So here I am again. We don’t have working internet so I have to post my blogs all at once. And the only other thing i have been doing is chillen out in the jungle with only the hot hot hot heat to bother me. Oh yea that reminds me of this joke PCVs make fun of themselves for. I don’t really remember the joke exactly but it is something to the effect of “you will never read so many books in one year that you never want to read”. I already see how true this is. o.k. I should just tell the story of what I have experienced.
I can’t quit remember what I told you last but I bet it was real interesting, so I will interest you some more. I came back to the city area for two days after homestay (I know I told you about this), just before we went into the interior or the bush to see our new site
The Bush: 1. The jungle. 2. A place away from anything that resembles anything in the United States, and everything that resembles the Amazon.
This is an extremely detailed description so please read slowly. I know how overwhelming my writing skills can be.
We were finally told where we will be living for the next two years. I am going to be living on the Upper Suriname River. So let me tell you how I get to my site.
1.We start in the capital Paramaribo
2.We grab a wagi (bus) on Samaakastraat (the only place Saramaccans go when they make it out to the city)
3.The wagi ride is 4 hours long on a bumby ass rode (picture being squished in a tiny ass van thing with no air condition and car sickness)
4.Once we get to the Suriname river I then take a 4 hour boat ride to my site (not an American boat but a boat carved our of one tree with no cushion seats)
Now picture a boat cruzin 30 mph through the jungle and you can see what its like to be me. It is breath taking. I have to take pictures or a small video and post it but I am not yet comfortable enough to flash my American belongings out in Samaaka-ville.
I am getting ahead of myself. Before I visited my future site Brooke and I visited a Sur16, Michelle, who has lived on the river for a year. We stayed with her for three days and we got to experience what her daily life is like on the river. Her village unlike mine is Christian but nonetheless it was cool place to live, you can defiantly tell that she lives well with her villagers. Once the three days where up I left to go to my site all by my lonesome.
So I get on a boat with the other Sur17s and we all got dropped off along the river. Brooke got dropped off first. She lives about an hour walking from my site. Then we stopped at the next village where Shannon, a Sur16, lives. She got on the boat and informed me that there has been a death in my village and the body just passed by and we have to wait 15min to get to my site because no one other then the men responsible (whatever that means) can be present at the dock when the body arrives. So basically I got to my village at an inconvenient time. I mean who wants to be introduced to mourning villages with which you will be living amongst for the next two years. Not me I know that for sure. So I asked Shannon who speaks the language like a champ to aid me through this time. It might sounds like a copout but I was ok with wimping out in this situation and I don’t think anyone judges me for it. Anyways we found my house and met with my Captain who is also my counterpart.
Captain: the mayor of the village. If anything happens or changes or is being built it goes through this guy first. The job is given to the oldest man in the blood line of captains within each village.
Counterpart: someone who lives and is respected in the village and guides you through cultural integration. The cultural things can be how to act and dress during different traditional ceremonies. The counterpart can help with work related issues such as calling a meeting, running some sort of information session or finding out what the community needs. You can have multiple counterparts within your village to fill these roles.
Anyways I hung out for four days with my villagers. I learned how to cross-stitch and how to dry cassava to make cassava bread. All in all it was a good experience. Oh yea and I even baya (danced) at one of the brooko da dia parties at night (they party from 11 at night to 6 in the morning. Brooko da dia means break the day. So they party till the sun rises). Oh and they have a unique way of dancing, which involves a lot of hip movement. I have a lot to learn. I need to write a blog about all the cool cultural practices that are found in the Saamaka customs. I don’t really know them all so this blog might come moo lati.
I am back in the city for a week and a half with the other Sur 17s. Lets see how this goes.
Me nango. Me oo skifi u wan oto lacye. Moo lati. (I am going. I will write you one other time. More later.)