M & M in Suriname

Our life with the Wayana indians

16 januari 2022
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On our way to new adventures

As we cruise the river at a leisurely pace, I see our Wayana and Trio scanning the trees. Would there be a fat iguana? It is a mystery to us how they discover such a green animal in the midst of all shades of green, but with their trained eyes they see much more than we do. We enjoy the different trees and flowers while we talk about the past week.

We enjoyed our stay in Palumeu! It was so nice to visit again after 20 years. Our days started early. At 04.45 am the alarm went off every day so that we could be in church at 5 am to pray with the sick. Then we quickly ate a sandwich to start work on the test garden or compost heap between 7 and 8 o’clock. It is very encouraging to see how people want to try the new planting method in their own garden, after having participated in the pilot project. About 45 people attended. A nice group when you consider that the entire village has 360 inhabitants. They prepared delicious food for us and the dishes were also done. Such a luxury!

After lunch we could rest in the hammock. Then we had time to answer emails and do other administrative work, if we didn’t get a visit from one of the leaders. From 4 pm on our team would teach for an hour or two so that theory and practice were well understood. We were able to show a movie almost every evening. People could watch the lives of Abraham and Sarah, Jacob and Leah and Rebekah, Moses and the Exodus from Egypt. This way they could see how a journey through the desert went. They marveled at windstorms and the lack of trees and water.

We had beautiful cloudy weather all week. While we were in church early Friday morning, we got a heavy shower of one hour and a half. It cleared up around 9 am. Would we be able to fly to Tepu? Landing in Palumeu is no problem, but will Tepu’s airstrip also be open? The pilot of MAF had to come any way since our food supply was almost finished. After the plane had landed we hear that there is no flying to Tepu. We decided to try again on Monday. This means that our time in Tepu will be much less, almost half of what we would need.Then Marco proposed to leave for Tepu by canoe on Saturday. This worked out fine. The people of Palumeu arranged it very well and so we went on our way to Tepu and can start the training there tonight.

We would like to ask your attention to the

Wayana Canada Mission Project

at the top of our homepage.

 

6 januari 2022
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A Good Beginning

A week before Christmas, Nanajeu comes to visit us. She would like to know who may fly to Palumeu and Tepu for the Foundations for Farming training. We indicate that we really want her and her husband to come along as trainers because they put everything they learned into practice. If they are away from home for two weeks, this means that she has extra work to do for the next three weeks. Her daughter went to Paramaribo to study at a young age and is not yet able to bake the cassava bread. Her mother is old and can’t make it anymore. In the coming weeks, extra wood will be chopped and prepared so that a fire can be made for cooking and an extra amount of cassava will be harvested to make cassava flour from which cassava bread is baked. What a caring woman this is! We appreciate her very much.

On Christmas Eve we showed photos and videos of the game day on December 24 in church. After this we showed the Nativity story in Wayana. Suddenly a deacon came to us that a boat with Maroons had arrived and they brought a duro tank for us. We thought it would be a gift to the church and postponed the whole thing to Sunday.

Second hand clothes

The next morning it turned out to be 2 barrels of gasoline and 20 roof plates and 9 water barrels (duro tanks). We said again that we did not order this and had no idea who this would be for.An hour later they came back to us. It had to be for us since a pilot had said for ’those whites’ Buurman (mixed-up for Schuurmans). Marco checked his email and saw a message from the owner of the cargo. The boat arrived a day early…. The entire load is on its way to Tepu for a project over there. The idea was that in Apetina we could ensure that the things were stored for a while. Only… the stuff arrived before the message. It is in front of the house now. We wonder when the entire cargo will reach its destination. From December 27-29 we had a visit from one of the MAF families. It was nice to get to know each other a little better. The people in Apetina also enjoyed their arrival because it does them good when the pilots show an interest in their language and their way of life. This is how relationships are built.

On Tuesday, Marjolein discovered that part of her molar had broken off. That meant an unexpected trip back to the city. Fortunately, we were able to fly with MAF to Paramaribo. Unexpectedly, we celebrated New Year’s Eve in the Paramaribo area and were able to visit our youngest daughter and her family.

Marjolein was able to make a last minute appointment with the dentist on January 5, but a day earlier we received a call that the dentist had Covid. Fortunately, a day later she was able to see a colleague who ‘patched up’ the molar nicely.

Friday January 7, we fly to Palumeu and start two weeks Foundations for Farming training. We are looking forward!

23 december 2021
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On the brink of Christmas

Last Monday 2 canoes with men left to take care there will be enough meat and fish for the whole village to eat at Christmas. The men are expected back on Thursday or Friday. Then the next big job for the women begins: cleaning and preparing all the game and fish. The women have been baking cassava bread and cooking cassava drink for days. Furthermore, the high grass is mowed in various places in the village. These are all preparations for Christmas. We pray that people also prepare inwardly for the celebration of the nativity of Jesus.Tuesday 21/12 we suddenly saw two boats filled with empty barrels and men coming downstream from Palemeu. We learned they were going down river to collect barrels full of diesel for the village generator. These barrels are brought up from Albina with a large canoe and then one has to travel for days from the different villages, through rapids, to ensure that electricity is supplied to the village. The village generator runs for a few hours every evening. We are happy that there is again a working village generator in Palemeu because in recent years they had no electricity at all. In Apetina we also enjoy a few hours of electrical power in the village every day. We heard that a reconditioned generator has arrived that is reliable and more economical than the previous older one. Now we can enjoy a few hours of electricity every day without having to use the capacity of our solar panels and batteries. Everyone is busy preparing for Christmas.

That is why it is very special to us that the group that was trained in the principles of Foundations for Farming in Lawa last August was motivated to work on a 1.5 cubic meter compost heap and a 10×15 meter testing garden last Saturday and Monday.

Many hands make the work light which we experienced together. This is a good preparation for the training given by Canadian trainers from FfF in Apetina in mid-January 2022, if the visa etc. all go well.

 

11 december 2021
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Back Home in Apetina

Last Monday we landed in Apetina with MAF. Four weeks in the city turned out to be a good time in which, in addition to the usual shopping for the coming weeks, we were able to meet a number of people.

After arriving at our jungle house, two main taps broke down. Plastic suffers from the climate. One of them was the main tap from the water tower, so we had to work with river water. MAF provided a solution by buying us a tap and PVC glue in the city. Last Thursday morning these were sent to Apetina with a Gum Air flight. That same afternoon Marco went to work so that the water system in the house was working again in the evening.

One of the MAF families surprised us with a Christmas present in the shape of a bamboo star with Christmas lights. In the dark evenings the star shines bright. Great to have some Christmas lights the coming weeks.

At the end of our leave, we wondered whether the trip to Canada in 2022 was feasible. While we were waiting for our suitcases after arriving in Suriname, a message came in from Canada from a Church that would like to provide us with shelter, food and transport for a month while we would be in Calgary. What a great encouragement.

2019 Prayer at ’the Forks’ in Winnipeg

We started the applications process for two visas for Wayana who join our team to Canada next year. This is always a lot of work. Downloading and filling out forms, scanning documents, etc. Next to this we pray for the funds we need for this trip.

World Team Canada Office has opened a project fund for this trip so that donors can transfer their contribution.

Here is the link to the Project # 40546 Wayana/Canada Missions Project

We invite you to draw attention to this special project in your area. In Canada there are a number of churches that support us locally with accommodation and food. Travel costs in particular require a considerable amount of money. The participants do their best to pay for part of this themselves. However, the high costs of boarding school for the children, increased fuel costs, etc. make it hard to provide for their own contribution. Hence the fund to contribute to this project through World Team Canada.

 

28 november 2021
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Back on track

At the end of August, we left Suriname to support Marjolein’s parents after her father’s heart attack. Fortunately, they are doing well, but as the saying goes: ‘old age comes with flaws’ and that requires a lot of energy. It was really good to visit and spend more time with them. In addition, we were able to meet a lot of people and we enjoyed that too. We were present celebrating the 40th anniversary of our sending church in Veenendaal. At such a moment you have extra time to reflect on God’s faithfulness through all these years.

November 9th we boarded a plane back to Suriname. The intention was to fly on to Apetina after about ten days, but a loose crown changed our plans. We have now made reservations with MAF for Monday 6 and Monday 13 December. We depend on the speed of ‘aunty mail’ from China for Marco’s crown. We experienced a number of times how convenient it is that we have extra time in the city. We are networking again. We also found a number of contacts near Paramaribo that are valuable in relation to future events for Foundations for Farming.

We already called a number of times with people in Apetina. We would like to organize a training session for the whole village before Christmas. We are curious if that will work, especially if we don’t arrive in Apetina until 13/12. During our leave in the Netherlands, Marco was asked by the Dutch board of Foundations for Farming to become their coordinator for future projects in South America. We see this as a great opportunity to train with the Wayana trainers in other countries of South America and to share God’s love for His people.

 

28 augustus 2021
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Wayana Training Foundations for Farming

From August 10 – 25 we had a group of 9 people from Apetina visiting Lawa. They came to participate in the Foundations for Farming training. In the weeks before we had been busy with Asiloikë and Temikailoe preparing for this training. They would be the trainers for both theory and practice. Together we translated the PowerPoint presentation in Wayana, after which laminated sheets were produced in the city on A3, so that they can also be used while visiting the villages in the coming months.

The beginning of a proving ground in the middle of the village had been built and now the students could come. We enjoyed the enthusiasm of this group and the trainers. The discovery that a number of Bible stories contain principles that can be applied in their lives today made them extra motivated to work in everyday practice. It was hard work, but many hands made light work. Working together, eating together and enjoying each other’s company, we enjoyed it as much as they did. We set up the first proving ground together, where we regularly gave instructions. This also applied to making the compost heap. A totally new way of dealing with garden waste and grass clippings! The surprise on their faces when we took the iron bar out of the compost heap to check if the temperature was already rising and they could feel that the bar felt quite hot. The time to turn hope. Two days later they were able to redo the whole process. After a week you already see how hope is dwindling. The second proving ground was set up in Babun Olo by the students and the trainers. Now we were not allowed to help except mowing the grass and carrying wheelbarrows with grass. The Wayanas started to build the garden independently so that they could get the picture and would be able to do it later in Apetina by themselves. Great to see that they claimed ownership for their own learning. Nice detail was that they decorated their faces with red stripes as they do during parties. One of the people from Apetina is a Tareno. During the training weeks he was able to translate the PowerPoint presentation into the Tareno language. We now plan to train Wayanas and Tarenos along the Tapanahony River at the end of this year and early next year.

25 augustus 2021
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Flight rescheduled

Saturday morning Marjolein looked in her WhatsApp and read that her father (87) had been 
hospitalized with heart problems. That is scary news. All the more so because, together 
with a number of signals we received earlier, an acute demand for care has arisen. The messages 
from Marjoleins siblings confirmed this. They have done lots of work and care in recent days. 
At such moments you feel the distance.
Sunday morning we decided to change our KLM tickets from September 23 to August 30. 
We can stay in the apartment of dear friends in Veenendaal for the first few weeks. 
We can rent a car from day 1 through 'Cars' (especially for missionaries on home assignment). 
We are so grateful for this help!

We will find out in what way we can be of assistance. 

It appears that Marjoleins father had a heart attack. He made it through very well and has since 
been released from the hospital. How thankful we are to have him home!

An update of what we have experienced in recent weeks will follow shortly.

Sincerely,

M&M

31 juli 2021
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New Church

Thursday July 29 we visited Solonam Pata. There the newly built church hall was officially inaugurated. In recent years, efforts have been made to send the believers in Lawa to the various villages along the river so that new communities of believers would start in the small villages where the people live. This is now the fifth new church that has been started from this method.

prayer in front of the church building

the interior of the new church

Message from the new pulpit

You show your joy by wearing bright colors on your head. The brother on the left has used some alternative material…

cooking for a crowd

meals ready to be served

tomorrow more meat needs to be provided

This weekend a Bible conference takes place in Solonam. Due to the Covid situation we decided, together with a number of people, not to stay there all weekend. At the beginning of the service last Thursday Marco was asked to share a message from the Bible. That reminded us of Roy Lytle’s advice, ‘always be prepared, because these kinds of questions often come in the last minute’. On Sunday we will visit Solonam Pata again to take part in the final day of the conference.

 

 

17 juli 2021
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Holiday season

Looks like we’ve been quite busy the past few weeks. Another month has flown by. Today our grandchildren are having their summer holidays in the Netherlands. In Suriname, after months of school lockdown (many have not had any online lessons), the children are finally allowed to go to school for another month. In Suriname holidays start mid-August. In Lawa the children have their holidays now since they visit the school on the French side of the river.

Games on the airstrip

jumping in a ricebag

With the proceeds from the clothing sale, we were able to provide the church’s sound system with new tweeters and a bass speaker. One morning of tinkering yielded a number of well-functioning speakers.

Our neighbors have a rabbit as a pet for one of the kids. As we see, it is still growing rapidly. The grass around our house is a favorite. Every morning the tame animal skips around our house.

In the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany they suffer some severe flooding, but also here. It continues to rain much more than usual. Many vegetable gardens have been flooded and they are still under water. The cassava is rotting in the ground. Normally, the new vegetable gardens are cut open in July so that new cassava sticks are planted in time. This year, meteorologists expect heavy showers here until mid-August. The new planting season will therefore be late. We notice that people are quite concerned about their food supply for next year. This year shortages are expected also.

‘Cats and dogs’ pooring down 15 min

In this context, we are grateful for the Foundations for Farming project! We see that some of the people who received online training last January are already putting their acquired knowledge into practice on a small scale. They are very enthusiastic about the result. Their plantings grow much better with the advice they have received. They like to share their knowledge with the people in the other villages. Over the past few weeks, we have set up a testing garden together ‘in the middle’ of the village so that everyone can see the result.

The fish farm pilot project in Lawa has now been completed. The results are impressive. The small fish that have been bred in the breeding ponds now weigh more than 1 kilo. We are so grateful for this result. This fish has grown up without the risk of mercury pollution. They also learned some important lessons. The breeding ponds will soon be covered with a layer of cement. The plastic sheets that were used perishes in the strong sunshine. The roof will also soon be made of a sturdy leaf roof. There are already other villages that have expressed an interest in the project. We are grateful to EO Metterdaad (Dutch Christian Broadcasting Company) in the Netherlands for their contribution to the costs.

The Covid situation in the country is still serious. We hear little about new infections in the villages, while all regulations are not taken into account at all. In the jungle town of Maripasoula, the leader of the Baptist congregation died in the hospital in Cayenne last week from Covid. We understand from Anneke Kempeneers that more church members have Covid, fortunately not so serious that they need to go to a hospital. We are seriously taking into account that one of the variants will soon be circulating among the Wayana. At the end of this month they want to dedicate a new church building upstream to the Lord and have a three-day conference that weekend. We know that the health workers and the Medical Mission are concerned about this, especially since many refuse vaccinations.

12 juni 2021
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10 years ago…

June 1, 2011 we had our first presentation about our plans to move to the jungle of Suriname. Who could have imagined then what has happened in our lives in the past 10 years, at least we could not. We are still so grateful for the place where we are allowed to live and serve.

Wednesday, May 26 we flew with MAF to Paramaribo. We left 2 hours later than scheduled because of heavy rain in the city. For a change, it had remained dry in Apetina that night and morning. Due to the government-planned lockdown weekend, we wanted to do as much shopping as possible on Thursday and Friday. Elsbeth and Quinn came to stay with us for the weekend because otherwise we wouldn’t see each other at all during our short stay in Paramaribo. We enjoyed each other so much, it was a very successful weekend. We were surprised by the announcement that the entire country would go into total lockdown from May 31 to June 18. Would we be allowed to fly to Lawa or were we ‘stuck’ again in Paramaribo, just like last year. To our relief we heard that returnees could be flown to their village. Now we had to wait and see if the weather would cooperate because Wednesday June 2 the Lawa runway was closed due to heavy rainfall. How would it be Thursday?It is Thursday morning June 3rd and today we hope to leave for Lawa. First, we waited for the announcements about the status of the Lawa runway. Just after 07:30 am the phone rings and Sjaak from the MAF announces that the strip is open. We can fly. We quickly wrap up our last things and drive to the city. It is quiet on the road because only people with an exemption letter are allowed to be on the streets. Due to the increasing Covid19 infections, the entire country has gone into a strict lockdown from last Monday. We are grateful that we are regarded as returnees and can therefore return home. It’s been 13 months since we were left Lawa last year.The jungle around our house shows that it has been a long time ago. Marco just needed to get the water pump going so we could fill the top barrel. After some tinkering it worked. Then we enjoy together again the technical talents that Marco has. In the coming weeks, he will gradually transform the jungle around our house into a lawn again. He knows what his workout will be in the coming weeks.

In the house ’the mess’ is not that bad because Anneke Kempeneers and Melisa already cleaned up quite a bit a few weeks ago. This was urgently needed because the woodlice were building nests in the boxes that were waiting for the cloths market. Fortunately, only 3 boxes were infected, but what a job they had to sort everything out and clean it. We asked for prayer for a good internet connection for Sunday 6 June. That day the new Wayana Bible would be dedicated in Lawa. Just like in Apetina, the translators and their families would join the meeting via ZOOM. We also invited Roy and Margaret Lytle. They worked in Lawa for over 40 years. Roy would preach via Zoom. We can’t quite put into words what went through our minds during the service. It moved our hearts that the first missionaries for the Wayanas were present via ZOOM. Deep gratitude that we have the privilege of witnessing this. We are moved as we hear the elders ask for a blessing for the spreading of His word now and in the generations to come. Gratitude for the visible sign of God’s faithfulness over the past 60 years. The circle is closed for the first missionaries. Their job is done. We can follow in their footsteps. In short: it was one big celebration! And … we had a good internet connection for the entire meeting of more than 3 hours!

After the service, people lined up to buy a Bible. That also touched us deeply.

On Monday, a MAF plane landed with another shipment of Bibles. They were neatly stacked in the ‘bible room’. Young and old helped out. The rest of the week was mainly dominated by the clothing market. Many personal conversations took place during these days, usually at times when there were not many others in our house. It is also great for us to be able to strengthen and deepen relationships with the people.

Saturday June 12 was the first English lesson after last week’s scheduled lesson had literally fallen into the water. Because of the heavy rain, one couple did not come at all, another couple came 1 hour late and the third couple came even later. That doesn’t work if you’re working with a ZOOM meeting. On Friday it rained all day, but Saturday started very promising with some sunshine after the fog had lifted. Very special to be able to have long-distance education via ZOOM from Canada into the jungle with modern technology. We are very curious how quickly they will pick it up. ‘Good morning’ and ‘How are you’ they already know.