ost Suriname families have a history of migration
somewhere in their past. Like living in two
worlds—the present here and the past there, new
and old worlds. A question can nag at some: Is life
really better here?
To find their own answer, says Stephanie, some of her family
members visited Java, where her family had come from. “Stay
put,” they learned. “It’s crowded with people and no work.” So
her family committed to staying in Suriname, and they started a
wildlife lodge, built on stilts, on a lake at Bigipan.
body and write a report. Not long ago there was a shootout. Sometimes there
are two or three who claim they own your mining concession.
Generally, I’m quite careful and can see if something is going to hap-
pen. It’s funny, but I often think the accident with my hand quite possibly
saved my life. When I was in the hospital, we were robbed. Later I figured
out [the robber] was an old foreman who worked for me. A Brazilian I
had fired. He wasn’t happy about it.
Later, they found his camp high in the hills where he had kept an eye on us.
He loved to eat canned corn. The empty tins were found in the camp with a
shirt we knew belonged to his friend. When the crew was ready to leave, [the
robbers] placed a big log across the road. If I was there at the time, he would
have killed me. He could drink my blood. Shortly after, his friend was spot-
ted in the city spending a lot of money. I decided to let it go. Maybe it was
God’s plan that I only lost a couple fingers. I’m still here.
Gold mining now is big-time. I left the woods. Left everything
behind except a few debts. A time went by, then a Brazilian came to see
me, Bert, a former foreman who had taken advantage of me awhile back. I
asked if he had solved all his problems. He replied, “Sorry. Sorry boss.”
“No problem,” I said. “I’ll give you $2,000 if you go into the woods and bring
my machines out.” That was 35 kilometers through a rainforest. Soon after, he calls
and says he had it all loaded and was on his way out. He drove to Brunswick, repaired
the dozer and called me again.
“There is someone here who wants to buy something from you.” I went to the woods.
A Brazilian bought the equipment for $8,000. Another wanted the trailer—sold. Most
gold seekers end up with old iron. I always looked after my equipment. I rented my other
machines. In no time I paid my debts, but I’m still not Rockefeller.
lives in Amsterdam, and
he is a frequent contributor to
Related articles atwww.aramcoworld.com
Amsterdam: M/A 14; M/A 90
South America: M/J 92
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