Zes Jaren in Suriname (1836-1842), A.Kappler,Walburg Pers, Zutphen, 1983. Intro by Ir.F.C. Bubberman and ISBN906011.239.3 Reprinted at Suralco's request.
Subject: [History,Agriculture] Life on the Plantation (part 1)
In those days (1836), life on the plantation is almost the same everywhere in Suriname.
The plantation 'director' gets up at 5:30 AM, dresses in a pair of pants and a kind of bath robe and sits on the front porch. There he meets a black supervisor(s) of slaves, also called "bastiaans". These bastiaans carry a whip as part of their position and authority at the plantation. A plantation has 2 or 4 bastiaans. They report to the director about yesterdays work and who of the slaves was lazy and malingering and therefore needed some form of punishment. The bastiaans receive their new duties from the director, while the director is served breakfast.
The bastiaans are followed by a procession of slaves and a slave 'doctor'. On the spot is determined who is really sick and who is faking illness. The sick are sent to the hospital while the fakers are chased into the fields.
After the doctor departs, the 'blank officier' ,white supervisor, reports and receives his orders for the day from the director.
Then the director gives his orders to his domestic slaves and departs to inspect the work around the plantation followed by a boy (voetebooi), who carries the director's tobacco, guns and alcoholic drinks. Such an inspection lasts 1 1/2-2 hrs and upon his return to the plantation home the director changes clothes. Afterwards he has a couple drinks for appetizers.
At about 11AM a 'Creole-mama', who is an elderly women, shows up with the plantation children (mostly European). They make their appearance to greet and sing for the director and disappear after lots of gigling and horseplay with the 'Creole-mama'.
Lunch is served at noon and if there are no guests the blank-officier eats with the director. Meals consists of meat or fish with a kind of turnips and hot sauces. Little vegetables are served in those days. Left overs of meat and fish are cooked in a pot to prepare some kind of 'pepperpot' soup. After the meal the director takes a nap until 4 pm and no one is allowed to disturb him while he is taking a nap.
At 6pm the bastiaans return from the field to report to the director and are offered a glass of rum. The blank-officier who also reports is offered a glass of gin. Shortly there after, the director retires awaiting the evening meal which is served at 8pm. The director usually reads a book to spent the time and some more drinks of gin.
Thus life on the plantation was considered boring and therefore guests were always welcome at the plantation. Guests always arrived by boat which was called a 'tent boot' as the 40 feet long boat had a roof and there were windows with blinds to shade the passengers from the sun.In those days there were no hotels thus one stopped at the first plantation eventhough the persons did not know each other. All were welcome and well received. No money or tips were exchanged either between guests and plantation director.
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Met dank aan Albert Buys