celebrations. The nicest parties are the family celebrations and the
good news is that we belong there as part of the family! Especially
Javanese and Creole families and they say it literally: “You are my
sister/brother.” These parties are always heart (and stomach) warming.
The whole evening people are busy warming dishes, and no convenience
food but everything is home-made. When the Dutch go to supermarkets and
domestic caterers for ready-made snacks, these people spend a week in
the kitchen to treat their guests to home-made traditional pastry,
oven plates, cookies etc. It is a lot of effort and the costs are
considerable (especially in relation to the average income). That is why
many Surinamese celebrate their birthday only once in five years. But
they make a good parfty then!
The most important “bigi jari” is when you turn 40, 50, 60 or 75.
Petra's was on the 2nd of April...
The preparations. The back terrace and the path on the front side of the
house were covered with tiles and once busy with that, we extended the
job to the guest's quarters, thus making the whole ground floor
looking extremely neat. We also had to construct a large party tent
(from two genoa's, yes we are still sailors) because the weather was
JW also constructed a complete bar on the back terrace. But according to
Marius, who came by while JW was at work, it was not a real bar as he
didn't see any bottles. (Marius is quite bottle-oriented.) But of course
the bottles arrived in the end, and a whole lot more. The organizing
comittee looked to that: P&JW obviously, and Patricia as she knows
exactly how to organise things.
One thing is certain: in Surinam you can't have a party without food.
The national dish is peas soup (with hot pepper of course) and that
seemed a good start. Followed by a buffet of multiculti-culi dishes,
bearing in mind that moslims don't eat pork, hinustani don't eat beef
etc. All this from the kitchens of P and JW, Mia, Mia’s mum and
especially Patricia put herself put; even on the evening itself.
You can't celebrate a bigi
jari without live music. Through Marius' sister we contracted a Creole
band: Tjon Tjon. Eight good-humoured men playing not only South-American
meringue but also cheerful Dutch-Surinamese songs on guitars, trumpet
A hundred people! Most of them Surinamese friends, but also Dutchmen in
Surinam and on top of it all our oldest friends in Holland flew into
Surinam tespecially for the party. With Jos and Anne-Marie we sailed
along for 25 years, and Richard was JW’s first boss and marriage
witness. It was great to have them with us (for a whole week!) and also
quite practical as Jos as chief technician and Anne-Marie as busybody
were essential during the preparations and also after the party.
The outcome was a fantastic party and everyone was (and is) madly
enthousiastic. The dancing was great thanks to the band-leader, who not
only played his trumpet but also the public, so our dancefloor of 36 m2
was just big enough! ,
The dancing culminated in a polonaise around the house, finished on the
dancefloor with a farewell dance: the birthday girl in the middle and
encouraged by the band-leader everyone made a quick dance with her. On
Petra with Marius.
for the film! ++++++++ (5.23 Mb)
A birthday means presents, but the biggest gift is the successful
medical treatment of P’s hallux valgus which became more and more
So we visited Pakč, the most famous “dresiman” in Suriname, also known as
“the bone doctor”. A dresiman (medicine man) works with medicinal leaves
and herbs. More comfortable than an operation, on demand of the
insurance company executed in Holland. Furthermore rehabilitation takes
at least 6 months, and it is a rather painful thing as well and not
Pakč’s outpatients' clinici
ldoesn't look like a hospital. Three brick walls and a roof of corrugated
iron as waiting room, including a surgery with adjoining kitchen where the
medicines are prepared. Some scorched metal pans containing indefinable
mashes and a wooden bed for the patients to sit or lie down on. A rasta
walks in and out; he is the assistant who brings buckets of water, carries
patients nto their cars (in Surinam are not many wheelchairs) and he often
gets his bike to collect the necessary leaves in the forest.
It is extremely busy six days a week
and when Pakč treats open wounds, he does so in the waiting room as the
surgery is too dark. And it is also closer to the taps. Thus we are granted
a view on the most horrible wounds caused by diabetes. Very painful, judged
by the moaning, but Pakč's treatment is quick and skilful. The wounds are
washed, desinfected and then he adds a compress with a powder of burned
leaves and oil and bandages it again. All these patients were told by their
doctors in the hospital that they were facing amputation, but Pakč
succeeds in a couple of weeks in curing festering wounds to the bone, with a
diameter of 5 cm or more. We saw it with our own eyes.
Pakč is not a wizard; he makes use of ancient knowledge. His father was the
most famous dresiman in Surinam, so was his grandfather and Pakč maintains
the family honour. He looked at P's foot without touching it and naar
P’s voet zonder hem aan te raken en announced that he could treat it for 250
SRD (€ 70). That afternoon he cooked a medicine of leaves, soft candle wax
applied it with a bandage. To be renewed daily, move a lot and a result in
ten days, he said. But the everlasting nagging pain was already gone after
four days! And after six days the crooked grown bone was definitely a tiny
bit smaller. “It is becoming thin,” Pakč observed. It is not going fast but
we will continue the treatment which is in our opnion already a success
because P's radius of action has already increased considerably.