch trading post – Port Arinda – built to trade with tribes that had settlements along the river.  After the close of the cattle trail the settlement consisted mainly of the extended Andries family. The village expansion started with establishment of the Georgetown-Lethem road and the Iworkama Forest. Today Fair View is the only Amerindian Village titled  within the Iwokrama Forest. Even with gaining its title the village voted to remain a part of the conservation area.

Culture

Fair View consists of a mish match of tribes including Arawak, Patamona, Wapishana, Makushi, Caribe, mixed Amerinidans and more recently a few coastlanders have joined the community. Fair View’s cultural strength is based on its traditional farm practices and traditional knowledge of the forest. The families until the building of the road and the Iwokrama Field Station were highly dependent on the forest for their survival. These two factors helped to increase external influences on the settlement including the kinds of food, music and clothing now found in the village. The Christian Brethren church was also established.

Social and economic characteristics

Until the commencement of operation at the Iwokrama Field Station the residents of Fair View were dependent on mining, trading in farm produce, crabwood oil, fishing and hunting as their main sources of income. The only historical forest use, aside from native subsistence activities, was Balata bleeding trading the latex at Apoteri for necessities or braving the rapids of the Essequibo River to trade fish at Bartica to purchase supplies. Today the community has job opportunities from both Iwokrama International Centre and Mekdeci Mining Company that is in charge of road maintenance. Others find work in the public sector as teachers or health worker. Others have been able to open shops, supplying workers from these two operations and passengers traversing the road. Some community members still depend on fishing and farming as the main support selling their produce to the two field stations.

Challenges and Opportunities

One of the main challenges the community face is its education program. The nursery and primary schools lack adequately trained teachers leaving the students unprepared to advance to secondary education. Very few are therefore able to graduate with passing subjects. Many can learn skills through on the job training at Iwokrama or Mekdeci but many youths are looking for quick money and find themselves working in the mines. Like the other communities their return threatens the social development of the community due to the attitudes and behaviours they pick up that have negative consequences in the community.

Given its proximity to the road and solid relationship with Iworama the community has ample opportunity for economic and social development. Iwokrama offers training in many areas that enhances the human capacity of the community to management many aspects of their development. Iwokrama has also helped the community develop a management plan to manage the resources within their titled area and have a signed agreement with the community on the harvesting of timber that brings direct benefits to the community. In its tourism scheme the village is part of the package and guides from the village conducts the tours and the village receives a percentage fees. In addition, the village is exploring how to expand this opportunity to have visitors spend more time in the community. The community has also been assisted with developing small business enterprises like a carpentry shop where furniture pieces could be made for villagers in need.

 

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