EL PAUJI
A unique frontier community in
the Gran Sabana, Bolívar State, southeastern Venezuela

Nature -- Community -- Culture

El Pauji en Español

EL PAUJI -- PROJECTS AND ORGANISATIONS

CULTURAL LIFE

La Casa de la Cultura
In the heart of the village lies an old house which has been converted into the home of El Pauji's cultural association. There you'll find artworks by villagers. The Casa de la Cultura has also held exhibitions in Santa Elena.

Salon Amariba and The International Creators’ Encounter
Ten minutes east of the village, hidden away behind a forest, the dance hall built by Marlene Murillo is a stunning structure. It was designed by one of Venezuela's most renowned architects, Fruto Vivas. The hall dominates a hillside, overlooking a rolling valley of savannah and forest.
International Creators' Encounters have been held over the last years in the hall. There is accommodation for about twenty people, including a kitchen/canteen area and toilets. Stunning pools in the nearby river provide baths and showers.
For more information about the next Encuentro, or about using the hall for cultural activities, contact Marlene Murillo in Caracas on (0212) 753 9314 amariba@cantv.net.

View of the Oriental Tepuis, by Santiago RamosTaller El Avión Art
The taller began life as a loose group of artists about fifteen years ago, when its founder, Nelson Salinas, lived in the fusilage of an old DC-3. The association has since held exhibitions of "The Fragile Land" in Merida and Caracas. The Taller's aim is to raise awareness of the Gran Sabana's importance, fragility and cultural heritage through works of art. Artists of the group include 'KaiKutse' and Adan Rodriguez, Pemon from El Pauji and Santiago Ramos, based in Santa Elena.

LEARNING LIFE

The ENUPA Foundation is El Pauji's educational foundation. It was created by the parents to gather funds for the village's school. They have made great sacrifices for their children's education, and have sought donations from many organisations, mainly non-governmental, though the state does now contribute to the school's running. The school's aim is to provide a formation for life in the Sabana, and thus curricula include such practical classes as bee-keeping. The Foundation covers both the pre-school and ages from 5 to 15.

VOLUNTEER AND COMMUNITY PROJECT

The Peace-Villages Foundation (PVF) is a charitable non-profit NGO dedicated to promoting volunteerism, providing community service, encouraging collaboration and improving cultural awareness.

PVF is a community based organization in El Paují. It offers volunteer programs that are a mix of community service, educational opportunities and recreational activities. We provide volunteers with the unique opportunity to experience first hand the culture of the region where they participate in volunteering projects that are both beneficial to the community and rewarding to the volunteers.

We support and contribute to the psychological, emotional, physical, cultural and social development of local indigenous communities, specially woman and children which belong to the most underprivileged members of Latin American society and promote empowerment of people through challenging community projects in the humanitarian, educational, agricultural and environmental fields.

We promote International Voluntary Service as an effective means of intercultural education and community service. We offer Volunteer Placement opportunities combined with Adventure Tour Travel and Spanish Language and Culture Immersion Programs to people of all ages and nationalities who are committed to the shared values of peace, justice, tolerance, cross-cultural understanding and global cooperation, to the preservation of indigenous cultures, traditions and ecologies, and to the enhancement of the quality of life around the world.

For more information see the Peace-Villages Foundation website.

CIVIL LIFE

The Asociación de Vecinos, ASOPAUJI (Neighbours’ Association)
ASOPAUJI is the official neighbours' association. A president is voted for every year, and regular meetings take place to decide village matters.

Defensa Civil and Grupo de Rescate El Paují (Emergency Services)
Run on a voluntary basis, the Grupo de Rescate provides emergency aid throughout the Sabana. It also trains volunteers in first aid and rescue skills.

The Medical Clinic is run on a shoe-string, but provides vital medical aid in the village.

The Asociación de Vigilantes Voluntarios del Ambiente de la Frontera Sur, AVVA (the region’s environmental NGO)
AVVA began as a reaction to the increasing damage inflicted on the area around El Pauji by mining. It has been responsible for the halting of many clandestine mining operations, and continues to lobby in Caracas for greater environmental awareness and protection. Contact Anna Sartorio de Ponte: anaponte@ven.net.

SPIRITUAL LIFE

The church - La Capilla de San Pablo de Kawaik in the centre of the village
Pemon celebrations in Waiparu
Many of the villagers practise yoga, tai-chi and therapeutic dance.
Further along the road to Ikabaru is the Campamento Solonia which specialises in spiritual healing.

FUTURE LIFE

Installing clean energy and improving use of hydrographic resources are great priorities in the village. Obtaining the funds for the infrastructure is the problem.

Encouraging Existing and Future Sustainable Micro-Industries
: Bee-keeping, tourism and arts and crafts are the village's mainstays, but more small-scale economic activities are required.

Directing and Controlling Tourism & Ecotourism: Damage from tourism is minimal in El Pauji. However, environmental criteria are essential for its future.
Disposing of waste and limiting erosion are the main priorities.

Promoting the Study and Use of the Region’s Soils: Greater knowledge of the soil use would provide more economic alternatives to mining in the area. The soil is very thin and nutrient poor.
Permaculture will be key to developing this sector. A seminar on the subject was held in the region recently, and it is hoped this will spur further work.

Information exchange on sustainable management systems: Sharing lessons and information with the outside world and similar villages is essential.

 


These pages are part of the larger site:

The only English-language site dedicated to
the wonders of the Gran Sabana and Canaima National Park