Rainy season and floodings

At the moment, the great floodings are the topic of the day in Suriname. In the inlands, approximately 170 marron villages are washed away and 30.000 people became homeless. We read the news in the local newspapers and through emails from the Netherlands, but here on the shore we hardly notice anything of the problems. The Suriname River is blocked off further inland  by the storage reservoir (lake) and we noticed only two weeks ago that the level is about 3 to 4 meters too low. So we don't have to fear that the water will flow through the Suriname river (where we are moored) and wash us away.
The only danger on the river (apart from a collision) is that a sailing yacht at anchor can be caught by a floating island. These islands consist of large weeds and tree branches, which form an island around anchor chains and are so heavy that they can drag the boats off their anchor. It happened last week to Happy Monster. We rather lie for 3 euros per day on a mooring made of a piece of concrete weighing 1000 kgs. So we don't have to worry when we are away.

Some explanation of how things work here in Suriname with the seasons, may be necessary. We also have four seasons here, but not like in Europe with spring, summer, fall and winter. Trees carry fruit all year round, only dictated by heavy rainfall when blossoms are washed away.

We now have the big rainy season (end of April to mid August). This doesn't mean that it is raining cats and dogs all the time, but every day we have at least one heavy shower. They are called “sidi busi”. A sidi busi comes rolling on the river as some kind of fog patch PHOTO 1 and as soon as it reaches us, the other side of the river disappears behind an opaque curtain of rain PHOTO 2. These heavy showers often bring thunder and wind. When it rains for one hour, we catch at least 40 liters of rain water, and with that we keep our fresh water stocks up to level. In the meantime it gets a little cold outside, with temperatures dropping to 26°C.
Heavy showers like these offer a great opportunity to take a shower ourselves (some shampoo in your hair and go outside) and it is also a good moment to clean decks and rinse sails and sail bags. The foc's'le was still quite salty from our ocean crossing, and this results finally in mildew everywhere. If you don't do something about it, the  humid climate (air humidity can rise up to 97%) is very destructive for boat and gear. So good ventilation is a must.
The rainy season is not very bothersome. The only disadvantage is that roads become muddy with puddles everywhere
PHOTO 3. And when the shower is over, the water evaporates and we feel again that we find ourselves in the moist tropics. In August the big dry season starts and temperatures will rise to 37°C. Mid November the small rain season cools you down until February, as the small dry season starts. In short: in the tropics you fight against heat and humidity and we carry various umbrella's which can be used es sunshades as well.

Each month we have to visit the Immigration Police Office and get our passports stamped. There is always a man outside the station, selling medicinal herbs. PHOTO 4 He has two rows of bottles on his table: one filled with herbs for men (probably to raise sexual potention), and the other type is for women (against menstrual pain). The guy also sells the so-called kwasibita cups; made from kwasibita wood, you drink water out of these cups and are immediately cured of every kind of malaise. The cups are named after their discoverer the slave Kwasi, who thought he had found a cure for malaria. As a child, Kwasi was brought to Suriname and came in contact with the Indians who taught him everything about medicinal plants. He became very famous among the slaves and also the white people knew where to find him.
Here in Domburg there are lots of kwasibita trees to be found
PHOTO 5, so we can start business with our wood carving sets. The kwasibita drink may not be a cure for malaria, but it is an antifebrile medicin that can suppress a malaria attack. According to one of the locals, paracetamol is made out of this tree. We are not sure if this is true but we'll try it if we have a headache (and are out of paracetamol).

They have placed nice and very neat new advertising posters in Paramaribo, radiating European luxury. The provider now wants to contact new advertisers...
PHOTO 6

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