Kwamalasamutu awakens. The first sunrays break through the clouds and light on thatched roofs in the tiny Surinamese rainforest village. A few residents are already on their way to wash themselves in the river. Mist still hangs in the air. Suddenly, we hear a voice over the village loudspeaker. It’s Granman Asongo Alalaparu. Per the daily ritual, he makes the morning announcements. Today—as for the last two weeks—the big project is building the community’s new Tukuispan. And everyone is expected to help.
ACT Field Notes
Welcome to the Amazon Conservation Team "field notes" blog! Stay up to date with the latest field activities below.
On February 11, 2015, the shaman Korotai Puumona escorted sixth-grade students from the public school in Kwamalasamutu into Suriname’s deep rainforest interior. During the walk, Korotai–an active participant in ACT’s “Shamans and Apprentices” program–introduced the students to a range of medicinal plants. They learned about their forests’ rich ethnobotanical wealth as Korotai pointed out species that are used to disinfect wounds, stem bleeding, treat snake and spider bites, and more.
March 27, 2015: By the final day of the Children’s Book Festival in Paramaribo, approximately 900 students had made virtual journeys to Suriname’s deep rainforest interior with ACT.
The Trio word “napopha,” meaning “thank you,” was frequently heard at the ACT booth, especially toward the traditional knowledge-keeper and healer Wuta from the indigenous village of Kwamalasamutu. ACT flew Wuta, an active participants in the Shamans and Apprentices Program, to Paramaribo to participate in the festival.
Every year, ACT runs a booth in Suriname’s annual children’s book festival in the capital city of Paramaribo. During the festival, ACT representatives share more about our youth-oriented publications that emphasize natural conservation. These include the Junior Park Ranger series and “De Leerling van de Sjamaan” (The Shaman’s Apprentice).
During the evenings at the Children’s Book Festival, many visitors came by the ACT booth to buy books and arts and crafts and to learn more about our programs. Among these visitors was a group from the Maria Boarding School—an institution that serves indigenous students who have recently arrived in the capital city from villages in South Suriname. These young people come to the capital to further their studies, because this opportunity does not exist in their villages.