Sunday Service in Peleowime

The air of enthusiasm that is usually displayed in 'camp Runningman' was slightly muted this morning. Walking behind Asinka at a determined Indian pace yesterday chasing the day's last light we arrived back at camp filled with an overwhelming sense of euphoria, partly due to the emotional joy of climbing Rosevelt Peak and partly due to the delirious physical drain of doing it in one day.

The startling crack of a nearby shotgun had me wrestling myself free from my hammock far earlier than my weary bones wanted me to. Our Indian companions though, contrary to my lethargic behaviour, had risen with the dawn and with their battered old Russian shotguns at hand, had disappeared into the forest to hunt. I had barely touched my morning coffee and they were back and preparing a hearty stew with two fat Marail Birds (the jungle equivalent of a chicken). Unlike anyone else we have spent time with on this trip, the Indians seem to use their 'jungle pantry' at every available opportunity, and more impressively their efforts are nearly always fruitful. Whether fishing from a boat, shooting arrows from the banks, or trudging deep into the wilderness with shotguns, their affinity with the forest is remarkable. So thanks to the talents of Dennis, Kayafassy, Tam, Peka and last but not least Asinka, we've enjoyed dry shelters and full bellies all the way down the Tapanahoni.

We're back at Peleowime tonight and have finally met our Wayana guides who had gone hunting when we first passed through on the way to Rosevelt Peak. They have offered us shelter in the disused house of a dedicated teacher Ilsa Van Dijk, who has spent twenty-three years amongst the Wayana. Sadly though because of an illness she has returned to Paramaribo and the empty schoolhouse remains a silent testimony to the limited resources of a government that cannot afford to properly fund the education of the interior.

Its Sunday, so being neighbours to the village church we paid a visit. A softly spoken but powerful-looking priest gave the sermon, and the only discernible word to us that figured quite strongly in his address was 'Satan'. It seems the old jungle spirits that were once a daily feature of life here have found a new figurehead. With a closing display of faith half the congregation rose to sing and clap a beautiful final hymn led by blind guitarist. Humbled by the experience we then made our way to the water where naked children played in an unaffected display of innocence. It was amazing to see their frail frames and fearless games as they tumbled, laughing down the roaring rapids at the village's edge. A light-hearted end to a restful day and a calm prelude to the more serious days ahead as we make for N'Duka Maroon country and a whole new culture.


Peleowime Parishioner

Peleowime Kerk

Frail Frames - Strong Current

LINKS - Cardy Adventures
(Requires Internet Connection)