Healthy Lifestyle Promotion in Suriname

I have been blessed to be a part of this project and every single second is exciting. At first, I did not know what to expect, especially when I heard that it was about promoting a healthy lifestyle in Suriname. Then we had our first meeting and training on October 31. We sat around a table with the two cultural anthropologists, Celine & Marieke, and a representative of the Bureau of Public Health (BOG) in Suriname. I already posted something about this a few weeks ago, but I do not think I really talked about WHY this project is so important.

The top 3 causes of death in Suriname are cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, and … I forgot, LOL. But the BOG decided it is high time to talk about a healthy lifestyle with the Surinamese people.

Many of the participants asked us how the BOG knows that we are not eating healthy anymore, and the answer is simple: they examined the causes of death during the last twenty years. According to them, this was never a problem before, not as big as it is now. But that is to be expected: we now have McDonald’s, KFC, Pizza Hut, Burger King, what-have-you. Of course people their eating habits will change. I do not remember eating so much junk food when I was a child. Maybe because we did not have that many ‘glamorous’ options. Let’s be honest… it is far more interesting to eat at McDonald’s because you also saw one in Miami or whichever place you traveled to (especially for children).

There are five focus groups: elementary school children, teenagers, adults, the elderly, and … Or are there four focus groups? Not so sure about that, but it is not as important as what I am about to write. During our first meeting, we had a discussion about bakken and frituren. Even for us, the people responsible for successfully carrying out this project, some words were a bit confusing. This is the pre-test phase, the real research is for early next year. So the main reason for carrying it out now is to find the glitches in the questionnaires, for example, difficult words, sentences that are too hard to understand, stuff like that.

Then came the terms ‘fast food’ and ‘junk food.’ Are they the same thing?

For me, they mean the same thing: fast food is junk food. But for others at the table, they meant two different things. To some, ‘fast food’ meant food that is prepared indoors (in your house), but it takes less than half an hour. For example, if you make spaghetti or something. It does not even take half an hour. Or fried rice. That was interesting to hear because I thought everyone thought ‘fast food’ and ‘junk food’ were the same thing. What do you think about this? Please let me know because I am so curious about this.

In the pictures, we went to an after school something to talk to some children. These children were really smart, all of them between the ages of 8 and 11. They also did not know the meaning of the word ‘lokaal.’ The English translation can be found here. Sigh. What is our education coming to? Two weeks ago we were in a different district of Suriname, in Moengo, and those children also did not know what it meant. They only know one of the two meanings of the word, which can be a place, room or chamber.

If you are wondering about the pictures and children, I will get to that in a different post.

It is time to finish my work now. As I said before, I am the Minutes Secretary of this project, so I have to get to work. They anthropologists need the results by this weekend. Come to think of it, I will write blogs about the different places we visited and the conversations we had. Some of the things were fascinating to hear. Why? I like knowing how other people think. Might not always agree, but it is interesting to get a glimpse into someone else’s mind.

Much love to you! <3

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


  1. A great post Tiara!
    So true where you said I do not remember eating so much junk food when I was a child.
    I was just thinking the same thing the other day!
    Mel x

    • Hi Mel,

      I am so happy that I am not the only ‘weird’ one, Lol. How are you doing? Made any healthy lifestyle choices lately?


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