Although I was born and raised in the Netherlands, my real roots are in Suriname, a former colony of the Netherlands in the northeast of South America, bordering to Brazil. It’s a beautiful country with its unspoiled tropical rainforest, swamps, mountains, many rivers, waterfalls and a historical capital center that is on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. Suriname is also rich in natural resources like gold, bauxite (an aluminum ore), rice, timber, bananas, and shrimp. And let’s not forget the beautiful flora and fauna!
But what I’m most proud of is the cultural diversity. Suriname’s multicultural heritage, due to slave trade, and contract labourers from Indonesia, India and China, celebrates a variety of distinct ethnic and religious groups. As a matter of fact, because of this history it is one of the most ethnically and culturally diverse countries in the world. And the beautiful thing is, that they all mingle, mix and live together.
Ethnic traditions, customs, and attitudes carry forward in everyone’s family values. Paying tribute to your heritage and tradition also gives your children a strong sense of family ties. Our roots make us what we are, and incorporating pieces of your heritage in your home gives the interior of your home a special individuality. Today I’d like to inspire you by sharing a corner of my home, paying tribute to my heritage. How do you celebrate your heritage in your home?
The beautiful flora and fauna of Suriname has always been depicted on their postal stamps. I have been collecting those stamps since I was 10 years old. Instead of keeping them in an album, I glued them on paper in a collage, and framed it so I can enjoy them every day.
Two ethnic cultures in wood carvings: the Maroon woman, and the native Surinamese: the Arawak Indian.
It is said that when one drinks water from this wooden carved cup, it cleanses your body. The taste of water in the cup is bitter.
I framed a legendary Surinamese poem by Robin Ravales. The poem is an allegory, describing how all different cultures, religions and ethnicity in Suriname are part of one people. So many different colours of skin, types of hair, different languages and dialects, yet we are still one people. (scroll to bottom for the English translation)
Translation Wan Bon: One tree / so many leaves / one tree. One river / so many creeks / all are going to one sea. One head / so many thoughts / thoughts among which one good must be. One God / so many ways of worshipping / but one Father. One Surinam / so many hair types/ so many skin colours/ so many tongues / One people