May 21, 2004: Headlines: COS - Suriname: The Pilot: Suriname Peace Corps Volunteer Nancy O'Connell Keeping Busy

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Suriname: Peace Corps Suriname: The Peace Corps in Suriname: May 21, 2004: Headlines: COS - Suriname: The Pilot: Suriname Peace Corps Volunteer Nancy O'Connell Keeping Busy

By Admin1 (admin) ( - on Monday, May 24, 2004 - 8:05 pm: Edit Post

Suriname Peace Corps Volunteer Nancy O'Connell Keeping Busy

Suriname Peace Corps Volunteer Nancy O'Connell Keeping Busy

Suriname Peace Corps Volunteer Nancy O'Connell Keeping Busy

NANCY O'CONNELL: Suriname: Peace Corps Volunteer Keeping Busy

All is well here in Suriname. My days now have a certain flow to them and I have established a comfortable routine from week to week.

My housemate, Gay Pfister, also a Peace Corps volunteer, and I shop almost every day. The heat and humidity is with us all the time, so we have to buy our food in amounts we can use in a day or two. We have a small refrigerator and consequently a small freezer. The freezer makes ice cubes, a must for us, and holds our bottled water that we take frozen to our work place every day. Chicken is still a stable in our house, and we have had fun searching the cookbooks we brought from home for different methods of preparation.

Vegetables are plentiful and need special attention before you can cook them. For green leafy vegetables it is recommended, in the Peace Corps cookbook, to soak them in lightly salted water and rinse thoroughly to help draw out worms, bugs and additional dirt. Potatoes last longer if washed right away and allowed to dry in the sun before storing. Garlic, onion and ginger will last several weeks if stored in a cool, dark area. Tomatoes are delicious and plentiful and need a good washing before eating. We keep our flour in the refrigerator, and we never get mail from home without a few zip lock bags in the envelopes or packages. They are the handiest things in the world. We wash and reuse them every day.

We finally bought a set of “rabbit ears” for the television set that came with the apartment. It has helped and we now can get an occasional movie in English with a clear picture.

I wrote my first grant before Thanksgiving, along with a Canadian Crossroads volunteer, and we were awarded the money last week. It is from Family Health International. We were able to obtain a laptop, a beamer, a projection screen and a copy machine. This will make the educational presentations that my agency, Stg. Mamio Namen Project, (SMNP), does for the school system, the fire departments and the police departments much more valuable, We can thank a power point program for that.

I received a new digital camera over Christmas, and it too is playing an important part in the work of Stg. Mamio Namen Project. I am in the process of photographing and cataloging, by month and year, all of the quilts that have been designed and made by SMNP since 1990.

One of the first activities of SMNP was the creation and exhibition of MAMIO’S (patchwork quilts) made in memory of those people overcome by AIDS. The making of a MAMIO is a way in which those who are left behind can work through the grieving process, and learn to accept what has happened. There are over 100 quilts to catalog. Several have been done by schoolchildren for one of their classmates.

Each day in our office we come face to face with the facts of HIV/AIDS. Working on education, until a cure is found, is the most important work that we can do each day. Some days are more difficult than others. I am thankful for the work I do and that I am helpful in some small way.

Last week our neighbor, a teacher of English at the University, invited Gay and me to be interviewed by her class. The 20 women in the class are all teachers in the local system. We had sent over some background information for them to work with in preparing their questions. We had great fun just being ourselves, answering their questions about our families, about why we joined the Peace Corps, what our working lives were like back in the States, and what books we like to read, etc., and we didn’t have to worry about a grade.

Our neighbor wanted the students to listen to us with an ear as to syntax and pronunciation as we gave our answers. We have been on the road before doing similar programs like this. It is always very comfortable, and we meet some wonderful citizens of Suriname. This activity is listed on our Peace Corps resume as a secondary project, meaning one that is not assigned to us by the Peace Corps.

I’ll be coming home for the U.S. Women’s Open in June/July. It is being held at my old club, The Orchards, in South Hadley, Mass. I just know if I didn’t return for it I would regret it forever. Hopefully I will see some of you when I come to Whispering Pines to pick up my car and clubs before I head on to Massachusetts. I am really looking forward to my leave time and to seeing my family.

Former Fairway Notebook columnist Nancy O’Connell is serving in the Peace Corps. She sends occasional updates of her life in Suriname. Reach her at

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Story Source: The Pilot

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Suriname



By Anonymous ( - on Thursday, April 20, 2006 - 12:47 am: Edit Post

Looking for Gay Pfister to say HI!.....This is your old hair dresser and I've missed you!

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