Monday, January 18, 2016

Visitors From Apoera

This last month has presented us (and I personally) with some interesting new developments. For beginners, with our new boat (Kingdom Proclaimer VII, read all about it!) we've been able to extend not only our territory, but also our realm of visiting speakers. You may recall we have a village near us in Suriname named Apoera, where we're able to travel without visa or passport or any of that nonsense since it's another Amerindian village. Two years back I was able to deliver a public talk there (it being an English congregation) while visiting a nearby waterfall/generally cool place. However, this was a rather isolated event as doing this regularly would get very expensive and involve being away from my congregation for at least three days. Boat schedules and all...

However, with the Kingdom Proclaimer VII we've been able to institute a program of regular speaker exchanges between us and Apoera, which had its inaugural event just this last Sunday. We sent over our COBE McKenzie (along with his wife, plus the son and daughter of another couple and a fifth brother to pilot the boat) while Apoera sent to us their COBE Norah along with a need-greater from another part of Suriname and a need-greater couple visiting from the Netherlands.

Poor photo, sorry, I was confined to the sound booth for the meeting.
Our boat captain is also unfortunately our go-to sound guy, so I got to sub.

Had an awesome time with the four, and afterwards a large group stayed behind at the Kingdom Hall and provided a meal for the guests. They stayed around until after 3 PM, after which they piled back into their boat to return home to Apoera.

I'm unclear if their boat has an awesome name too, but seeing as they're Dutch it'd probably be something like "Ikbeneenverkondigervaneenkoninkrijk Berichtnaariedereennummerzeven".

Of course, the new meeting arrangement has been a huge change for us as well. The biggest concern for us was the matter of there being so many videos with each meeting. We've got a projector with which we've been watching the JW Broadcast videos each month with the whole congregation, but it takes a little while to set up, to tear down the whole stage arrangement to view the video on the back wall, etc etc etc. However, two of our brothers were able to work up a great way to make it all function smoothly and easily.

Brother Chacon, our boat captain, sound guy, and "Hey how do I make this
work oh never mind let me just call Chacon he'll know" guy.

By moving the year text up to the front of the stage, mounting the projector behind it in the ceiling (and upside down so we can reach the power switches) and permanently moving the speaker stand to one side, we're now able to activate the projector and get videos playing in just seconds. Way better than the ten minutes we were taking before.

Testing the video setup. Our two pioneer sisters in the front approve.

A personal change for me which I'm quite pleased with is a water arrangement I now have. I still don't have running water, but I do now have a 55-gallon drum to collect rainwater in!

Hey, for me this is the lap of luxury.

Of course my home has no running water (as most of the houses in the village), but someone had offered to get it for me before. I would involve a large 300+ gallon water tank to collect water and some piping, but all in all wouldn't be too expensive. I thought about this offer for a few moments but quickly declined. Here was my reasoning.

When I first moved to Guyana in 2010, I was in a home that had electricity but no running water. Nearly every day I thought to myself "Man, if only I had running water."

After that I moved into a home with running water but no electricity, and nearly every day I thought to myself "Man, if only I had electricity."

Then I moved to a house that had electricity and running water, and definitely every day I thought to myself "Man, if only I had internet."

Then I got that internet, and every day I thought to myself "Man, if only I had faster internet."

Then I moved into a home with no running water and electricity just four hours a day, and of course every single day I began thinking "Man, if only I had running water".

The lesson I learned: I am never satisfied. So might as well keep myself at the lowest living standard and just accept it.

But having a 55 gallon barrel of rainwater at the bottom of my stairs is very nice. Now instead of running to the river five times a day with buckets, I can just take it to the bottom of my steps. May sound like a small thing, but it's been a huge and fantastic change for me.

One final and random note. I really enjoy learning to live more like an Amerindian. Here's the latest thing I've tried. For a long time when I would mop my floors and steps, I would use some floor-cleaning liquid chemical cancer-causing (probably) thing that I'd buy from Skeldon. But while visiting with one of the families here, I noticed they picked a large amount of fruit called Burambi and smashed it into a bucket, and used the juice to clean the floor with. So, I decided to give it a try!

Burambi + bucket + water...

... + foot = SMASH!

I gave it a try, and was shocked to note that a few spots I'd been trying to remove for weeks came off with zero effort. You can also use these fruit things to polish woodwork with too, plus remove stains from clothes and fabric.

But, that's all I've got for now. Upcoming we've got a few other things, each of which suddenly escape my memory. But until then, vergeef mijn slechte vertaling van nederlands.


  1. Wonderful post!! Thank you for sharing. So great that you get to exchange speakers with a wider area now. The fruit cleaner is very interesting!! Is it something that grows wild or do they have to plant it?

    1. Grows wild. I've got piles of it and mangoes running rampant and rotting in piles in my yard. I'd share it with my neighbors except the same thing is happening to all of their yards.

  2. That's so cool it works. We have a burambi tree, here it's called souri. Me and Mel were planning to try it on the floors as soon as we run out of fabuloso. It's very sour. It's also refreshing smoothy to blend it with mangoes.

  3. I love your lesson about contentment. Having a 55-gallon bucket of water at the bottom of the steps sounds wonderful!