Thursday, June 01, 2006

Leaving on a jet plane + geography lesson

Hey! I'm leaving Sunday for my field research! yay! So excited. I got the tickets changed Tuesday, and it only cost me $165. I was soooo scared it was going to cost more. So, soon I hope to post tales of adventure from yon jungle.

Also, because of the upcoming trip and my love of edumacation, I have decided to not be coy about where I do research, even though it will chip away at my anonymity a little.

I'll be in Suriname which is in northeastern South America and used to be called Dutch Guiana. It is a small country, about the size of Georgia, and with a population of about 300,000 people. We study monkeys in the little-populated interior, and where we are they are actually very few people at all. Thus, we can do thinks like drink straight out of the river (as long as it is running! Never drink stagnant water!). Suriname is a very interesting country. It is in South America, but the official language is Dutch, and it is less like a Latin American country than a mix of Europe, Africa and the Caribbean. A large portion of the population are descendents of escaped slaves, who ran off from the Dutch and lived in the interior for many years, living similarly to how they lived in Africa. When I was there before I worked with a woman who had been in West Africa for a few years, and the houses and customs of parts of the interior really reminded her of Africa. Religion-wise, it is 1/3 Christian, 1/3 Muslim and 1/3 Hindu, and I think there is a spot with a mosque next to a church next to a Hindu temple. It is really a fascinating mix of those colonized by the Dutch, with a few people of Dutch extraction thrown in.

Anyway, I was there for a year, 6 years ago, and I am interested to see how it is the same and what has changed. I have been trying to freshen up my Sranan Tongo which is the local language and is a Creole. I think I can get around pretty well, although most people speak English. Suriname is so unique in a lot of ways, that I felt my descriptions of it would lose a lot if I tried to be circumspect. So read the Wikipedia article and get some edumacation! Then, you won't ask if it is in Africa, or near Vietnam, which is what most people think. It can also help you in trivia games!


katie said...

More hints to where to find you... but if crazy internet stalkers want to come after you in the jungle I say let 'em try. You'll still be the one with the machete.

Laurie said...

good point! I WILL be the one with the machete, and the map!

Melinda said...

Oooh, it DOES help you in trivia games! There was a Jeopardy question about Paramaribo once and I got to feel all smart because I knew the answer!

Laurie said...

other people I know won a pitcher of beer at a pub quiz night because they knew that Paramaribo was the capital!