Arapaima Rescue Mission in Rewa River, North Rupununi, Region 9. Feb 6, 2016

Drought conditions continue to impact communities in Region 9, wells are drying and forest and savannah fires are burning out of control. Community members from Rewa, a riverine community in the North Rupununi, reported that drought conditions are also threatening arapaima. Arapaima are the largest scaled fresh water fish in the world and Guyana’s rivers are a last stronghold for these endangered fish.

Arapaimas rescued from drought-affected pond


Kevin Edwards, Everton Allicock, Rojas Jonas and Stephanu Honorio with the second adult arapaima released (photo by Lakeram Hayes)


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Village Profile

Rewa Village Profile















Makushi, Patamona, Wapishana,



Farming, Fishing, Hunting, guides, canoe makers, carpenters, masons, handicraft



Christians Brethren,



Teachers, Health worker, Rangers, cooks


Village assets

Chainsaw, outboard engine, generator, HF radio, grass cutter, solar panels,


Economic activities

Farming, Fishing, hunting, tourism,



Primary and Nursery school, health post, Eco-Lodge, Teachers Quarter, Church, Village snackette, Village office,





Brief History of Rewa

Rewa is a recently established community of the North Rupununi.

The Village was granted title recently.

Rewa is located on the Right Bank of the Rupununi River, approximately 40 KM from Crash Water and 30KM from Apoteri. Crash Water and Apoteri are Rewa’s closest neighbors.

The Rewa River is just 700m east of the Village. In the early 1950’s, a resident of Massara village; Mr. Nicholas Edwards and his family were travelling to Apoteri by paddling boat, in search of a job at the Balata Company. As the groups were tired of travelling they decided to look for a suitable camping site to spend the night. They spotted one on the on the right bank with “taparoo” trees overhanging and a white sandy landing. It seems to be a good camp site for the Edwards.

Mr. Edwards was employed by the Company as a local balata bleeder. He immediately returned to the camp site he discovered before and built a temporary thatched camp. He and his entire family spent almost the whole wet season (May-September) there. He and his three elder sons work from there, they worked as for as the foot hills of the Makarapan and Awarme Mountains (bleeding). As Mr. Edwards spent time at the camp he prospected the area and found it to be arable land.

At the end of the wet season (September) the Edwards returned to Massara to check their house, livestock (cattle) and also take his grandfather back to school.

The following year, he returned once again to work and this time he began to clear farm sites and planted crops like: cassava, bananas, sugar cane, corn and tobacco. Mr. Edwards and sons cleared the land and the sons built their own example, for two of them had wives.

Around 1955 Mr. Edwards decided to migrate from Massara to his new homeland. He sold his remaining cattle but traveled with most of his poultry “stocks” . His sons transferred their school children from Massara to Apoteri- for Apoteri was much closer.

By 1960 Rewa was becoming a permanent campsite- with much proper houses being built and Mr. Edwards’s nephews migrating to the new homeland. The population during that year is said to be about fifteen with five households. The young men cleared the land south of the Rupununi River. During that same period some Wapishana from the south Rupununi were travelling to Apoteri by paddling boat in search of jobs. They camped at the new settlement and the two parties talk and shared their views and drank parakari. The “wapos “decided to settle there-about three groups, to telling thirteen people (adults & children). During 1965 the population grew to thirty five the settlement of Rewa was prospering and expanding. In 1975 some catholic Missionaries (priests) were travelling to Apoteri and camped at Edwards Settlement- they talked about building a church there-(but never come true). By early 1980 another “faith” (Christian Brethren) was introduced to the settlement. They were being frequently visited by the “foreign Christians” and by late 1980’s a temporary house of worship was built. A local school was built by the villagers, with thatched roof and mud brick walls in 1983. The first No of children to assemble in the new school was 12 (students), with Mr. Nathaniel Edwards being the first local teacher from the village. By 1990 the total population was 150. Permanent public buildings were built during 1990-1995 which included Primary school health center and HM head Quarter. Also non Governmental organization NGO’s funded project projects like sewing group’s wild life clubs and Eco-Tourism. A permanent Christian brethren church was built during that time. Today Rewa has a Village office, village shop village snackette, a library and modern built Nursery school. Rewa also has a new play field. In 2004, Rewa embarked on a Eco- tourism project and today Rewa’s Eco-lodge is open to the world and could accommodate the maximum of 18 guest at one time. 2009 population of Rewa shows a total of 270 with 48 households. Rewa Village is manage by Village council- headed by Toshao and 5 councilors. Public servants in Rewa included three train teachers, one health worker and Malaria personnel. Most Villagers of Rewa Depends on small scale farming and fishing for financial earning. About 10% Wapishana,6%patomanas and 84% Makushi make up the population of Rewa.


How Rewa got its name

The word Rewa is derived from the Makushi language “arîwa” meaning the “sucker mouth armored catfish” or “bushy Mouth”. Legend has it that this species of fish once lived underwater at the confluence of the Rewa River and Rupununi river. The size of this is said to be huge and had the appearance of a monster. Long, long ago this monster attacks small passing paddling boats by sticking out its enormous “bushy mouth” which is said to look like ite palm branches and smash its prey, taking it to the bottom of the River.

However “shaman” collaborated to remove the monster from its place, to the Makarapan Pond. Hence the Rewa River was named after the gigantic fish. Years later Rewa Village got its name from the Rewa River, because it’s so close to the river. A view from the air shows Rewa village sitting like a jewel in the vast and endless rainforest.

Rewa EcoLodge



  • Titled village under the New Amerindian Act was granted title in 1996 was granted 185.79 square miles in area.

  • Tourism Business

  • Village Council – the village council has representation from both male and female 4 males and 2 females

  • Equipment i.e. chainsaw, grass cuter, outboard motor and boats

  • Has schools, church, health post—although a remote community, it boast a new primary school with one trained teacher. The church is an important means of community life with villagers very involved in its activities. The health post is managed by a local health worker who gives basic health care, necessary because of the remoteness of the community

  • Relatively intact forest and savannahs

  • The Community has a strong environment support with the availability of wild animals, fishes still in abundance

  • VHF Radio--- the VHF radio is back in use after a long spell of inactivity and is seen as a crucial means of communication generally

  • Village farm

  • Check Point

  • Has a women’s sewing group


  • Poor job Opportunities

  • Misunderstanding between village council and community members

  • Lack of maintenance for equipment such as outboard

  • Lack of financial management for developing business in the community.

  • Due to the size of the community and the remoteness it is difficult to have a flourishing consumer’s business outlet. This causes the residents to travel over 40 miles to the main shopping centre of Lethem to buy even the basic necessities

  • Lack of good planning for the future-

Due to the lack of experience in planning the community still has a far way to go to be seen as a growing community. At first the community could not grasp the need for planning but after discussions on the importance of same made some input on how they wanted their Village to develop.


  • Lack of good communication-the VHF radio, although functioning at present , would at times suffer from long spells of inactivity , for one reason or another . It is normal for a bicycle to be used to take important message to Lethem. There is definitely a need for improved communication.

  • Lack of experienced leadership skills-----Due to the remoteness of the community the lack of a functioning educational system in the past the adult population did not fully benefit from a sound educational background.


  • Strengthening ties with NRDDB---Many opportunities can be made available to the community once it makes the bold move to strengthen ties with the North Rupununi District Development Board (NRDDB). One such activity would be for senior students to attend the Bina Hill Youth Learning Institute where they would prepare for leadership roles and skills for the future.

  • Markets-crops, handicrafts

  • Increase in the number of visitors to the Eco-lodge

  • Developing skills in others places which can then be used in the community



  • Fishing and hunting commercially----- this has already commenced and is a real threat. This mainly done by outsiders including Brazilian who hunt and fish indiscriminately using high powered weapons and seines. If allowed to continue this will seriously affect the way of life of the indigenous people.

  • Climate Change----- the threat of climate change is real. The indigenous populations are the first to be affected when there is too much sun or rain. With this phenomenon the basic staple diet of the local people becomes insufficient and so hunger and eventual steps in. Gathering for survival also cannot be done and so the way of life of the indigenous people becomes threatened.

  • More visitors than the village is able to manage

  • Loss of language and culture


Development Plans

General Development Plans


The community has a Health Centre, manage by one Health Worker and one Malaria Personnel (Microscopist)

Fuel (gasoline) should always be on standby at the Health Post in case of emergency.

An airstrip should also be made for rapid transportation of critical patients to the regional hospital.

A midwife should be trained and dentex is urgently needed, this will ease the patients long journey to Annai to seek medical service to serve the community.


Water and Sanitation

Immediately the water is a need to supply Primary School, Health Posts, and surrounding houses with portable water this should be treated as priority, a solar pump with a well would be ideal. To have an adequate supply of portable water system for homes, because community members are using the River water and it is unsafe for drinking.


HF radio for village and also for emergencies, phone booth, cell phones service for better communication and internet service and booster will be very important.

Equipment for development

Solar system for each house hold


Agriculture is practiced at a subsistence level but some farmers produce more than needed to gain money for purchasing goods needed.

The community as whole has a four acre farm crops planted is cassava banana ground provision and sugar cane.

Fish harvesting is on a small skill is in the community, yard children rearing is ongoing.

Eco-Lodge staff also benefits when there is guests.


More home are being built on higher land or main land.

Community members are now planning to build their home in orders (spacing) there is Pakaraimas tendency to use boards to construct their walls and floor of houses, some immediate need items, infrastructure are;

  1. Proper access to roads

  2. Proper housing scheme

  3. Renovation of Primary School

  4. Latrine for health posts and for visitors





Annual Village Priority Plan


  • Project





    Renovating of the Primary school

    Renovate the primary school to have better and healthy school.

    *Writing of proposal for support with funding.

    *Write letters to the high authorities *Construction of the building


    April2010-December 2011

    Village council and Head teacher writing to the Ministry of Education.

    Improving the road access

    To have better road access during the dry season.

    *consult the matter with NRDDB.

    *start working on the road.

    *use the villagers to help along with the construct.

    All year

    Villagers will support the village council working on the road.

    Extension of Women activity centre

    Extending the Women Activity Centre and equipping same.

    *Seek for funds from organizations for support.

    *Start constructing the building.


    May 2010-2011

    In the mean while women show more interest in doing their work.


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