Libi Ku Lobi

Today, I received an email from Toni, a close Saramaccan friend.


Attached to his email were 5 photos of Frank standing in front of the rice milling business we created in Ligorio, the village where I served as a Peace Corps Volunteer.


What do I see in this picture?

I see a beautifully designed poster, shirt and hat, all creations of my talented Aunt Kathy and her crew at Harvey & Daughters. Yes, the same crazy and adventurous aunt responsible for creating the spectacular “It’s Always Sunny in Suriname” blog header.

I see change, Frank’s finishing touches to the mill’s shelter and the surrounding landscape, and I see that nothing has changed; Frank still wears his favorite blue work pants and camouflage rubber boots and attempts to hide his goofy smile from every picture, self-conscious of revealing the toothless gaps in his grin.

After receiving this email, I immediately called Frank and told him how great I thought everything looked. Frank chuckled and, once I asked, began describing business affairs, highlighting a visit by several government officials. They inspected the rice mill, he said, and were so impressed that they offered to cover some of the capital costs to expand the business, such as a solar panel to charge the engine’s battery and a 1,000 L water tank to hold water used as coolant. After I reminded Frank that if his business continues to succeed, it will have enough money to buy those items on its own, he responded by saying that the revenue has already proven capable of sustaining the business, funding several trips to Paramaribo to repair damaged parts and buy more fuel.  I was so happy to hear his voice and that things were running smoothly. 

Saramaccan Lesson:

libi ku lobi = “live with love”

alisi mbii = “rice mill”


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6 Responses to Libi Ku Lobi

  1. Becky Pauliny says:

    How very exciting for you to see the rice mill and learn that all is going well!! And to think that you can talk so easily to your Saramaccan friends – our world is getting smaller, isn’t it? I love the artwork. 🙂
    Hope all is going well in Lake Placid. The grandson of one of my friends attends Northwoods, apparently your rival. it IS a small world.

  2. John Williams says:

    Ms. Pauliny,
    Thanks for staying tuned in! It was great seeing over the holidays and wish you all the best in 2014!

  3. Samantha says:

    I don’t know you at all, but I love reading Peace Corps blogs. I usually read stuff from Eastern Europe but I came across yours and wanted to learn something new. I had an amazing time reading your blog and trying to imagine myself in your shoes and in Ligorio. Consider the third goal accomplished, you have made my life richer and broader through sharing your experiences- thank you.

    • John Williams says:

      Thanks Samantha! I really appreciate your note – it made my week – and am glad you enjoyed reading “Sunny in Suriname!” Feel free to ask any questions if you have any!

  4. Jëlêti says:

    Womiee, djunsu mi bi fëndi di blog fii. Mi bi libi a mindi Akpauköndë ku Gaan Seei: di pisi de ta kai adopulampesi. Mi ku mi mujëe mi da keikima nande. U bi libi zuntu dee PCV de kai Seei Main ku Seei Goutu. U kumutu dë feifi jaa pasa. Mi ta hangi di köndë dë. Hën mbei mi lobi di blog fii. Te mi lesi sikiifi fii, a ta tja mi toona gö baka a di suti köndë. Gaan tangi fii baa fu sikiifi di sondi ski. Gaan bunu sondi dam’. Dee sëmbë. Un pei wooko i ta du nöu nöu?

  5. kutukamus says:

    Sounds like some experience alright. Too bad you’re there no more as I was just about to ask if you have some Javanese speaking friends there (I would like to check their blogs, that is). Anyways, Cheers!

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