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 with the ancestors, 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, rain-forest 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, and consider each others’ useful assets that can contribute to whatever we do. Our community is unique, in that, it is not primarily about land occupancy but more 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 system that is workable for us all.
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 and our own assets.
Our community is like many indigenous communities, in that, not only does it have few people and is 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, Moraro can only sustain a limited number of people 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 take the preservation of our own small tropical rain-forest and its surroundings seriously. 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 overemphasised. Local farmers have noticed, since the excess logging of forest fruit trees, more forest animals are looking for food outside their natural habitat, which many times can be in a farmer’s plot. The trees we protect do not only provide animals with food, but 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.
The ancestors valued fresh water and so do we. A good source of fresh water was always 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 customs 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 with local medicines, we use nature for our health. Connecting with the energies of the natural environment through forest bathing, trail walking and many other ways soothe the soul. Such practices give spiritual rejuvenation and emotional balance.
Celebrating forest life connects us all, be it storytelling, times 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.
Living 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 such a life-style is very viable. We believe that it is important we get together, and work with each other and the environment to make a difference.
If you are intent on a sustainable lifestyle, then we're willing to share with you. DO GET IN TOUCH We’d love to hear from you.
Some things we do
Highlights of getting there
We try to create solutions that address current environmental and social challenges and are working toward invigorating a special system, so as to negate the impact of deforestation, non-sustainable energy consumption, climate change and current health problems.
Rain-forest Sustainable Farming
1. Reintroducing, sourcing and testing food, craft and medicinal plant/seed variety to the our rain-forest environment
2. Growing traditional plant variety
1. Land under mixed and reforestation cultivation
2. 100% cultivation managed by hand
3. Use farm as education resource
4. Supply our own food, medicinal and craft needs
Environment: There is the white sandy hilltop, with a spring and creek at the foot. Swamplands and forests are nearby. The area is pristine with surrounding trees and the open skies make magical moonlight nights. No need for much electricity then.
Water: Moraro has its own spring/creek which supplies most of our needs.
Health & Well being: As well as relaxing, life is physical e.g. climbing the hill after a wash in the creek. Participating in maintenance e.g. raking leaves is also physical. We walk everywhere. Moraro is about 25mins brisk walk from the boat landing. Being far from the ‘developed’ coastland and in an indigenous area, it is secure. There is less to worry about so there is less stress.
For minor and a few times major health issues, we use herbs and trust the local forest medicine expert. However, there is a recent, western-style, medical outpost about 20 mins walk away and one of our nearest neighbours is the local medic. The nearest western-style hospital is 45 mins drive by boat.
Off Grid Control: There are no TV, radio, lined electricity, gas, tax, insurance etc. etc. There are no bills except for the usual top-up charges on the mobile phone which is our only electronic contact with the outside world.
Challenges: There is nothing like being challenged or having to be inventive e.g. planting the garden, cleaning the creek, deciding how to prepare the food of the day based on available ingredients.
Garbage Control: Our food is mostly fresh, so we have to cope with less packaging. Also, there is less need for consumption goods. We only pay the occasional visit to our neighbours (which is refreshing in itself) and may attend the occasional celebration. Societal expectations are not demanding, so there is less to buy. We also limit plastics. However we recycle and burn the little garbage we produce.
Investment & Work input: The major investment is in building & tools. Local people who contribute are remunerated, or bartered with, for their work.
Local Government: Moraro is in a village that has a toushau (council leader) along with councillors.
Energy: Apart from solar lights supplemented by oil lamp/candle, much is made of open style housing to invite the sun/moonlight in. Cooking isn't a central part of the day’s activity, so wood supplemented by gas is used.
Wild life & Pets: Moraro is a birdwatchers paradise. Macaws, toucans and humming birds are everyday birds and tracks of animals like the jaguar and deer can sometimes be seen. We share kept animals occasionally (mostly dogs) and sometimes a cat belonging to our nearby neighbours.
Food: Forget supermarkets, our food is principally produced organically on small patches, supplemented by food sourced locally. We have been trying to grow and source our own food for a long time now, so have become reliant on what we produce. There are the local forest-fruit trees which bear seasonally. To a lesser extent, especially for fish and meat we are supplied by neighbouring small farmers, hunters, gatherers, fishermen/women and other food producers. Nonetheless, we still have to cart in other basic supplies and due to the distance, this is indeed challenging.
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 under the local, native, indigenous political 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, security becomes less of a problem and the true off-grid life begins.
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 ... by visitor
Built with locally sourced materials
Saved Forest-fruit trees
Common species of Wildlife
Community Cohesion Activities
Food gardens Produce
Community builders who serve
Getting out there
Wakapoa and Koria Creeks
Trail to Moraro
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.
Not 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. 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 enjoy it.
The spring that feeds the creek ... now is the place where I will have my first wash before grabbing a bite which I haven't done 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.
Claudette is part of Moraro's conservation effort. 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.