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Claudette Fleming
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Life off the Grid

Posted by Claudette Fleming about 10 years ago

A practical guide to traditional indigenous off grid lifestyle in Moraro, Guyana, South America.

Are indigenous peoples lagging behind while others ‘move ahead’? There was a time when, the answer most certainly would have been ‘YES’. However times change and now the opposite appears true. 

As more and more people are trying to get off grid by renouncing a more developed lifestyle, most indigenous communities in Guyana, South America continue to live off grid, mostly by choice and circumstance. And, traditional indigenous peoples are definitely experienced and competent in the off grid lifestyle. 

In Moraro we follow traditions. Life is as practical as you can get. Living is more satisfying and meaningful than that which we experience outside. Also, from experience, we have learnt that the life is good for overall health and well-being. Moraro is a heaven for revitalisation.

Environment: There is the white sandy hilltop, with a spring and creek at the foot. Swamplands and forests are nearby. The area is pristine with surrounding trees and the open skies make magical moonlight nights. No need for much electricity then.

Water: Moraro has its own spring/creek which supplies most of our needs.

Health & Well being: 
As well as relaxing, life is physical e.g. climbing the hill after a wash in the creek. Participating in maintenance e.g. raking leaves is also physical. We walk everywhere. Moraro is about 25mins brisk walk from the boat landing. Being far from the ‘developed’ coastland and in an indigenous area, it is secure. There is less to worry about so there is less stress.

For minor and a few times major health issues, we use herbs and trust the local forest medicine expert. However there is a recent western style medical outpost about 20mins walk away and one of our nearest neighbours is the local medic. The nearest western style hospital is 45 mins drive by boat.

Energy: Apart from solar lights supplemented by oil lamp/candle, much is made of the open style house to invite the sun/moonlight in. Cooking isn't a central part of the day’s activity so kerosene stove is used. However there are plans afoot to build an indigenous style earth floor kitchen with rocket-like wood cooker.

Wild life & Pets: Moraro is a birdwatchers paradise. Macaws, toucans and humming birds are everyday birds and tracks of animals like the jaguar and deer can sometimes be seen. We share the kept animals occasionally (mostly dogs) of our nearby neighbours.

Off Grid Control: There are no TV, radio, lined electricity, gas, tax, insurance etc. etc.  There are no bills except for the usual top-up charges on the mobile phone which is our only electronic contact with the outside world.

Challenges: There is nothing like being challenged or having to be inventive e.g. planting the garden, cleaning the creek, deciding how to prepare the food of the day.

Garbage Control: Our food is mostly fresh, so we have to cope with less packaging. Also, there is less need for consumption goods. We only pay the occasional visit to our neighbours (which is refreshing in itself) and may attend the occasional celebration. Societal expectations are not demanding, so there is less to buy. We also limit plastics. However we recycle and burn the little garbage we produce.

Investment & Work input: The major investment is in building & tools. All the work on housing and some on the surrounding forest/farm maintenance are done by local people who are remunerated, or bartered with, for their work.   

Local Government: Moraro is in a village that has a toushau or council leader along with councillors.

Getting to Moraro: Read more about what it is like to leave the hustle and bustle of the ‘outside world’  by clicking

A note to all interested in off grid living: We would be welcoming visitors from next year. If you would like to experience the Moraro lifestyle, contact us using the special CONTACT PAGE


2014 04 30 13 25 02 704 Moraro 2014 04 29 11 33 28 981

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