Brownsberg and Stuwmeer

My last weekend in Suriname I went on one final trip, to Brownsberg.

Brownsberg

The view from the top of Brownsberg

At the bottom of Brownsberg is an enormous lake, the size of the Province of Utrecht in The Netherlands. This lake is man-made. The Dutch government built a big dam, to make electricity from the water.

Guide explaining

Our guide explaining the history of the lake

We hiked down to Leoval, one of the waterfalls on Brownsberg

Leoval

My companions enjoying Leoval

The next day the weather wasn’t as nice, but the view was gorgeous.

Stuwmeer

Stuwmeer

When they created the lake they didn’t have the time/funds to rid the area of trees, so they were all left standing. Now a Chinese company is making millions clearing the lake of high quality wood.

We went fishing as well, for piranhas. Some had proper equipment.

Ginger fishing

Ginger fishing

Others improvised

Anouk fishing

Anouk fishing

A couple of us caught fish.

Koen and piranha

Koen with a piranha

All in all, it was a great weekend, even with the pouring rain at times.

View full set on Flickr

Help needed for a video project/hulp nodig voor een videoproject

(zie lager voor de Nederlandse versie)

As part of my internship I need to do a project that helps the people outside of Suriname get to know this country better. I came up with the idea of doing a video where people outside of Suriname can ask questions (about Suriname) and locals will answer those questions.
I need your help for this video. If you there is anything you’ve always wanted to know about Suriname, the people, the culture,… please send me your question. I would really like it if you would record a video of yourself asking the question but if you’re not up to that you can just send me the question.

Thank you!

Als deel van mijn stage moet ik een draagvlakverbredende opdracht doen. Dit wil zeggen dat ik iets moet doen of maken waardoor de mensen in België (en daarbuiten) meer leren over het land waar ik stage ben gaan doen, Suriname dus. Mijn idee is om een video te maken waarin jullie vragen kunnen stellen aan Surinamers. Als er iets is dat je altijd al hebt willen weten over Suriname is dit je kans. Stuur mij je vraag (liefst in videovorm zodat we jouw prachtige gezicht ook kunnen zien) en ik zal die laten beantwoorden door een Surinamer.

Alvast bedankt!

Holi Phagwa + introduction to Surinamese health care

Wednesday March 27 we celebrated Holi Phagwa. This is a Hindu festival to celebrate the arrival of Spring (Wikipedia). It is also known as the festival of colours. People wear white clothes and throw coloured powder, paint and water at each other. It is a ton of fun. I went to the Palmentuin with a couple of friends and was immediately covered in all different colours. Phagwa

Me 15 minutes after arriving at Palmentuin (holding a friend’s beer)

I had to leave the party early because I had an important phone call coming (see later post) but had every intention of returning after the call. On my way back to the party after my call I twisted my ankle pretty bad. I limped back home, sent a text to my friend saying I wasn’t going to make it and settled in on the couch.

The next day was spent almost entirely on the couch as I could barely get to the kitchen and back. That night my parents arrived. On Friday I could walk around again so I showed them around town a bit.

As it was Easter everything was closed Friday – Monday. On Tuesday I went to the doctor, accompanied by my parents. The doctor said I had stretched the ligament around my ankle. I should ice it, rest and it should be better in a week. I am just happy it is not torn and that I can walk around again.

Work excursion for the STARS program

On Friday morning we (Dimitri and Juliette, my fellow interns and Mr. and Mrs. Hulsman, our internship mentors) headed to Nason to give a workshop. Stichting TANA heads the STARS project. This project helps students in their final year of primary school prepare for their final exams. These exams determine where they can go to high school. STARS offers both study guidance and social skills training.

On Friday we had to drive to the Surgold basecamp in Bonnidoro. We met up at 8am, piled in a van and first drove from Paramaribo to Moengo. This road was in decent condition, asphalt most of the way. In Moengo we had a brief sanitary stop, with a short history lesson. Moengo used to be a thriving town, but the civil war in the 80’s destroyed it.

Moengo hospital

Moengo hospital

After Moengo the road got quite bad. It was red bauxite all the way. Juliette and I were sitting in the back of the van. Every 200m we would fly of the bench only to be rescued by our seat belts. By the time we arrived in Bonnidoro our yellow van was pretty dirty.

Van

We still had a 45-minute drive left.

The SurGold basecamp was pretty cool, like a little island in the jungle. It also felt very peaceful after Paramaribo. On Friday we went exploring a bit.

Soccer field

The soccer field

Insect

The local wildlife

On Saturday we took the boat to Nason. The teachers from all the local schools would gather here to get a workshop on social skills which they in turn would teach to their students.

Loading the boat

Dimitri loading all our material into the boat

Midway through our boat trip the engine stopped working. The boatsman had to call someone else to come pick us (and our belongings) up. We had to transfer boats in the middle of a river where there are piranhas and anacondas, and the boats were just floating next to each other, not tied together.

Workshop

Workshop in progress

We did some fun games during the workshop, to get to know each other. It was great to see the teachers enthusiastic about this program to help their students get a further education.

During the boat ride back the sun was shining after a heavy rainstorm. It made everything look really beautiful.

French Guyana

French Guyana seen from the boat. The Marowijne river forms the border between Suriname and French Guyana.

On the last day we did a lot of waiting around, because our van didn’t leave until 1pm. We ended up playing some pool in the bar.

Pool

Dimitri and Juliette practicing their pool skills for when they return in a month

Road

The road home

You can see the rest of my photos on Flickr