First Published: 27th of July, 2021 by Patrick Carpen.Last updated: July 26, 2022 at 22:32 pm
Jennifer Lawrence (nee Bucolo) was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. She is the second of four female siblings born to Mr. and Mrs. Bucolo. Her dad, John, is a lawyer, and her mom, Kimberly, is a business owner.
Growing up, Jennifer’s dream was to become a successful business owner – owning her own businesses in different countries and traveling the world. After high school, she pursued a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology, Social Change, and Environmental Science at Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA. During her studies at Lesley University, Jennifer was awarded a scholarship for a Study Abroad Program which saw her traveling to the jungles of South America – a voyage that would later change the course of her life.
The ideals in Guyana are completely opposite to those of the United States. The United States is obsessed with materials, money, and accumulating more and more of everything. In Guyana, the people take pride in their country. They are happy and thankful to be Guyanese and to have the land, water, and animals that they have. Two cultures could not be more different.jennifer lawrence
In the year 2011, while serving as a teacher’s assistant, Jennifer approached the president of her college to apply for funding to take her students to an environmental conference off the coast of Massachusetts on an island called Martha’s Vineyard in the USA. The president politely declined her proposal but recommended that she apply for a scholarship for the 3-month Study Abroad Program to the jungles of Guyana. She did. And that same year, she was overjoyed to learn that she had been awarded a scholarship to study wildlife for three months in the interior of Guyana.
At that time, I knew almost nothing about the remote South American country of Guyana – the country that time and fate would transform into my new home. I was thrilled, thankful, excited, scared, happy, anxious, all at the same time. Full of positive energy and emotions, I started packing for my trip to Guyana.
In June, 2011, the ambitious college student boarded a flight from JFK International Airport in New York City to the Cheddi Jagan International Airport in Guyana. After resting for two nights at a hotel in Georgetown, she, along with the three other students, boarded a Trans Guyana plane to Lethem, Region 9. There, they were picked up and transported via 4-wheel drive vehicle to the Caiman House Eco Lodge in Yupukari Village, Region 9.
In Yupukari, Jennifer spent three fruitful and fulfilling months of her life studying big cats such as Jaguars along with environmental impacts, conservation, wildlife management, and environmental science. All too quickly, it was time to say goodbye, and Jennifer, along with the rest of her group, boarded a return flight out of Guyana.
While in Guyana, I was blown away and so fulfilled by all the beautiful flora and fauna in the area.
A Facebook Message that Changed My Life
Seven years later, in August, 2018, while she was working as a social worker and skill-building specialist for the Pennsylvania state government, Jennifer received a Facebook Message from a friend whom she had met during her three-month stint in Guyana. This friend’s name was Cindy Holland and Cindy invited Jennifer to come back to Guyana for a holiday.
Several transformational things were happening in my life at that time. I had lost my step brother, and I came to the realization that I needed to go back to Guyana as soon as possible to unwind and spend time with old friends.
Jennifer returned to Guyana and traveled inland once more to Yupukari Village. It was during this second visit to Guyana that Jennifer met her soulmate, Jenkins Lawrence, for the first time. At that time, Jenkins was working as a PAC (Protected Areas Commission) ranger and the two went on frequent adventures: trips into the rainforest, boating, fishing, swimming in the river, etc.
Their frequent adventures made Jennifer not just fall in love with her environment, but also with the young man who was reintroducing her to nature and the village of Yupukari.
I was blown away and amazed at the beauty of the Guyanese lifestyle.
Later, Jennifer and Jenkins got engaged, and started building their house. She flew back to the United States for two weeks to visit her family, sell her car, get rid of her apartment, and she subsequently made the permanent relocation down to Region 9, Guyana, South America, fully aware of the fact that she would not have adequate access to jobs, internet, or transportation for a very long time.
I was risking it all for love. I sacrificed the growth of my career path for something I knew was going to be much more difficult, but all the more worth it in the end.
Jennifer and her husband, Jenkins, got married in Guyana during the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic. Consequently, none of her family members were able to attend the wedding, which, she says, was very emotionally difficult for her at that time.
Now Jennifer and her husband have their house, their various business connections, and they are starting a family together.
I was fascinated with the possibilities of evolution and change available at my fingertips living in the interior of Guyana, separate from the society of millions of people that I grew up in.
In Yupukari Village, Jennifer Lawrence is now connected with:
Save the Giants – A Community Driven Conservation Initiative. Save the Giants has a mission to protect the critically endangered Giant River Otter and make sure their populations are stable in their range through South America by 2025.
She is also involved in various community development projects such as women in business, women in science, women’s financial development, and education for women and children.
You can connect with Jennifer directly on:
By Email: email@example.com
And with her husband, Jenkins Lawrence:
This article was reprinted in the Guyana, South America Monthly Magazine, June 2022 Edition.