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Floodings and struck by lightning. And... Surinamese cat welcome in Holland!


Recently we experienced some drawbacks: floodings, struck by lightning and red tape.

Twice per year the new moon's springs are higher than average. And now it was extreme! The damage in Suriname was huge, especially in the western coastal areas where vegetable crops were completely destroyed by the salty water flooding the land. Many homes were flooded and our garden resembled a lake. Luckily the water did not reach the inside (a matter of 20 cm!), grace to the fact that during the renovation we added 30 cm of sand around the house.

And when the water retired, we were struck by lightning! It was a severe hit, P was doing something on the computer, her hand on the mouse and had did not feel her fingertips until several days after. The computerscreen turned black immediately and the modem was sparking. Also the telephone was dead, as was the tv-tuner and even the remote control of the airco in our bathroom was down. Fortunately we are not among those luxury people such as our neighbours, who don't only run a computer but also four have airco’s running all day and a plasma tv, so with the airco on “manual” we still slept comfortably cool that night. In the meantime we obviously are completely online and up-to-date again.

This type of trouble is hard to prevent, but as true Dutch we started immediately to save our home from more floodings. The water from the river enters our garden through the ditch in front of our house, which is connected to the Suriname river.

Of course the Dutch built locks when Suriname was still a colony, but these are maintained in the Surinamese way so they work hardly or not at all. Thus we had to do the job ourselves.
JW made a plan with Wensly to close the ditch partly and build a dam to prevent the remaining part of the ditch to flood over into our garden. The tubes were delivered by a neat little truck with crane and Wensly arrived with two assistants.
Unfortunately the ditch appeared to be a hell of a mud mess so we had to hire a pocline. In the meantime the men made a bed for the tubes so these could be put on their right spot with the aid of the pocline. Covered with sand and the job was done!  We are ready for the next extreme high springs.

But we are not yet ready for the coming sailing season. Our plan was: leave the cats at home in the care of a friend. But now that Roberta is no longer here, we cannot leave Rita on her own for a longer period. Besides we are scared to death for that dangerous road in front of our place. Taking Rita along to Trinidad is impossible as the "strike" of the quarantaine department appears to be governmental policy and no pet goes in or out.
We tried to find a good temporary home for her in Suriname, but failed. Most people own terrible watchdogs and the Surinamese absolutely hate cats.
The only solution is: send her to Holland. The trip is a hassle with stress for Rita and vaccinations and paperworks for us to arrange; especially the bloodtest that has to be done in Holland.

Rita’s new home is in Meppel, in a quiet neighbourhood on a dead end street. Her new friends are Feyka, Sjaak and Frits. Feyka is a one year old German shepherd, Sjaak is a fat red tomcat and old Frits is white with grey spots. Her new personnel are Jeannette and Peter van Mechelen, so Rita stays in the family as Peter was P's neighbour and best friend when she lived in Meppel (1965).
So Rita won't hunt bats anymore, nor cockroaches, iguana's, rats, lizards, crabs and sea turtles who surface near the boat, but surely she will catch birds and mice.  Her new Dutch name will be... Miep! A good name for a seaworthy cat (more than 2000 nautical miles), born on the birthday of Dolf - designer and builder of our boat, which is nicknamed Miep.

Unfortunately it takes three months before Rita is allowed in Holland, so we are stuck in Suriname for the moment and our sailing season is postponed to January 2011 or even later; depending on how quickly we'll find someone who wants to take her along. So we have to amuse ourselves with something else. But this is not hard in Suriname! For instance Viviane invited us for a lazy day in Colakreek, where her uncle and aunt have a property. Upstream from the resort, so peace and quiet and clean water. It was a splendid day with lots of swimming and chatting, a barbecue and many rum and cokes. As things should be in Suriname.

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