The Start? Pejego Tours working together with village Semoisi!
By: Tania van Velthuizen
Do You want to know How and When Pejego Tours started working with the Maroon village of Semoisi which is located in the middle of the pristine Amazon Rainforest? and why the Community based tourism start? Please keep on reading….for the right answers!
Sleep in a hammock in Semoisi before 2014
During my stay in Europe, I visited my homeland at least once a year, also taking the opportunity to visit resorts! The visits to Semoisi were always different, with no guest house or hotel in the village. I was given an empty house and had to take everything with me; from a hammock to the ingredients for all my meals!
Visiting this Maroon village after 2015
During my visit to Suriname in 2014, I told my Maroon friend Fina about this. And believe it or not, after 6 months she called me and said, “Tania mi bow 2 woso, kon bedi i kukru” (Tania I built 2 houses with beds and a kitchen). I was so happy! Because now I just bring my clothes, no need anymore to drag all kinds of stuff when I went to Semoisi! During the house’s inauguration, I attended the celebration and was the first to sleep in a house on a bed!
Why Community tourism in Semoisi?
During my stay in Semoisi, I saw tourists from the nearby resort who were making a Village walk and Semoisi was not making a penny! Then the idea came to mind, to train the people of Semoisi in the practical and theoretical issues of tourism so the village itself can accommodate tourists! And so the Project for Community-based Tourism was born! After approval of the project by the traditional village government, the local NGO carried out this project together with Pejego Tours with funds from Suriname Conservation Foundation. And this was also the start of Pejego Tours to work with the village of Semoisi concerning tourism!
Semoisi is ready to receive tourists!
In 2015, 52 villagers successfully completed the tourism training and all students received a certificate. Souvenirs are now being made and put up for sale for tourists visiting Semoisi. Some villagers have also found work in the nearby resorts thanks to their certificate! Komase resort was upgraded and can host now around 8 tourists, sleeping options are hammocks or beds and a large dining room is available. Several trips are provided by guides who are trained by us. Activities designed for tourists are; village walks, visiting the rapids, meeting locals including the Captain of the village, storytelling during the campfire and making & tasting local traditional food. We are looking forward to your booking to VISIT THE AUTHENTIC VILLAGE OF SEMOISI!
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Tania van Velthuizen is the owner of Pejego Tours. She was born and raised in Suriname. She studied Surinamese law and loves to travel. Before going to Europe, she worked at the Ministry of Regional Development, so she visited every bit of the Amazon rainforest. At the time, she fell in love with everything it had to offer, including the Amerindians and the Maroons, the fauna and flora. She also wrote a book on the land rights of Indigenous people and the descendants of the Maroons.
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