Adjoemakondre is one of the villages we visited during the electricity project. It is over and done now, and I am dying to read the report. Though I love working with the two cultural anthropologists, this project was particularly frustrating. I will talk about that in a different blog because now I want to tell you about my visit to the bat house. Adjoemakondre is close to Moengo, which is approximately two hours outside of Paramaribo (by car).
We were in Adjoemakondre in the second or third week of February. That time we were still coronavirus free. One of our interviewers was in charge of organizing that trip because I was on another trip (until the day before we left for Adjoemakondre) in the gold mining fields of Suriname.
He did warn us that there was no indoor plumbing, which meant no bathroom/toilet inside the house.
I do not have a problem with that, I can adapt to all circumstances. He also told us that we have to shower in the river, which is awesome! I love doing that, because the water is so refreshing.
Some of the interviewers talked about there being a communal KUMAKOISI, and I was like, ‘What is a kumakoisi?’ All of them looked at me like I just grew a pair of horns. Have I mentioned that I am not that great at speaking Sranan Tongo? Yes, I understand it and can carry a conversation, but there are so many words I do not know. This is one of the times I was elated that I was not one of the interviewers, for most people do not speak Dutch very well.
We got to the house and… well… It was interesting.
The house was a bat cave. It is the only free house in the village, so we had to stay there. Have you ever smelled bat pee? Well… that is what the house smelled like. One thing I did love, was sleeping in my hammock. 🙂
There were holes in the wall and you could literally hear the bats in the wall. I was afraid one of them would fly out at any moment… and they did, at one time.
But would you like to hear the best part of the story? We were there with a group of six, there were three rooms, so two people per room. A local woman prepared our food for us. We always look for someone in the villages we visit to do that, because we also want the villagers to make some money on the side.
I was excited because I had never eaten Maroon food before. Someone did tell me that salt and oil are the main ingredients in EVERYTHING, but I was not prepared for just HOW salty it would be. See, I cook with little to no salt.
For some reason, I cannot find the pictures I took of the house. They were on my laptop, now they are not. I bet I will find them when I am not looking for them.
But to get to the bad (or funny, it depends how you look at it) part of our trip to Adjoemakondre… all of us, except one, contracted food poisoning.
In the pictures above is fish soup. It is a Maroon delicacy. I love weird food, I mean, I ate so many weird things during my time in China, and I like the experimenting when I go to the gold mining fields. So, OF COURSE, I was excited about eating authentic Maroon food. Are you wondering how come I have never tried it before? Because there aren’t a lot of Maroon restaurants in Paramaribo (that I know of).
It was, indeed, very salty. Yes, yes, people told me they like to cook with aa lot of salt, but I am the type of person who needs to experience things firsthand. Of course I will listen to what people say/their advice, but I will not form an opinion about something/someone unless I have experienced it/them. Okay… salty, that was true.
But I loved it… weirdly enough. After finishing that meal, I drank A LOT of water, but it was interesting. I loved the fish in the soup, no idea what kind of fish it was. What made it even greater, is that I had cassava bread. When you dunk it into the soup… YUMMMMMM!!!!
Aside from the salt, I ate twice. I really loved the combination of the salt and what it did to the taste of the cassava bread. It is pretty awesome.
Then we all went to bed and that is when all hell broke loose. In the middle of the night, I started having these CRAMPS! And I felt that I had to go to the outdoor toilet, but it was 4 AM! There is NO ELECTRICITY in the village between 00:00 and 18:00, and there are BATS everywhere!
At some point during the night, I just could not pinch my ass cheeks together anymore! So I grabbed my phone, lit the flashlight, and stepped out into the small seating area. BOY! Did I get the surprise of my life!
The other four people in our team were already awake and going to the toilet. See, there is ONE outdoor toilet for the ENTIRE village… So… we had to wait out turn. Yeah… so we were just waiting for someone to finish shitting to then shit on top of their shit.
This is not what the one we used looked like, but I just wanted you to know what I meant when I said ‘outdoor toilet.’ I went five times. It was interesting, LOL! … But I do not want to go through that again.