16 april 2021
We very much enjoyed the Easter conference in Apetina. As always, the canoes from Tepoe and Palemeu arrived in a row a few days before Good Friday. They had crossed the rapids again to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord Jesus together. It was a joy to see all those happy faces and the enthusiasm in the church. It felt like a big family that we were allowed to be part of.
We wondered whether the pandemic would also be taken into account. The week before the conference, a plane arrived from the city with a few people who came to talk about malaria and Covid. Disinfectants, mosquito repellent and face masks were distributed. We were really surprised to see that we had to disinfect our hands before every meeting. We did our best to keep some distance as much as possible. Until now we have not heard of anyone getting sick, so we trust that God protected us all.
With the help of MAF we have again been able to buy some cans of baby milk powder and nursing bottles. Thanks to the clinic helpers, we can now provide 5 babies and young children with supplementary nutrition through the project fund that we have set up through C&MA Missions. The mothers have asked us to thank all donors on their behalf.
The short dry season of February and March lasted about a week this year. This means that the water level in the river is high due to the many rains. It also rained heavily during the conference when we saw the water level rising day by day. In front of our house there was less and less “field” left to play soccer. The guests from Tepoe and Palemeu could not return to their villages either because the rapids are now so wild that they cannot cross it with their families. This means that Apetina has now had 80 extra mouths to feed for 3 weeks. They harvest, cook, fish and hunt together. We enjoy seeing it and are very happy to have a gas stove to cook on.
Last weekend we had a visit from one of the MAF pilots and his family. They have been in Suriname for a few years now and this was their first jungle trip as a family. They enjoyed it and so did we. The boys were in the water in front of the house almost the whole day, so a trip in the canoe was well spent for them. They even said they wanted to live here! We sure can imagine that. We often feel so privileged to serve these people in this beautiful place.
In recent weeks we have ‘roamed’ the world quite a few times online. It still is special that we can do part of our work via the internet. We started low key with the preparations for a follow up trip to Canada for the Wayana’s. We got in touch with a Canadian English-as-Second-Language teacher who wants to teach the Wayana’s online. We have already had a number of meetings to think about our teaching planWhen two couples from Lawa, who want to go to Canada, were in Apetina during the conference, we took the opportunity to introduce them to the teacher via a ZOOM connection. This became a special meeting for both sides of the ‘line’. When we are in Lawa in June, we hope to start with the lessons. The group that wants to go to Canada already has an English Bible and an audio Bible in the same translation. This way they can get used to the pronunciation. We are curious how quickly they will learn the language.
The outboard motor for the project has been repaired in the city and was brought back to the village with the MAF plane last week. That was another gift from God. On Saturday afternoon, the builders left with the canoe to pick up materials in Albina. With the high water they could get along nice and fast downstream, but the rapids along the way were also wilder for them! On Friday April 16 they left Albina with the first load.
At the first big rapids where everything has to be removed from the canoe, they want to stop, unload the canoe and then return to Albina for the next load. Next Monday they hope to leave Albina with the barrels of fuel and come further up the river from the great rapids with two canoes. We hope that next Thursday or Friday they will arrive safely with all their belongings here. It remains quite a trip. We admire how people find their way across this turbulent river!