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Day 7: Savannah in the morning and Georgetown in the evening: the Coronavirus catches up with us

Thursday, 12th March 2020

Again, we set off before sunrise, this time to observe anteaters in the savannah. On our way, we see a lot of burnt areas. Hunters and farmers use fire to flush animals out or win new grassland. These fires often get out of control. No luck this time, the anteaters have hidden themselves too well, but we’re still impressed by the vastness of the landscape, which is covered with termite hills.

Back in the caiman house, Marcellus Thomas tells us about how he breeds turtles. This project has now been running for 9 years and aims to raise the numbers of river turtles, which are threatened by extinction due to hunting and stalking. The eggs are removed from nests along the river, hatched in tubs in the lodge (600 eggs are here at the moment), raised for a year in a safe environment and the turtles are then released back into the water. This calls for a big celebration, making the public aware of how important the turtles are. Marcellus is in contact with various zoos in the US, who support his project. Above all, he would like an incubator, in order to specifically raise females (needing more warmth) and less male animals, to enable the population to grow. I’m extremely enthusiastic about the project which still relies very much on handwork and above all, on Marcellus’ initiative.

Then the jeep arrives and we drive over the bumpy, tropical-red track to the airport at Lethem, where there are already numerous warehouses belonging to the Chinese.

We arrive late, exhausted, but are very happy to return to Georgetown – just in time for our appointment with the German Honorary Consul in Guyana, Hemsing. He assesses the situation in Guyana, including the oil issue. In his opinion, there’s a considerable backlog of questions regarding schools and training, because the system receives little promotion and support. No wonder the big Brain Drain continues – something we heard several times on our trip.

View from airplane
Return flight to Georgetown

And slowly, Coronavirus news becomes apparent. It seems Trinidad and Tobago, which we were aiming to visit as part of our mission, have closed the border to Germans.