El Pauji is a small
community at the southern edge of the Gran Sabana, on the border
with Brazil. The settlement began life as rest-point for the workers
clearing the 150-kilometre road from Santa Elena de Uairen
to Ikabaru. The founding population were miners
and the Pemon who had always lived there.
In the early 80s, people from 'Outside' started to arrive. They
were mostly young urban couples seeking some peace and tranquility,
and a more natural environment in which to bring up their children.
Many were architects, artists and creative types with a different
vision of the world and spirituality. The new settlers changed the
character of the village forever.
They have established a school (kindergarden, primary and secondary)
where Pemon and criollo children sit side by side; a health
clinic and rescue service; civil, cultural and environmental associations;
and a renowned dance center.
The community is a great example of what
can be achieved in the back of beyond, with little or no government
assistance. The road to Santa Elena is often virtually impassable,
occasionally taking up to four hours to cover the 70 kilometres.
In mid-99, for example, two bridges collapsed leaving the community
'incomunicado' for over two weeks. The only access then is by air.
The last years of economic turmoil in Venezuela have taken their
toll on the village. Many people have left to find work in Santa
Elena or back in Caracas. Children reaching college age has also
been a factor. There are also many tensions due to continued mining
of local rivers for gold and diamonds.
Located as it is on the edge of the ancient Guayana Shield, harbouring
the most precious resource of all -- water -- it would be a tragedy
if the area's natural wealth and wonders were to fall foul of short-term
The community does now benefit from a
(+58) (0)289 808 1033. It belongs to Marielis Gil,
who doesn't speak English. You can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also contact Manuel Matheus of Weimure camp on email@example.com.
We intend to develop and expand these pages over the coming months
Find out more: -
-- short videos from El Pauji
How to get to El
Pauji, and What to Do
Where to stay
in the village
and projects in the village
Life in the Bush
of Beyond -- El Pauji in pictures
Impressions and stories of
El Pauji and the Gran Sabana