Monkey Mountain youths to benefit from lapidary training in Brazil
Ten youths from Monkey Mountain, Region Eight (Potaro-Siparuni) have embarked on a one-month training in Boa Vista, Brazil, for the Lapidary project, the first of its kind in Guyana.The youths, five males and five females made the journey to the neighbouring State of Roraima, Brazil, to commence the final stage of preparation at SENAI, a highly recognised technical institution in Brazil, before putting on their white robes in their state-of-the-art laboratory on home soil.Minister within the Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs Ministry, Valerie Garrido-Lowe, who is the brain behind this sustainable economic livelihood project, said the Government has full confidence in the indigenous youths and is not afraid to invest in them.The Minister said since ascension to office in 2015, the Government began to place special emphasis on hinterland development, particularly the youths, in an effort to ensure they become less dependent on handouts as was the custom.Minister Garrido-Lowe thanked SENAI for its partnership with the Government of Guyana on this life-changing initiative and is confident that this initiative will benefit the Guyanese youths.Consul General for Guyana in Roraima and other Northern States of Brazil, Shirley Melville noted that in 2018, Guyana and Brazil celebrated 50 years of bilateral relations and remains confident this will continue for many more decades to come.In thanking SENAI for making the course a reality, Melville stated that “We appreciate this very much and with this very big project in front of you, it has to be successful. It must be all about teamwork, and you have to realise also that it reflects very well on behalf of SENAI. So together we will make this a very successful project”.Speaking through an interpreter, Director of Professional Education CFP, SENAI Jamili Vasconselos, encouraged the youths to capitalise on acquiring all the knowledge possible over the duration of the course, while also taking the opportunity to learn more about what the institution has to offer. She said SENAI’s doors remain open for future pursuits.Following the first day of training, one of the beneficiaries, Joanase Stanislaus, said “It was real good, the impossible became possible. When we started classes it was like how do we begin our work and by listening to the teacher we were able to know what to do with the equipment and how to use it”.Another student, Samuel King, said “When we started the training we see something we didn’t expect to see when we had the tour. The lesson was really good, we learnt a lot of things yesterday like how there are plenty precious stones, and diamond that we think was the highest one was at number seven and two or three of the precious stones are found in Guyana and in my region”.Meanwhile, the state-of-the-art lapidary facility, once operable, will produce jewellery, ornaments and exotic pieces of furniture using semi-precious stones which can be found in abundance on the plains of the Pakaraimas.This project is also intended to promote the village’s tourism prospects with an additional component added where tourists will be afforded the opportunity of participating in a “semi-precious stone hunting expedition”. This will allow them the opportunity of choosing their own piece of semi-precious stone and their own designs which will be produced to order back at the lab.Kato, Kurukabaru, Maikwak and Tuseneng are on board with the project and will be supplying semi-precious stones to the Monkey Mountain Lapidary, among them are crystals, amethyst, volcanic jasper and agate gemstones, adding value to the product.Monkey Mountain, or the village’s traditional name, “Wandike” is home to more than one thousand residents and is nestled beautifully in the North Pakaraima Mountain Range and lies seventeen hundred feet above sea level. Its main economic activity is subsistence farming, hunting and fishing.