Mainstay/Whyaka gets ready for Heritage Day Celebrations

Visitors to this year’s Amerindian Heritage Village, Mainstay/Whyaka will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in various aspects of the rich Arawak Culture.

Toshao of Mainstay/Whyaka, Yvonne Pearson, MP.

Toshao Yvonne Pearson, who is also a Government Member of Parliament, on Thursday told the Department of Public Information that preparations are in full swing as the village gets ready to host the first Amerindian Heritage Day Activity on September 10.

“It gives us the opportunity to highlight Mainstay/Whyaka”, Pearson said noting that the village leadership and its people are happy that their village was selected to host the auspicious occasion.

“When you come down there for heritage, we are highlighting our village while highlighting our culture our food, drinks and cultural display, our traditional wear or whatever, we will be an opening programme with a traditional prayer, Pearson said.

Lake Mainstay

There will be a formal opening ceremony, which will feature speakers, including the Amerindian Affairs Minister, Pauline Sukhai and the Regional Chairman among other persons.  

The highlight will be the feature address by President Dr Irfaan Ali by the lakeside.

Visitors will also be allowed to participate and win prizes for traditional activities like crab catching, canoe racing, Piwari drinking competition, and other activities.

 “We will have naming of birds, fishes and trees because our young people, some of the birds, they don’t know them, so we bring back these things, not the scientific name but the traditional names how we know it, for example, we call it ‘Old Witch’, but it has a scientific name, we want to know, could our children identify these birds and trees and fishes, so we are going to have all these competitions,” Pearson said.

Residents will also display their local products, while a variety of wines will be launched.

“At heritage, we will highlight the Chief Exotic Wine, these are natural fruits from our fruit trees in mainstay, like the jam on the cashew the cherries, passion fruit, mangoes, bananas you name it, we have those wines that we will be highlighting at heritage,” Pearson said.

Mainstay/Whyaka, located on the Essequibo Coast, Region Two, has a population of 760.

At Amerindian Heritage Day Observances 2022, aspects of its history will also be highlighted and one of the first persons to attend a makeshift school in the area, will be present to share in the festivities.

Pearson shared with DPI that, the first school in the community was built by one of the first settlers to the area, Tommy Ebeneezer Pearson in the 1940s.

The village has come a long way since then, Pearson explained, with a well-educated population, vibrant farming and logging community and plans to expand into commercial farming soon, as the youth population is showing interest in agriculture and tourism.

The community also has other activities planned for September.

We want this thing to be big we want to see hundreds of people out there and this heritage walk is from Anna Regina to Mainstay Lake…many years ago we used to walk from mainstay to Anna Regina, we use to come out shop and sometimes walk back with our groceries, so we want to see if we still have the endurance,” Pearson said.

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