A few leaders proceeded to collect money from other women in the village to buy food, undershirts and underwear :) for all of the men. Additionally, they wrote a donation request letter that was typed up by a colleague in the city and distributed to numerous organizations to solicit money to bring the performance group to our village. The women mobilized themselves. In fact, I did not help organize anything.To be honest, theirs was a lofty goal. The performance group lives 3 hours upriver and renting a boat and paying for gasoline is very expensive. I thought that the chances were slim but I was already pleased that they had the idea. Anyways, Father's Day was three days before Ryan and I were leaving the village so I was busy getting ready to move.
In a Father's Day meeting, the women divided themselves into groups by neighborhoods and assigned who would cook what. Even though I live on the opposite side of the village as one of my best friends Helga, she informed me that I would be helping her make munga, the traditional Saramaccan cake. It was so fun! I have seen women make munga before but there were so many women helping (they do not make it often because it is a very involved process) that I didn't really get to do anything except take pictures. This time I was able to help with each step...including chopping wood for the fire. When Helga told me to come chop I informed her that I had no idea how. She informed me that I would learn. Four days out from leaving my village and there I was, learning new stuff.
|The leaf cones baking in the boiling water|
Cut to later that day and one of my friends came over to tell me that they had raised all of the money to bring the performance group to our village. Medical mission and the local government both donated gasoline and the women negotiated with the boatman to accept gasoline instead of cash, etc. I was so proud!
On Father's Day, after church and in addition to cooking, five of the women who attended my HIV/AIDS training, presented the basics of HIV/AIDS education to over 100 men, women and young adults.
As if our goodbye at the school and on Father's Day was not enough, one of the village basias called everyone to one of our meeting houses the night before we left so that everyone could spend some last time with us, dance and say goodbye. We wore our new koosus, of course! Picture here.
|This little guy was gettin' his groove on!|
|Ryan dancing with Mma|
It was tough but the heartache tells me that we did well. The wonderful people of our village truly accepted us and let us into their hearts and unique culture. If you were to tell me, ten years ago, that I would become a beloved part of an African village in the middle of the Amazon Rainforest, I would have laughed at the absurdity. It happened. I think by this time next week, it will seem like a dream...