It’s easy to get dillusioned or even cynical about mankind in a time of Trump, or of some wayward soul in the interior with a high-powered rifle, and not much else, shooting a beautiful jaguar, or of a man in Georgetown leaving his dog chained up in the hot sun all day long. In those circumstances, despair is your frequent companion, but fortunately that is only through one lens; thank God there is another one available through which you can see people who bring joy bubbling in you like a spring. Just this week, out of the blue, from my ubiquitous wife Annette, I learned about an amazing Amerindian woman, Fay James, unknown to most of us, who operates from the upstream Paumbo Island in the Essequibo River, offering accommodation and unique fishing trips for visitors. Her life story serves to remind us that above the despair there is much of value about. Last week at this time, I did not know she existed, not even her name. Today I am writing to ensure that the next time we’re talking about Guyanese we should be honouring, the name of Fay James should be on the list. Here is an introduction to her, in her own words:
“My name is Fay James and I am a 28 years old Waipashana/Makushi. I was born in Apoteri which is an indigenous community located in the Rupununi, Region 9, and I am a single parent of two children ages 12 and 6. I attended Apoteri Primary School and then Bina Hill Institute which is a technical vocational school in Annai. Upon completion, through the hinterland scholarship programme, I was awarded an opportunity to further my education at the Guyana School of Agriculture where I chose to study fisheries as my dad was an expert in arapaimas in Brazil at the time. In my final project at the Guyana School Agriculture as a fisheries student I chose to focus on what I could do to help my community, and decided to create a sustainable fisheries project as when [I] think about the Rupununi, all I wonder about is about the effects of over-harvesting since a lot of people from the north use the area for commercial fishing…..