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.
libi ku lobi = “live with love”
alisi mbii = “rice mill”