Saturday, April 20, 2013

A funeral and a wedding

Two weeks ago we attended both our first funeral in Guyana and our first wedding.  Our first funeral was for the mother of our YSA president, Aneeza Cuehlo, and her brother (our new Elder Mark Cuehlo).  She also had two more children who were members, a son, Bruce, and Sister Crookshank.  The mother was only 58, but she had a multitude of problems.   We went to visit her in the hospital.  She was there for maybe a month.  Her family had to take her food because they don't serve food at the hospital.  This hospital was the best we'd seen though.  The room was large, about 30 feet by 90 feet.  It had no windows, but the walls on the sides only came up maybe 4 feet and then there was an opening up to the roof.  A nice breeze was blowing through.  There were only 20 beds and probably 12 patients, and it seemed pretty clean.  The father of the family mostly stays at the farm which is probably a couple of hours away from their home.
When someone dies they have wakes.  The family and friends get together every night until the funeral.  Catholics have wakes for 9 nights.  I think Hindus have them for 13 nights.  The family has to feed all these people, and provide drinks.  They gaff (talk), and sing and wail (sometimes), and play games.  The people who came mostly wore black, so we missionaries really stuck out.  
We took a keyboard and Elder Beecher played the hymns.  Branch President Bharat, conducted, and it was very nice.  There was a good spirit there.  Afterwards, we walked down the road a hundred yards and there was a cemetary.  The father had already built the cement tomb, and they mixed the cement right there for the lid.  The family had to do everything.  I think it went really well.
The Beutlers attended a funeral where all the men drank and there was lots of wailing, and chanting at the funeral.  
They had the funeral at their home.  We had to cross a bridge made of 2"X10"'s laying across the trench - not too sturdy.  They had chairs set up out front with a tarp over them.  It actually did rain while we were there.  While the family was spraying the body with perfume and saying their final good-byes the tarp shifted and a waterfall went right down a lady's neck.  We were glad we went.
The wedding was a very grand affair.  Our new friend Nelsion Nurse, sewed the amazing bride and groom outfits and did the incredible decorating.  The theme was traditional African.  The groom, Christopher Jordan is one of our PEF students.  He is the Institute Director and on our PEF Country Committee.  The bride is about 18 and very thin and beautiful.  They made a striking couple.  Elder Beecher was volunteered to play the keyboard again.  There were some nice talks and Christopher's branch president, Sherlock Reece married them.  Here are some pictures of the reception.
The cultural hall looks great.

I love the head dress.  They look great.

Very impressive

Here is Nelsion Nurse, Renetta Mentore, Nelsion's mother, and Ann Marie Meredith.
He made his outfit and his mothers.

?, Ronetta Mentore, Nelsion Nurse, and Ann Marie Meredith in the center and ?.

Dellon Murray, one of our PEF students, and his sister.

Christopher and Christine at the head table.

Brother Murray, best man, Ann Marie Meredith, Keon Taylor, Ronetta Mentore, Jamal Sobers, and Christine's sister

A niece, Kyra, and nephew, Omar

Many people got in the spirit and created their own African outfits.

President Sobers, head of our PEF committee, and Sister Sobers

The bride's sister and Naomi Frazer

Her shoes were interesting and HIGH.
Elder and Sister Beecher at the wedding.

A smilebox from Sister Cook

Sister Cook made this smile box of our morning walks.  We don't usually get such a great view of the manatees.  We think the water must be lower than normal.

Transition-Suriname to Guyana

April 3, 2013
We left the neatness of Suriname and the peace and tranquility for the crowded roads of Berbice.
In Suriname people want plain dirt around their homes.  We saw
many people out sweeping in the morning.  They don't want even
a blade of grass.

There are many Chinese stores, litter free.

We saw vegetables, rice, and bananas growing.

  We are now in Berbice.  Good-bye to the peace and tranquility.
 In Guyana you share the road, and it's pretty much every man
 for himself.
When we arrived in Berbice, the rice growers were drying the
rice out in the road. In some places the rice was on both sides of the road, and you had to drive down the middle.
These big slow trucks carry the rice.
The farmers started to gather, sweep, and bag the rice.
There are people on bicycles all along the way.
There are tractors, big trucks and other farm equipment parked along the road.  Much of the farming takes place in Berbice.
The animals think they own the road.  They are not intimidated.
This fellow has his store on his bike.
Bags of rice along the road.
These fellows are herding their cows on their bikes.
The goats and cows love to clean up the rice.
The bags of rice and the goats.
More bags of rice.
The people think they own the road as well.  They are not too
worried about getting in your way.
Now they are "uplifting" the bags of rice.
Good bye to the relaxing driving.  We took the ferry back across
the river to Guyana.  We had to be there by 10:00.  We waited to show our passports and our round-trip tickets.  Then we waited to go to customs to get the car paperwork completed.  On the other side we have to go through immigration where they stamp your passport for another three months.  Then we went through customs, declaring what ever we are taking back.  We had tool boxes and t-shirts for the wheel chair project the end of April, but the officer just waved us through.  The ferry left Suriname at 12:00.  The ferry ride took about 45 minutes.  Then 20 minutes or so getting through the lines.  Then we were on our way through Berbice, on our way to Georgetown.  We enjoyed our short break and are grateful for a little R & R.

More Fun in Suriname

April 2, 2013
Elder and Sister Cook took us to a place called Pepperpot, where there are lots of birds and monkeys.  It was originally a cocoa plantation.  The plants there were unusual.  We saw birds, butterflies, monkeys swinging through the trees, and many beautiful plants.  Elder Beecher and I are getting to know some of the birds.  We always have a fun time with the Cooks.  The birds and monkeys were hard to catch on film, but we snapped some pictures of the flowers.
The roads in Suriname were a calm relief.

We did see some of the Scarlet Peacock butterflies.
Our next stop was the Zoo.  It's very interesting to go to a zoo down here because they have different animals in South America than we do at home.  Here are some of the fun things we saw.
The monkeys hanging out in their house.

The baby monkey is learning to swing.

The King Vulture

They speak Dutch in Suriname, so all the signs were in Dutch.

Speckled Owls


The Scarlet Ibis

A great Egret


  After the zoo, we went to the market place on the wharf.  We sat a minute and enjoyed a fancy fruit drink and the breeze.  The girls went shopping and the guys went to visit the Old Fort.  The Fort was closed.  Then we enjoyed a nice almost American dinner at the Marriot.
A very old Dutch church they are remodeling.

A famous bridge in Parimaribo

Enjoying the breeze on the wharf

We enjoyed our time in Suriname.  The feeling is totally different than Guyana.  When you arrive you feel peace and not chaos.  Everything feels organized.  There are road signs, and people obey the rules of the road.  There are not as many people.  It is much cleaner!  I noticed though that the people are not as warm and friendly and kind as the people in Guyana:)
A beautiful little tree in front of Cooks apartment.