Friday, November 12, 2010
The photos are of a bird chirping competition I went to right next to the Presidential Palace. This shows a bit of what I talk about later, large men with tiny birds. Also, a caiman. I've seen probably 5 in country.
Here are some of my favorite things about Suriname:
Passion fruit juice.
Pompelmous (delicious huge grapefruity fruit, but less bitter).
Men who bike/moped around while carrying tiny birds in bird cages. It's an extremely masculine thing to do here.
The public buses in the city. I know this wouldn't be on the top of most volunteers' list, but I rather like them. They are smelly, packed full of people, and somehow, I love them.
After the fact, cab drivers. Much of the time, they are terrifying while I'm in the car, but they're a good story later. About a week ago a cab driver followed a woman who cut him off about 5 blocks, stopped outside her house, got out of the car, and screamed at her for about 5 minutes. All the neighbors started coming out of their houses. When he got back in the car, he very calmly and politely apologized to me for the inconvenience. Interesting.
My fellow volunteers. They're pretty awesome.
Cherry fruit juice.
Boat rides, as long as they are 2 hours long or less. I've been on a 12 hour one, which was less than fun. But the shorter ones are quite beautiful.
The view from the little plane, flying over the jungle.
The stars in the interior. One of the advantages of not having electricity, completely clear sky.
Time to enjoy the little things. My favorite thing to do right now is sit on the porch where the breeze is amazing, listen to my ipod and do sudoku or sew. Sometimes I just sit and listen to music.
The guy across the street who sits on his porch in his boxers. I've never seen him with a shirt on and he cracks me up.
My neighbor at my old site, Frans. He was great. One of the nicest guys I've ever met.
Kosbanti (long beans - I'm noticing a trend with my favorites, many are food related).
The free shelf.
Here are some of my LEAST favorite things about Suriname:
Kissy noises from men.
The way people treat their animals. This is mostly in the interior, but people do not treat their cats and dogs very well. Dogs are for protection, cats are to eat rats, and that's it.
Not being sure what could be lying underneath anything. Pretty much everything can kill you here and it makes me a bit jumpy.
Staring. It is constant and intense. I have been stared at by adults for 45 minutes straight without interruption. It's mostly by children, but a few of the more unusual adults will also stare to this degree. Very unnerving.
My hair never dries.
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Back in training, when things were a bit rough, I set a date for myself. I told myself that there was nothing within my power that could make me go home before 6 months in country. It was a sanity thing. Looking ahead 27 months was far too overwhelming at that point, so I just set it mentally for 6 months. I remember sitting on my bed in my tiny little room at my host family's house, under my mosquito net, and almost being completely blown away by the thought of 27 months here. I told myself at that point I was allowed to reflect after 6 months and if I was completely miserable, I could go home. I'm extremely pleased to find that the 6 month mark came and went without my notice! Woo! I was afraid that I'd be counting down the days. Not so. I can safely say that I'm pretty happy here right now. I put a "right now" on that because I still don't know where I'm going to end up and how that will be. However, I'm pretty determined to make it the full two years.
I'm trying to stay busy in the city right now, doing small projects. I'm working on a write-up about a force feeding practice in the interior. It's a pretty dangerous practice that can cause aspiration of the lungs. So, that's been going pretty well and I'll see where that'll go in the future.
By the way, I was a pterodactyl for Halloween. It was awesome.