Sunday, September 7, 2008

Got Me Again With Those Obscure Geography Questions

We had a guest speaker at church this morning, Gangadin Hannoe, who is a missionary in SW London. The interesting thing about this is he is from Suriname, a country one might associate with having missions if 1) missionarys had the vaguest idea that there was such a country and 2) if they had a clue about where it is. I'll get to that later.

Gang (pronounced gahng) and his family have been missionaries for 40 years and have been in London (that's still in England as far as I know) for 20 years! They work among the growing Muslim population, preaching the Gospel through Meetings for Better Relationships and by building personal relationships within the community.

Before he told his story, he asked how many of us have heard of Suriname. Although I was sitting near the front, I could tell by the lack of sleeves flapping and the usual shuffling sounds that perhaps 3 of us had heard of it.
I have, so I raised my hand. He went on to ask if we know where it is. Pin drop silence. Luckily I didn't say anything. This is the second time this year I have been confronted with this very same question. The last time was a crossword puzzle, and I thought Africa was a good answer - except that it didn't fit in the little boxes.
This time, for whatever reason I decided it is in Indonesia. Maybe I was thinking of Sumatra. Probably not. Anyway, just so we are on the same page, or continent, as it were I thought I'd share some information about this newly discovered (by me) country.

(Whatever - just like my highly informative post about Australia, I would learn more about Suriname before traveling there - especially since it's important to go to the correct continent.)
Suriname used to be called Dutch Guyana. They gained independence from the Dutch and changed the name to Suriname in 1975 - AFTER I was out of High School, so I feel I have at least one decent excuse here. Also, if you look at the map I got from the Surname Embassy web site you'll see they did not even put the name of their country on the map.
The little girl is saying : No we don't see many
Americans here. They don't even know we exist.

Suriname's ethnically diverse population is just under 500,000:

Hindustani (also known locally as "East Indians"; their ancestors emigrated from Northern India in the latter part of the 19th century) 37%, Creole (mixed European and African ancestry 31%, Javanese 15.3%, "Maroons" (their African ancestors were brought to the country in the 17th and 18th centuries as slaves and escaped to the interior) 10.3%, Amerindian 2.6%, Chinese 1.7 %, Europeans 1%, others, mainly Jews and Syrians 1.1%.

Hindu 27.4 percent; Protestant 25.2 percent; Roman Catholic 22.8 percent; Muslim19.6 percent; indigenous believes about 5 percent.

Suriname has a humid, tropical climate with temperatures ranging from 23 degrees Centigrade at night to 37 degrees Centigrade in the afternoon during some months of the year. There are dry and “green” seasons. I can't translate that to Fahrenheit - you're on your own to figure out the temperature.

It has a big lake in it and lots of rivers.

The US does a lot of import and export business with Suriname. And of course, if you do decide to visit they have McDonald's and Popeye's restaurants. Aluminum, Bauxite (how boring is that), oil, gold, platinum and tropical produce are some of the exports

The currency is tied to the US Dollar, so I won't even discuss their economy. I'm sure you can guess.

I asked my son, Jason, to look Surname up in his Onion, Our Dumb World Atlas and supply us with some additional information about the country. This is his reply:

"Pretty much the entire section talks about how uninteresting it is and constantly refers the reader to the pages for other countries."

So, now you know!

Me emit ju tamara (Until Tomorrow - in the Sranen Tongo language)

Oh - almost forgot: Jimmy Smits' father is Suriname.


Lavinia said...

Well I have heard of Suriname, since I enjoy looking through world atlases just for the heck of it. That's how exciting my life is....

Anyway, I doubt that Suriname is the most ethnically diverse country in the world, since Canada and surely the States have a higher number of different nationalities living within our borders? In Toronto alone we have at least 100 different nationalities, I'm certain...

MuseSwings said...

LL! I re-checked my resources and couldn't find that statement again, so I re-worded it. Doesn't make sense to me either!

willow said...

I have heard of most countries because WT travels so much, but actually locating them is a whole other story! Interesting post.

Marie Reed said...

Just wanted to tell you that I posted about the picnic! I made a very saucy badge too!

steviewren said...

I have heard of Suriname, but I would have pointed to the wrong continent when answering the missionary's question. So, I'm glad I wasn't there to make a spectacle of myself.

I find it really interesting that so many people of such diverse heritage have moved to somewhere that most of the world couldn't find on a map.

Stanley said...

That was interesting, learning about Suriname. I've never heard of that place before till now!

MuseSwings said...

Stanley - so glad I could further our education! Thanks for stopping by!

Stevie - Thanks for your encouragement of my iffy geography

Marie! I am pleased you will be coming to our picnic! I'll stop by to see you today.

Lavinia said...

Hi Cynthia, I just popped over to see if you were still lost in the jungles of South America.... hope you're avoiding any possible head hunters...

tee hee!