A Vibrant Vine Reborn: The Story of Kumu

Written by on February 24, 2024

 

Historical Insight

In the heart of Guyana’s Region 9, nestled amidst the verdant embrace of nature, lies the village of Kumu. Formerly known as Kumoa, this land bears the rich heritage of the Macushi Tribe, where the spirit of community intertwines with the lush tapestry of tradition. As I embarked on my journey into the history of Kumu, I was guided by an elder in the community- Mrs. Odelia Francis, who, to my pleasant surprise, turned out to be the head of the village council. She graciously shared the essence of Kumu’s story.

Kumu Falls Credit: Stabroek News

“Kumoa”, aptly named after the resilient vine that once flourished abundantly behind the majestic Kumu Falls, symbolizes the enduring legacy of craftsmanship and sustainability. The vines, akin to the cherished memories of generations past, were lovingly crafted into essential tools like sifters, embodying a legacy that lasted for years with diligent care. However, the ravages of fires swept through the land, leaving behind charred remnants of a once-thriving tradition, a poignant reminder of the fragility of heritage.

Mrs. Odelia Francis Head of the Kumu Village Council

As Odelia guided me through the village’s history, she lamented the disconnect amongst the new generation, many of whom are strangers to the native Macushi language and past customs that define Kumu’s identity. Odelia’s concern for language preservation is a call to action, reminding us that a community’s soul resides in its stories and traditions. Yet, amidst these challenges, hope blooms like the vibrant flora that graces the landscape.

Community Development

Kumu isn’t just clinging to the past, the heartbeat of Kumu pulses with resilience and innovation, epitomized by the Community’s Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) initiative. Their hot meal kitchen, sanitary blocks, and village kitchen stand as concrete examples of their efforts to improve lives. The tireless efforts of community service officers and enhancement workers reflect the collective dedication to preserving the pristine beauty of Kumu, a testament to the spirit of unity and stewardship.

Roadway to the hydro construction site

At the forefront of Kumu’s transformative journey stands the Kumu Hydropower Project. This 1.5 MW beacon of sustainable energy envisioned by the previous Senior Council Mr. Emrack Francis is nearing completion and isn’t just about generating electricity. It is a symbol of self-reliance, a beacon of hope for a brighter future. The story of its journey, from a whispered dream years ago to a tangible reality, is one of perseverance and community spirit. It is a testament to the power of collective action, fueled by the memory of ancestors who harnessed the strength of nature.

Odelia’s anecdote about the waterfall’s powerful current that once swept away a woman bathing with her child- both of whom he assured me are fine- serves still as a stark reminder of nature’s force and the potential it holds. Just as that current could have brought tragedy, it is now being harnessed to bring light and progress to the village.

Listen to Community Train this Friday for more Community Stories like this.

Farewell Kumu

As I bid farewell to the beautiful village of Kumu, Odelia’s words lingered like a gentle breeze, carrying the echoes of a shared history and a collective dream. In Kumu, tradition and progress dance in harmony, weaving a tapestry of resilience and hope that transcends the passage of time. It’s a story that resonates with communities across Guyana, reminding us that the past is our foundation, the present our opportunity, and the future a canvas waiting to be painted with collective determination and innovation. So, let Kumu’s story inspire us all to embrace our heritage, nurture our communities, and harness the power that lies within, just like the mighty current of the Kumu Falls.

 

Story By: Ronella Harris 

 


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