Suriname and Paramaribo

Paramaribo Central MarketSuriname and Paramaribo – A View on the Country and the City

Greater Paramaribo, with 280,000 inhabitants, is the main city and the traditional commercial center of Suriname. Paramaribo is multi-ethnic, but the rest of the coastal population lives in often ethnically divided villages.

Paramaribo is a three hundred-year-old colonial town with many wooden buildings in the old center. A distinctive national architectural style has developed whose most important characteristics are houses with a square brick foundation, white wooden walls, a high gabled roof, and green shutters. Multi-ethnicity is demonstrated by the many churches, synagogues, Hindu temples, and mosques.

Food in Daily Life. The nation’s many immigrants have left culinary traces. The only truly national dish is chicken and rice. In Paramaribo, Javanese and Chinese cuisine and restaurants are popular. In the countryside, breakfast consists of rice (for the Javanese), roti (Hindustani), or bread (Creoles). The main meal is eaten at 3 P.M. , after offices have closed. After a siesta, sandwiches and leftovers are eaten. Drinking water and street food are generally safe.

Food Customs at Ceremonial Occasions. At weddings and birthday parties, especially those celebrating a jubilee year, the so-called Bigi Yari , huge amounts of food are served. In Javanese religious life, ritual meals called slametans commemorate events such as birth, circumcision, marriage, and death.

Basic Economy. Commercial agriculture is limited to the narrow alluvial coastal zone. Smallholders are mostly Javanese and Hindustani. The largest rice farms are government-owned. The country is self-sufficient in rice, some tropical fruits, and vegetables, which also are exported. In 1996, agriculture contributed 7 percent to the national economy and employed 15 percent of the workforce. There is a small fishing industry. Overall, the country is a net importer of food.

Land Tenure and Property. Provisions for collective landholding are part of the legal system. Collective holding of agricultural lands can be found among Maroons, Amerindians, and Javanese.

Commercial Activities and Major Industries. The most important sector is mining, with bauxite and gold the leading products. Most of the bauxite is processed within the country produce alumina. Alumina and aluminum account for three-fourths of exports. Gold production is an important activity, but difficult to estimate.

Trade. In the 1990s, the main trading partners were Norway, the United States, the Netherlands, and the Netherlands Antilles. Besides mining products, exports include rice, bananas, shrimp, and timber. Imports come mainly from the United States, the Netherlands, and Trinidad and Tobago, and include capital goods, basic manufactured goods, and chemicals.

Division of Labor. More than half the labor force is employed by the state. Those jobs are officially assigned on the basis of education, experience, and competence, but unofficially, ethnicity and political affiliation often play a role.

Classes and Castes. Classes are increasingly multi-ethnic as a result of the social mobility of all population groups. The class structure is based on social position and income. The elite includes import–export merchants, entrepreneurs, politicians, and military officers. Devaluation of the currency has squeezed a traditional middle class that is dependent on fixed incomes (civil servants, pensioners, teachers, paramedics). The gap between rich and poor is widening.

Source: http://www.everyculture .com/Sa-Th/Suriname#ixzz2KA7jRMYV (edited)




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