Faced with a modern, unsustainable lifestyle on our doorstep, we dreamt of an ethical way … one that would be more considerate to other people, animals and to the environment (like it was not too long ago). Despite the challenges, we started our own effort and now feel great about what we have accomplished so far.
As Indigenous Rainforest Keepers in Moraro forest, we try fulfilling the traditional conservation way of life as much as we can. Our activities are based on traditional, ethical indigenous conservation beliefs and practices. These tend not to over-complicate life and we live happily, with less to worry about and more time to enrich ourselves with nature.
We try to preserve the indigenous value system together with our surroundings. And, because the two are intricately intertwined, the lifestyle is special – the way of life is different.
We only work within a conservation framework, so consider each other’s’ useful assets in whatever we do. Our community is unique, in that, it is not primarily about land occupancy but about working together for a more sustainable way of life. One active participant lives a good hour’s walk away. Practices such as giving or exchanging come in handy and are used in conjunction with monetary transactions. Together, they all contribute towards a more sustainable lifestyle.
Moraro sits beautifully in an area that joins the larger village life with the deep rain-forest. Life isn’t hectic because people tend not to live by the clock. And, we do not stick to a strict schedule because we live mostly within the rhythm of the environment.
Our community is like many indigenous communities, in that, not only is it far away from mainstream society, but also because we take stock of our surrounding resources and try to intelligently manage them. In keeping with this, only a limited number of people can live in Moraro at any one time.
So far, led by our gifted farmer, we forest garden which is a type of permaculture. Only a small number of us eat from our organic gardens, so this type of farming fits us fine. Excess produce is sold by the gardener responsible. We also forage for some of our food. Despite being enclosed by trees and other components of nature, we still preserve our own small tropical rain-forest and its surroundings. This forest is a special mini ecosystem and the only place where certain unique species can live and survive.
We understand the importance of forest fruit-bearing trees so save as many of them as we can. They provide food for animals, especially birds. Their importance cannot be overemphasized. Local farmers have noticed since the logging of forest fruit trees by big companies, more forest animals are looking for food outside their natural habitat, which many times can be in a farmer’s plot. These trees do not only provide animals with fruits. We also reap. It is not uncommon for us to eat fruits that cannot be found elsewhere; like hubuji from the giant hubuji (anacardium giganteum) tree which only bears once every four years.
Nature provides us with many things that typical forest communities depend on… like materials for crafting and building.
Our ancestors valued fresh water and so do we do. A good source of fresh water was and is necessary before establishing a settlement. There is a fresh water spring which, apart from the rain provides us with our fresh water. We protect this spring not only for ourselves but for others, including the animals.
Maybe, it was the only way, but the ancestors constantly used ethical and healthy systems such as foraging, walking and eating local. Though we are attempting to integrate modern sustainable systems like using renewable energy, bicycling and buying local, we still use the old systems.
Supplemented by western ones, we recognise, use and celebrate our local medicines and fully credit our local medicine experts. Apart from relying on our experts and local medicines, we use nature for healing. Connecting with the energies of the natural environment through forest bathing, trail walking and many other ways do soothe the soul. Such practices give spiritual rejuvenation and sustenance.
Celebrating forest life connects us all; be it storytelling, festivities of music and dance or sport. And can these be enjoyable? There is nothing like light conversation (and sometimes heavy ones) over a jar of local, home-made brew.
For us, an ethical, conservation lifestyle, is not a dream but a reality.
Making a difference.
Now, at a time when our natural environment is disrespected and exploited more than ever, we see the importance of sharing with like-minded people, as we promote and encourage a more sustainable lifestyle. We have so far proven that a sustainable community is very viable and it is important that we get together, work with each other and the environment to make a difference.
If you would like to experience how indigenous peoples have lived a sustainable lifestyle for centuries, and are prepared to live an eco-friendly lifestyle yourself, then you’ll find Moraro the place to be.
If you’d like to be informed about what is happening with our effort and perhaps become involved DO GET IN TOUCH We’d love to hear from you.
Things we do
Highlights of getting there
Visit Moraro with a Traveller by Claudette De Vieira
I start my journey in London and think that I can time travel. I am not going forward but going back to a place where I belonged many, many moons ago.
After being thoroughly questioned and stressed out by foreign immigration; sometimes in Barbados, Trinidad or New York; the worst being in Barbados, I can relax a bit when I get to Guyana.
Strange! My relaxation gets better as I move away from the 'so called modern civilized world'. I left Georgetown around 8 a:m.
The Essequibo River ... early in the morning on the big ferry is magical. I enjoy looking at the wide expanse of water. Water is everything. It's as if the river wants to show off, and at the same time say, 'I am master here',
The River Taxi ... is my last experience with the world of 'intense' commerce.
After waiting at the crowded frontier town of Charity for passengers to fill the taxi, it is time to leave.
Riding the river ... I am on my way. The open Pomeroon river is my second, but more welcoming river journey, after crossing the mighty Essequibo.
Sights, but hardly sounds (the irritating noise of the engine prevents me from hearing anything else) help me to relax even more.
We drive along and Moraro beckons. My anticipated world comes into view every tree of the way.
On the Trail to Moraro ... the walk is swift. It is now about 4:30p:m, getting late and we depend on the sun light. No time to dawdle, except now and again to have a look at something that catches our eyes.
Perhaps a fruit tree in full bloom or my uncle's farm where the acouri (large rodent) Dasyprocta leporina had a meal of his pumpkin.
Moraro Grounds, Heaven on Earth ...come into full sight as we emerge from the tree covered trail and the most calming sight greets me. Moraro, here I am. All the way back to when life was not so complicated. This is a strange, lovely feeling, but no time to savor it.
The spring that feeds the creek ...now is the place where I will have my first wash before grabbing a bite since I left Georgetown.
The wash is 'kinda symbolic'. Stresses of my past life are washed away with the water and signifies that I am home. We then prepare for bed. We light the lantern and the hiawa gum to keep away bad energies. We then lay in the hammock and talk into the night.
The most Beautiful Sunrise ... greets me the next morning and I am in heaven. My past is history.
No wonder I work to preserve this valuable rainforest paradise for the children and their children.
Claudette is part of Moraro Indigenous People Conservation. She is a descendant of the Lokono leader Sachibarra the Rev. Brett wrote about in his 'conclusion' of the 'Legend of the Arawaks' She shares her time between Moraro and London.
I had the opportunity to visit and take a night in your little piece of heaven in Koria... The surrounding area was gorgeous, the spring was tranquil and no mosquitoes to cause any problems. I see why you would retreat there for lengths of time. It truly is a small piece of heaven... Thank you again for allowing me to take a night at one of the coolest places in Wakapoa...
Moraro is within the smaller village of Koria/Wakapoa in Region 2 of Guyana, South America.
Like many indigenous communities in Guyana, Koria is located away from the more developed coast land and is protected by the local, native, indigenous system, which basically means that it is secure.
If you are travelling from the UK, you will most likely change flight in Barbados or Trinidad & Tobago before arriving at the Cheddi Jagan airport.
If you are travelling from the USA, there are straight flights from New York and Miami. There are also regular flights from the Caribbean and overland transportation from Surinam, Venezuela and Brazil.
To ensure safety and security while travelling to Moraro from the Cheddi Jagan international airport, the journey has to be well organised.
Once inside the indigenous area, there is where the true off grid life experience begins.
Built with locally sourced materials
Saved Forest fruit trees and Fruits
Common species of Wildlife
Community Cohesion Activities
Food gardens Produce
Community builders who serve
Getting out there
Wakapoa and Koria Creeks
Trail to Moraro