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by Sabrina Eastman
Katoonarib village is a hidden gem nestled in the heart of the Rupununi savannah in South Central Guyana. The name of the village translates to Bush Island. Katoonarib used to be a satellite of Sawariwau, but has set up its own traditional government. The village is a vibrant hub of traditional Wapishana culture and is surrounded by a vast expanse of grasslands, dotted with small bushes, and home to a diverse range of wildlife. The people of Katoonarib have lived in harmony with the natural environment for generations, and the village is a testament to the resilience and resourcefulness of the human spirit.
Life in Katoonarib is a unique experience, with many aspects that make people happy. One of the best things about living in the village is the strong sense of community. People in the village know each other well, and they often come together to celebrate special events, support one another during difficult times, and share in the joys of daily life. The community spirit in Katoonarib provides a sense of belonging and support, which can be a real source of happiness and well-being.
The natural environment is another aspect of life in Katoonarib that brings joy to the people living there. The surrounding savannah offers a unique and enriching experience, with opportunities to explore the outdoors, learn about the local flora and fauna, and engage with traditional cultural practices. The village is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including jaguars, giant anteaters, and toucans, making it a haven for nature enthusiasts.
One of the most popular cultural practices in Katoonarib is the traditional Wapishana dance. The dance is an important part of the cultural heritage of the village, and it is performed during heritage month which is September. The dance involves intricate footwork, and the dancers wear brightly colored costumes made from feathers and traditional cloth. The sound of the drums and the rhythm of the dance are mesmerizing, and it is an experience that stays with you forever.
However, life in Katoonarib is not without its challenges. One of the biggest challenges faced by the people in the village is the limited access to healthcare. The nearest health center is in the centre of the village making it difficult for the persons that live far distance, and medical supplies and equipment can be scarce. This can make it difficult for residents to receive proper medical care when they need it, which can be a real source of stress and anxiety.
Another challenge faced by the people in Katoonarib is the limited employment opportunities. The economy of the village is largely based on subsistence agriculture and small-scale handicraft production. As a result, there are limited employment opportunities available in the village, which can make it difficult for residents to earn a living wage. Many people in the village have to travel to nearby towns or cities to find work, which can be time-consuming and expensive.
The challenges with infrastructure are also a concern in Katoonarib. The village is located in a remote part of Guyana, and as a result, the infrastructure can be limited. The roads can be difficult to navigate, especially during the rainy season, and access to reliable internet and electricity can be intermittent. This can make it challenging for residents to stay connected with the outside world and can limit opportunities for education, employment, and communication.
Despite these challenges, the people of Katoonarib remain resilient and determined. They continue to celebrate their cultural heritage and find joy in the simple pleasures of life in the savannah. From the beauty of the natural surroundings to the warmth of the community spirit, Katoonarib is a special place that holds a unique charm for those who call it home.