Gold Mining Fields of Suriname (Part II)

Last week I talked about the gold mining fields of Suriname. I went to the garimpo with Marieke Heemskerk and two other people. We were contracted by Marieke as interpreters to help her interview garimpeiros. This time it was for the Malaria Program Suriname. We had to go to various places garimpeiros gather before going to the garimpo. To mix it up a little, we actually went into one of the garimpos not too far from the city. I just love going into the gold mining fields because I get to see a different side of life. It intrigues me why someone would choose that type of life. Why move from your country where you have family, friends, and people who know you? I did that when I moved to China, but it was for a short period of time. And, I also went to educate myself.

Aside from education, I do not know if I would move from my country to slum it in a foreign one. When I say ‘slum it,’ I am being really nice. But then again, maybe they also lived under these circumstances in their own countries.

The first time I went to a garimpo by plane was five to six years ago. My father was against me flying in those small things because many of them have crashed in the past. Most of the planes were, unfortunately, from Blue Wing Airlines. I have no idea if they still exist for we NEVER use them. My guess is that they do not take the maintenance of their airplanes very seriously.

We drove around the garimpo not really knowing where we were going. Marieke had been there before, so she had some vague idea of where she was going. But we also helped her out every now and then. Although I do not agree with IAMGold its operations in our country, I do appreciate the work they did. There are signs in the forest alerting you to the curvature of the road. It is really handy and we had never seen that before.

At times we came to forks in the road and we did not know which way to go. How did we choose a path, you might wonder? Well, we just followed the ones with fresh tire tracks. All of the roads in the gold mining fields lead to somewhere, you do not have to worry. Well, do not worry so much during the DAY! There is a big difference between night and day there. If you do not know the area you could easily fall into a ravine. I kid you not. We had quite the adventure up there.

We arrived at the first camp in the gold mining fields. One thing you should know about Brazilian garimpeiros: Most of them are so hospitable, they always offer something to eat or drink.

Now, we do not worry about what we are going to eat or where to sleep. “Oh, someone will give us something to eat and a place to sleep.” I know it sounds as if we are leaches, LOL. But we do bring our own food, but we also know we shall be offered food and drink.

Another thing I know about them is that they LOVE kidney beans. The way they prepare it is always so creative. Some people add okra and carrots. But this cook added pickles! That was a first for most of us, but it was not bad at all.

The older gentleman who offered us food is someone I had to interview. It turns out he was quite the talker. I received an update about his entire health: He has high blood pressure and cholesterol. As a result, he does not use a lot of oil and salt when cooking. After conversing for half an hour or more, he said to me, “It is almost noon. Have you had lunch yet?” I answered, “Not yet, no.” He immediately got up and said, “Well, we cannot have that, now can we? Please have lunch with me. All of you are welcome to join us.” And that is how we received our first lunch!

I love how they create the kitchens in the gold mining fields, so I asked him if I could take a picture.

If you are wondering why I have a picture of a chicken, it is because he is a BADASS! I threw some meat to some of the dogs who belong to the garimpeiros, and the chicken also ran towards it! Let me tell you, I did not know they could fight dogs! The dogs all seem to know not to mess with him because they moved away from the piece of chicken that I threw them. Well, I guess it makes that chicken a badass cannibal.

Until next time, take care of yourself and stay positive!


Tiara Ray

I am grateful & blessed to have the life I live. (Soon to be) Traditionally published & self-published author in her mid-thirties. I unsuccessfully tried changing this picture numerous times, so I just left it. I wish you lots of love & may you get what you need. <3


    • Well, they aren’t doing much. It’s difficult to do something about all this when they also have stakes in it. Most of them have concessions in the interior. A long time ago, maps were drawn up. On those maps, you could see where the gold & other minerals are. They gave those huge concessions to their friends. Now, one of those big pieces of land has been sold to IAMGold. Motherfuckers, all of them. Destroying our flora & fauna.

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