23rd of January, 2022. Region 9, Guyana, South AmericaLast updated: January 23, 2022 at 12:52 pm
A well known and beloved resident of the South Rupununi, Mr. Ian Paul, has become Covid-19’s latest victim in the South Rupununi Savannahs of Guyana, leaving to mourn his family as well as the entire South Rupununi District, and those who knew him from across the country.
The Aishalton Village Facebook Page made the following post today.
What a sad day for Aishara-toon villageWe have lost a very knowledgeable villager and elder who is loved by all but has sadly lost the battle to COVID-19. RIP to our dear “uncle Ian” as he’s known by many, who passed away this morning from COVID-19 complications. Uncle Ian Paul made numerous contributions to the development of not only Aishara-Toon village, but to the entire Wapichan people. He was a great story-teller, a wonderful and fluent Wapichan tutor, a hard-working security man, a wonderful dad and family man and, a loved villager. Sleep on Uncle Ian, you will be sincerely missed. Our hearts and prayers are with his family.
The South Rupununi District Council made the following post on the Facebook Page today:
Our hearts are shattered at the passing of Uncle Ian Paul who joined our ancestors in the great beyond this morning after bravely fighting COVID-19.Uncle Ian can be described as quiet, humble, kind, gentle, loving, knowledgeable, and has made numerous contributions to the Wapichan Wiizi since the earliest times. He has been very instrumental and helpful in the formation of the SRDC and our works since. He is surely going to be missed. Uncle Ian will always be considered one of the best (if not the very best) Wapichan tutors and we know he has touched many lives during his teachings. Uncle Ian may be gone, but his words and teachings will forever live on. Whenever there was need in delivering messages to the Wapichan people in our language, he was always willing to help and we believe in this way, he has touched all our lives and actually helped us whether we know it or not. We extend our sincere condolences to his family at this time and our prayers are with them. Sleep in peace Uncle Ian. You will always live on through your work.
The following is an adaption from an article posted by the Ministry of Amerindians in May, 2019
Mr. Ian Paul was the Chief Editor for the Wapishana Literacy Association in South Central/Deep South Rupununi, Region 9. Mr. Paul was a resident of Aishalton, Deep South Rupununi, and has committed to sharing his knowledge with residents. He was also involved in the quality Bilingual education program for primary schools in Karaudarnau, Sawariwau, and Mururanau, three Wapichana communities. This was a collaborative effort between the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, and the Toshaos of Deep South Rupununi and supported by Jesuits working in the Rupununi.
He said while language is a critical aspect of the indigenous way of life, it was noted that unfortunately, persons who are able to speak their respective languages are on the constant decline.
He believes that now more than ever is the time to get the younger generation on board since language is a unique aspect of our indigenous culture.