Very little is known of the history of the Patamonas who have resided in parts of the Pakaraima Mountain, Region Eight, for a very long time.
Patamona is an Amerindian tribe that is mostly found in mountainous areas. An early contact between them and Europeans was made in the early nineteenth century when they were described as mountaineers.
On January 01, last, Paramakatoi’s oldest Patamona resident, Madeline Simon, turned 106-years-old.
She was honoured at a special ceremony that coincided with the launching of a new church in the community
Residents of Paramakatoi, Monkey Mountain, Kato, Taruka, Kaibarupai, Kopinang, Chenapau, Kurukubaru and many more communities were in attendance at the function during which she was thanked for the services she rendered to the community in her youthful days.
Many more senior citizens were also recognised, including Simon’s deceased husband, John Simon who was the first local Pastor of then, Pilgrim Holiness Church and who was responsible for bringing over two hundred Brazilians to reside at Taruka during his missionary stint.
The Simons reared eight children, three of them- Calvin Simon, Kathy Sue Belle and Gregory Simon still live in Paramakatoi, while, Ashton Simon, Michael Simon, Nancy Perreira live on the Coast and another, Cheryl Arneaud lives in Trinidad.
The Simons’ eldest son Ashton Simon in brief remarks told the gathering, “I cannot ever remember experiencing anything out of the ordinary. My dad was an expert hunter; my mom is a hard working farmer, so between them we were never out of food. My mom prays every day for her children and their families and the villagers, maybe that has kept us on safe grounds over the years. I am proud to be one of her many children whom she raised under careful guidance of the church and never spared the rod – that was an important element of my childhood upbringing. During my recent visit back home, I walked to the local shop bare feet and found it to be surprising to some youths, but little do they know, I and many others ran up the Paramakatoi Mountain from our humble dwellings, bare feet to get to school.”
When asked the reason for the longevity among Patamonas, Ashton Simon said “we are mountaineers and exercise is an important element for health. Patamonas climb every day. Clean air, organic foods, lots of cassiri and a healthy system does play an important element too, particularly the educational component.”
Special mention and recognition was also showered on Papai and Amai Agness Williams, father and mother of Ovid and Ian Williams.
Agness Williams was the only known person who spoke English to the Missionaries during the mission’s initial visits to Paramakatoi. She subsequently became their interpreter and so, many accolades were bestowed on her and family.
Her contributions as an English speaker became the bedrock for the missionaries during the latter 40’s and onwards.
Papai Williams, the longest serving Toshao was highly respected and showered with the fullest of cooperation on matters that benefitted Paramakatoi and other villages.
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