illegal gold mining

Illegal gold mining has been a huge problem in Suriname for the past two decades. Maybe more, I can be mistaken. But I have been aware of it for the last ten. That is when I heard that it had already been a problem for the past ten years. This is the third part of my time in the garimpo. While I am writing it, it is still last weekend that it all happened. But by the time you are reading this, it was more than two weeks ago that we embarked on this adventure. At first, I was not too sure about us going by ourselves. We were four women and no male guide. In the past, Marieke usually hired a Brazilian guy who knows the area well to drive us around.

Since she has been going to the area more and more, she decided to be our guide. Anyway, we arrived at the first camp where we received lunch. It was quite an interesting lunch because the kidney beans had pickles in it. That was a first for me and I loved it! I love trying new things! The nice elderly gentleman gave us directions to Vila Brazil, which was our final destination for that day.

Just in case you are wondering about the motorcycle in the picture, allow me to explain. I took it because I like bikes and speed, but that is as far as I know. Do not ask me which brand, how fast it goes, what-have-you. I really have no idea. But I would love to ride one through the garimpo! That would be so amazing! Who knows? Maybe I will get the chance one day.

I know that I already uploaded the pictures of the food, but I had to do it again. The food was so good and I want to eat it again!

So after we got the directions, we set out to the illegal gold mining fields in Vila Brazil.

Okay, I have to admit that most of the gold mining camps in and around Vila Brazil are legal. But I am not so sure about the garimpeiros their status. I bet most of them (if not all) are undocumented. We followed the fresh tire tracks when there was more than one road to choose from. And well, we somehow ended up in Vila Brazil.

I did not take pictures in Vila Brazil, do not ask me why. But it is quite something to see. One thing that did stand out is that there are strictly Dominicans and Cubans in the cabarets. Now, this means ‘whore house’. So if you come across this word again in one of my blogs, you will know what I am talking about.

We were going to stay in a cabaret, but then Marieke found this great couple who offered us a place to stay.

Staying at a cabaret is not weird, I have stayed in them before. The downside to it is that they are so loud! They play loud music through giant speakers until the wee hours of the morning. If you are someone who cannot sleep when it is noisy, a cabaret is not the ‘hotel’ for you. The first time I stayed in one, the chauffeur we went with ended up in the room next to us. Second time around, I heard THE funniest conversation in my life!

Man: “I think you need to take a shower. You do not smell too good.”
Woman: (Not hiding her outrage) “How DARE you tell me that I stink? Have YOU caught a whiff of your armpits and stank breath? I have soap, a spare toothbrush and a pail of water in there. Please go shower.”

I would love to sleep in a cabaret again! What will I hear then, LOL!

In the picture on the right, you will see a cabaret. The space with the colorful flags is where the ladies entertain their guests. Then if you look a bit more to the left, you will see brown doors. The rooms are there. That means that is where all the magic happens, LOL.

Marieke was not too excited about staying in the cabaret, so she asked around and found us something. There is a couple in Vila Brazil who rents their garage out to people from Malaria Program. Since we were there doing a project for them, they offered us lodging. We had to bring a hammock, so I went out to buy one the day before. Can you believe that I have never owned a hammock before?

I was going to borrow one, but then I thought, “I have been going to the interior for such a long time. It is about time I had one. Hell, I know I will need one again.” So I bought one.

Sleeping in a hammock is pretty fun. I have never done that before. Sure, I spent one or two hours swinging in a hammock reading a book. But never had I ever slept in one for eight hours until that day. If I stretch my legs for the entire time, the hollow back of my knees aches. So I now I know to bend the knees from time to time.

Below you see three pictures. In the first picture, you have Marieke, Isadora, and Yours Truly. Marieke was checking the surveys in the system, Isadora was doing… I do not know what. And I was finishing my dinner. That is in the third picture.

If you look closely, you will see a yellow hammock in the back. That is the couple their garage. The blue doors are made of wood, but they can be locked with a huge chain. So we were safe there.

The couple has an adorable daughter! She stole my heart! I wish I could upload a picture of her, but there are a lot of crazies on the Internet. Innocent children need to be protected. You never know who is watching.

I am going to end it here for now. It is 02:10 and I have to be at a meeting in six hours. Until next time, stay positive and make at least one of your dreams come true! <3

OH! And live a life you love! Me, having the privilege of seeing my country, being in nature… now, THAT is wealth to me!

xoxo