24th of January, 2022. Region 9, Guyana, South America
Last updated: January 27, 2022 at 5:22 am
21-year old Kemmely Alexia Chapman is a daughter of the Rupununi Savannahs of Guyana, South America. Although she was born in neighboring Brazil, her parents, Karina and Daniel Chapman, are both Guyanese citizens and proud residents of Region 9. As a result, Kemmely is one of those rear gems of Guyana who can speak both English and Portuguese fluently – making her an even greater asset to her country which shares strong and ever-growing diplomatic and economic ties with its southern neighbor.
Growing up in the Rupununi, Kemmely attended the St. Ignatius Nursery School, the St. Ignatius Primary School, and then the St. Ignatius Secondary school where she wrote and excelled in the CSEC exams. Because of her outstanding academic performance, she was immediately selected for a full scholarship to study Communications at the University of Guyana’s Turkeyen Campus.
In high school, the young girl was an outstanding athlete competing fiercely in the track & field 400, 200, and 100 meters sprints where she emerged a champion and was named Best Sports Woman at the St. Ignatius Secondary School. She also represented her Region at the National level where she won a gold medal, and in Brazil where she brought home three golds.
In the year 2022, Kemmely completed her two-year programme achieving her Diploma in Communications at the University of Guyana. Kemmely says that her next move is to pursue a degree in Business at the University of Guyana which she will be starting this year (September, 2022).
Join us in cheering Kemmely all the way to the top of the ladder of success as she makes her parents, region, and country proud.
British aviator, businessman, and philanthropist, Stan Brock, passed away in the year 2018. His body was cremated and his ashes were scattered over Dadanawa Ranch in the Rupununi Savannahs of Guyana.
Although Stan Brock spent nearly two decades of his life managing a cattle ranch in the Rupununi, he had traveled to many countries around the world during his long and purpose-filled life, and Guyanese should feel especially honored that he, or his family, chose to have his ashes scattered over Dadanawa Ranch in the Rupununi Savannahs of Guyana.
Stan Brock was the founder of Remote Area Medical – a non-profit organization which flies sick and injured people in remote and outlying areas to medical facilities in the city. The organization operated in Guyana and several other countries. Unfortunately, just one year after Stan’s death, Remote Area Medical’s operations in Guyana started to nosedive. In 2020, the organization announced that it would close its Guyana operations and in 2021, it was made official when they sold all their planes and ceased all airborne activities in Guyana.
This is truly sad since, for founder Stan Brock, the dream of Remote Area Medical was born in Guyana, but it just goes to show that sometimes, when someone dies, their vision also perishes with them.
“My vision for Remote Area Medical developed when I suffered a personal injury while living among the Wapishana Indians in Guyana, South America. I was isolated from medical care, which was about a 26 day journey away. I witnessed the near devastation of whole tribes by what would have been simple or minor illnesses to more advanced cultures. When I left Guyana, I vowed to find a way to deliver basic medical aid to people in the world’s inaccessible regions. So, in 1985 I established the non-profit, Remote Area Medical or as most people know us – RAM™. RAM is the way I have kept that promise, not only to the Wapishana Indians, but to thousands around the world in similar conditions. In other words, there are Wapishanas everywhere.”
stan brock – founder of remote area medical
Below is an excerpt taken from the RAM website (www.ramusa.org) about the life of the late Stan Brock.
Stan Brock was born in Preston, Lancashire, England. From 1952 to 1968, he managed the world’s largest cattle ranch operation, a 4,000-square mile combination of rainforest and savannah in British Guiana. There, he became a pioneer bush pilot and subsequently acquired numerous ratings and certifications including airline transport pilot. It was during this time that his vision for Remote Area Medical® was born after he suffered a terrible horse-related injury while living among the Wapishana Indians and was 26 days away from the nearest medical care. He then vowed to bring medical care closer to the people who needed it.
In 1968, he began co-hosting NBC’s Emmy winning series, Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom, one of the most watched television shows in the country, with more than 32 million weekly viewers.
In 1985, he founded Remote Area Medical – RAM® and continued to serve, without compensation, as RAM’s Founder and President until his passing on August 2018. Because of his work with RAM, Mr. Brock has been recognized as the pioneer of bringing free health care to people in need. Today, thanks to RAM’s corps of 120,000 volunteers, RAM has treated close to 1 million women, men, and children providing a total of $120 million in free medical care.
Mr. Brock was instrumental in the passage of the Tennessee Volunteer Health Care Services Act of 1995, which allows health professionals with out-of-state licenses to cross state lines and provide free care. He has been recognized as a CNN Hero in 2012, and most recently, in 2017, he joined the ranks of other prominent leaders like President Jimmy Carter and Mother Teresa when the Lions Club International Foundation recognized him with the Lions International Humanitarian Award.
RAM’s work has been covered by national and international news media including CBS 60 Minutes, NBC Nightline, New York Times, Washington Post, TIME Magazine, The Guardian, and The Times of London.
Stan Brock passed away at the age of 82 in Rockford, TN on August 29, 2018, after dedicating 33 years to his beloved organization, Remote Area Medical (RAM).
“RAM IS THE WAY I HAVE KEPT A PROMISE, NOT ONLY TO THE WAPISHANA INDIANS BUT TO THOUSANDS AROUND THE WORLD IN SIMILAR HEALTH CONDITIONS. IN OTHER WORDS, THERE ARE WAPISHANAS EVERYWHERE.”
American Born, Jennifer Lawrence, Falls in Love with Guyana
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.
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:
The cashew nut is a rich and nutritious food product derived from the cashew tree. Through a labor-intensive process, the cashew nut is detached from the cashew fruit which comes from the cashew tree. Cashew trees grow abundantly in the Rupununi Savannahs of Guyana, and also in neighboring Brazil.
In the year 2017, I visited some residents of the Rupununi Savannahs to learn how the cashew nut is roasted and shelled to produce edible roasted cashew nuts.
The process is described below.
Please note: The method described below is what is used by local residents of the Rupununi in roasting and shelling cashew nuts for personal consumption. Commercial organizations might have different and more refined methods for roasting and shelling cashew nuts.
The raw cashew nuts are placed in a metal drum over a fire.
Written by- Denise Case D’Aguiar. Photos by Amanda Richards.
Last updated: July 3, 2022 at 13:34 pm
Those who live or have lived on a ranch would know that for safe cattle handling, a cowboy or vaquero must be well trained and skilled for the task. Understanding the behaviors of these animals is very important. A cowboy has to be instinctive and sense when the animals are hungry, irritated, happy, distressed, or ill, just the way a mother understands an infant.
During the dry season, there is a cattle round-up for a general check-up: head-counts, treating wounds, branding, milking, breaking in, and castrating calves.
Breaking in is the process by which a horse is being tamed. In so doing, the animal feels discomfort but not severe anxiety.
How this is done:
Usually, the horse is being handled by two cowboys. They are very calm in their approach as they lightly stroke the horse’s back to put him at ease before blindfolding him with a black cloth. At most times, it takes more than just one attempt before getting this done. Then, as one cowboy controls the horse, the other calmly gets on its back and takes off the blindfold. The horse gets irritated and takes off bucking and twerking until the rider falls off. When the horse is calm again, the breaking-in process is repeated until the horse gets used to it.
The Rupununi Rodeo in Guyana, which is a public exhibition of cowboy skills derived from the working practices of cattle herding, was originated in the 1960s at Pirara ranch. It was during those roundups that the Rupununi ranchers began competing to determine who had the best racehorses, the best breed of cattle, and so on. It was a great feeling of accomplishment among the ranchers to conquer such daunting challenges. So, as time went by, these small competitions became the biggest attraction in the region and is now a part of the Rupununi culture.
This entertainment which is the most anticipated event of the year is held on the Easter weekends and features cattle roping, bareback and saddle bronco, milking a wild cow, horse racing, tug-o-war, and much more.
The Rodeo Committee, which is a division of the Livestock Producers Association (RLPA), organizes the Rodeo and depends on the support and contributions of mainly the ranchers, companies, and individual sponsors in Guyana.
A Rodeo Queen Pageant is held on Rodeo Eve featuring beauties from the Rupununi and our neighboring country, Brazil. There are also Country and Western dance groups for opening presentations, and bands from Georgetown, the Rupununi, and Brazil to take you into the wee hours of the morning as you dance to the different rhythms of the night. There is also a fun park with a merry-go-round, ferias wheel, and many more games for adults and kids to enjoy.
The villagers of the Central, North, and South Rupununi also take the opportunity at this time of the year to portray their talents by nicely setting up their stalls to sell their homemade products such as cassareep, coconut oil, cassava bread, farine, art and craft, and much more.
Well-prepared hot meals are also sold at the Rodeo ground throughout the event. With the massive influx of tourists (Guyanese, Americans, Canadians, Brazilians, Venezuelans) in the region, hotels, guest houses, and the tourist resort management make the necessary preparations to take advantage of this opportune time. And just in case you had made no hotel arrangements prior to traveling, it is advisable to take sleeping tents. The house lots at Lethem are big and some people rent a part of it to those who have been locked out.
There are also two nearby waterfalls, the Moco Moco and the Kumu, which are approximately fourteen miles out of central Lethem and just ideal for a cool-off from the hot climate, which is usually intense just before the rainy season that begins on the April month-end.
On Easter Mondays (the day when most visitors are returning home), some Brazilians and Guyanese get together for a beach party on the Takatu River sand-bank. At that time of the year, certain parts of the Takutu River are dry and you can walk straight over to Brazil. However, unlike years ago when we used those crossings which were much more convenient, it is now restricted to those entering Brazil or Guyana. So, unless you are just on the banks of the river having fun, everyone now has to use the international crossing, where you check with the Guyana Police Immigration and the Brazilian Federal Police.
Undoubtedly, the Easter Weekend is the best time of the year to connect with the Rupununi culture and to have an amazing view of the landscape in all its splendor.
I sent these pictures to a web site for Guyanese pilots and just wanted to share them and the story behind each one with you guys.
In the early to mid 80’s, I was a trader to Brazil and flew on the HS 748 weekly. We nicknamed her “Flop Hat,” although I’m not sure why. At that time, GAC had daily service into Lethem, Rupununi, Guyana South America and the daily arrival of Flop Hat was the high point of the day. It was the only way in and out. After a short time, we could tell which aircraft was approaching – whether sky van, 748, islander, or DC 6 – by the sound of their engines.
The Lethem flights were always overbooked. Having a confirmed booking was no reason to think you had a seat in or out of Georgetown or Lethem. Many flights were late or canceled due to mechanical problems weather pilots were sick, plane had gone to Trinidad or “just because.”
As a result, when we got to Lethem we never knew when we would be lucky to get on a flight back to Georgetown, Guyana. Shopping in Boa vista would take 2 days tops and it took at best a week of going to the airfield each day to make it out of Lethem, Guyana. Our early warning signal for the arrival of Flop Hat was the sweet distinctive whine of her turbines at which time all 150-200 of us traders would make a mad dash to the airfield. Flop Hat will forever have a place in my heart.
After moving to the New York, one day I was driving along the Grand Central Parkway passing LaGuardia airport and I heard it–that distinctive whine, all the memories of Lethem came flooding back, and I almost ran the car off the highway trying to see the approaching aircraft as it came into view. I was disappointed and confused. It was not an HS 748 but a Fokker 28. I could not believe I was fooled but later learned that the F 28 uses the same engines as the HS 748.
One more footnote, Lethem’s runway had a problem with cows overrunning it and, as a result, many landings had to be aborted. Tony Austin and I do not recall who made a wheels up landing there after having to make a go around and they forgot to put the gear down on the second approach.
Captain Astel Paul would get really pissed off when this happened. He was known for buzzing the cows off the runway. I happened to be on an early morning flight with Captain Paul into Lethem when he spotted cows on the runway. He did some flying that morning with a planeload of us, came in at tree top height upwind so the cows would not hear the aircraft approach, and chased them off the field.
This took about 4-5 passes of aerial acrobatics at a treetop level. I think I was the only one on board who was having the time of my life. I loved it, but the lady in the isle seat next to me was not having as much fun. She had okra cookup that morning and became airsick and vomited right in the isle.
I had the isle seat next to her and with Capt Paul doing all those stunts, the vomit was all over the floor. In the middle of all that, I took off my seat belt and folded my feet under me. Bibles came out from no where. People who, for one reason or the other, were not speaking at the time were now holding hands.
But he got the runway clear. Then, on the final moment just before touchdown, the second before, a voice rang out in the cabin “oh s**t! Did he remember to put down the f***king wheels?” Then touch down.
Thank God the wheels were down. That was the best flight ever.