Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Further Upper Suriname

Both Jill and I were able to travel with BFN up the Upper Suriname to talk with some other villages about current and potential collaborations.

(cell phone coverage is everywhere along the river)

(the water was high enough to not portage, but some extra steering helped)

(they shoulda portaged)

(notched log ladders)

Arriving at Pikin Slee, we saw dugout canoes in progress.  Boatmaking is done by a select few men who get paid fairly well for their work.  Well built dugouts will easily run more than 5000 SRD.  That covers all steps of fabrication, from selecting a tree to felling it and bringing it back to the village (that's got to be the bulk of the labor right there) then removing bark, hollowing out, and burning the tree before building up the sides.

(hollowed out)

(another example post burning)

A Saramaccan Museum exists in Pikin Slee, requiring a 10-15 minute walk back through the large village to the museum.  The path is identified by sculptures like these along the way:

(notice the tractor in the background? That was brought to Pikin Slee along the Upper Suriname river, likely using 2 canoes running parallel, catamaran style.)

The museum was established by Saramaccans without support from Foto NGO's, which is a pretty sweet grass roots success showing a lot of forward thinking regarding tourism.

(this dugout canoe got repurposed)

(a carving in progress)

On the way back to Tutu, we stopped in a couple of other villages to discuss possibility of BFN working with the village in the future.

(Bai, Mike, and Chifarro walking through Guyaba)

(Guyaba, but a good example of a village scene anywhere along the Upper Suriname)

(a nicely decorated bangi, or seat, made in Guyaba. The curved seat section implies it's a woman's seat. A flat seat is for men. I'm not sure either one really wins on comfort)

Some living souvenirs took the trip back to Foto with the BFN staff:

(Marciano with his new pet turtle)

(Rashida with her new pet...and distant dinner)

(Chifarro bailing as Bai pushes off)

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