We passed the 'big hole'
again this morning, an ominous name for a small intermittently impassable
stretch of road, but as we walked with our bags from one car to the
next around the thick mud impeding our way it seemed more like a gateway.
One of many that we've passed through from the moment we stepped off
a plane here three months ago, but sadly one that we were exiting for
the last time on this journey.
On every section of this trip we have entered into a new world with
each new cultural boundary that we have crossed and Nieuw Koffiecamp
was no exception. Despite the upheavals they have been through In the
last few decades they received us with all the warmth and openness that
all the forest peoples of Suriname have offered us.
Last night with words full of emotion, Danny, one of our hosts and a
leading spokesman of Nieuw Koffiecamp expressed his people’s frustrations
to us. Epitomising the struggle to develop that has been voiced to us
throughout the interior, he said his people would love to have the chance
to 'go forward' and embrace the benefits of a 'modern world', but there
simply aren't the opportunities to do so. Gold-mining has long been
an invaluable source of income for the Bush-Negro communities here,
but as Danny pointed out, with little or no other choice, the young
are foregoing the importance of a good education for the instant rewards
of mining.... so the situation is difficult to change.
Although our time in the interior has been full of heartfelt sentiments,
our departure this morning couldn't have been more touching. Speaking
with the same proud lyrical delivery with which he welcomed us, the
Captain thanked us for taking an interest in his village saying that
he would plant something for each of us to appease the forest spirits......hopefully
one day we'll have the chance to return and see how they have grown...............
Rebuilding the lifeline