Making Peace 🧘 With Being Stranded In Suriname 😌

in PowerHouseCreatives2 months ago (edited)

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Something has been eating at my soul for nearly a year, and I've found it harder and harder to stay strong for my family.

A Challenge Ahead

     We knew it was going to be a challenge when we left Cambodia over a year ago with the aim of getting legally married, introducing my American family to my Cambodian family and reopening our cafe long enough somewhere to earn enough money to return to Cambodia with more legal family rights.

     We could've never imagined things would go so wrong before we even left Cambodia, losing $4,000 of our $10,000 life savings to a Canadian transit visa debacle.      

     We applied for the visa correctly, provided all information asked of us, went to meetings, did biometrics, only to be refused transit because we lacked the necessary funds, even though Canada never asked for any financial statements.

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     After Canada screwed us, China Southern Airlines told us we wouldn't be allowed to board our flight because our transit visas had been denied, and also we wouldn't be receiving a refund of any kind from China Southern Airlines.

Shattered

     It was so brutal being shattered like that by international iniquity workers before we even left Cambodia. However, it strengthened our resolve to go abroad in search of obtaining the same rights many families are given without even asking.

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     After all, we had already cancelled our lease, closed our restaurant, sold everything we owned except for 8 pieces of luggage.

     After our transit visa denials and newly purchased multiple one-way tickets, we had to jettison 6 more bags, as 3 of us wouldn't be able to exit the various international zones to reclaim luggage on our way to Ecuador.

We Gotta Go Anyway

     It was tough loosing so much before we even left Cambodia, but @Sreypov's ex-husband would be out of jail soon, and lacking legal rights as a family, he could've become a very divisive force in our lives.

     We had to leave no matter how ill-prepared we now were, already knowing we wouldn't have enough money to reopen our restaurant in Ecuador.

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     This family is the greatest gift JAH has even given me, so I knew we had to go no matter what. I couldn't have imagined our rich and out-of-touch Ecuadorian iniquity worker, I mean immigration lawyer, was going to kick us when we were down by taking our money and cutting all communication with us.

Just Stay Together

     That left us arriving on e-Visas in Suriname with no plan, no money, and also being told by the Suriname Embassy in the USA that we'd have to leave the country after my family's one month visas expired.

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     As it was becoming increasingly obvious to our children that we were in desperate times, we had to come clean and talk to them like adults, letting them know we were broke, but that maybe we could adapt to life in Suriname, find work, get married, and eventually get out of here one day.

     The hits just kept coming: the Suriname economy descended into collapse, COVID-19 came to town, and eventually I even lost most of my online language students, our last financial lifeline.

     It was so hard to hear this news, but my students were losing their streams of income all over the world, and learning languages just isn't a priority when you're trying to find ways to buy groceries and pay rent.

Setback After Setback

     We had a distant shot of immigrating to the USA on a K-1 Fiance Visa, but now the US Embassy no longer processes immigration visas here in Suriname, so we have to leave the country for that hope.

     I also don't have the required income to sponsor the family, but we hoped for some kind of exception to the rule because of our hardship. Well, the USA has made it clear it's the 4 of us against the world, and they will be of no help to us at all.

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     The @KidSisters have been out of school for over 4 months with no educational support from the Suriname public school system, and it will be another 2 months before they can return to school.

     I am so overwhelmed with trying solve our crisis while homeschooling the children and making a subsistence living from our Hive posts. Our life savings are completely exhausted now, and flights back to Cambodia for the 4 of us are $20,000. Thanks COVID-19.

     There are no jobs in Suriname to be had because of the economic collapse, and it's worsened by COVID-19. I just feel there aren't enough hours in the day.

The Weight Of It All

     I wake up each day at 6am frantic to make sure I can finish a Hive post, have time for homeschooling, work a few hours trying to find ways out of our mess, cook a meal and/or run some local errands, and then before I know it, it's already getting dark again.

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     Survival is all we do now, and it's starting to wear on me. We've been living in a constant state of uncertainty for over a year, and I just want it to end, but all the imaginary lines (borders) and transportation systems are controlled by the same iniquity workers that put us in this mess.

Wait, Wait, Wait & Remember The Good Times

     We used to have a thriving restaurant and school, transportation, tons of free time to go enjoy being a family, and although poor by Cambodian standards, economic security and local spending power.

     Now we find ourselves stranded in a strange land, broke, with no support network, non-functional banking systems, having extracted all but the last few hundred dollars of our life savings via Western Union, just another international iniquity business.

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     Suriname will likely not recover from this hot mess for 2-3 years, as it's one of the least visited countries in the western hemisphere. Paramaribo has already been removed from the new business model of international airlines, and there wasn't even tourism here before COVID-19 showed up on the scene.

     All that's left to do is wait and reflect on better times. I've watched countless stranded friends repatriate over the last several months, and I bet it's easier to live through this struggle on familiar territory. If we could just get the hell out of here to the USA or Cambodia, at least we'd have some kind of support network.

Bars, Bars, Bars

     Even though Surinamers like to think of themselves as open and caring, we only got to know our neighbors after living here a year. In Cambodia, you are more or less obliged to win your neighbors over within the first week, or you risk alienating the village.

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     The bars that we now have to purchase nearly everything through here are a good symbol for our reality. We are trapped both within and without, how ironic. The best thing that happens to us now is sometimes we get a major whale upvote every few months, but that is like a drop in the ocean right now.

Just Make Peace

     Making peace with our plight is the best we can do these days. Things won't be changing for us anytime soon, and Hive isn't going to solve our problems. Hive barely even keeps our landlord supplied with rent money, but it's unfortunately our main stream of income now.

     We may never be able to afford a doctor visit, health insurance, house, land, or even 4 international plane tickets ever again, and we're starting to make peace with this even though it's really hard. We've hit financial rock bottom in a failing country under COVID-19, and we lack basic family rights.

     I have to hold back the hatred I have for these international iniquity workers making a mess of global things for me and my family right now. I wish I could tell the @KidSisters everything is going to be alright, but I can't even say that. Instead I have to tell them things are going to get harder for us, and that it's far from over.

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     They already know we may soon have to cross into French Guiana illegally, hoping for some long-shot at some kind of asylum within the EU. Sometimes I really feel we are going to wake up from this nightmare, step outside, get in our tuk-tuk and go swimming, but that has yet to happen.

     We're getting tired of reliving good memories, and we're ready to make some new ones, but just can't see how this is going to happen. We are learning to give thanks for what we have and not be jealous of others, but I do hope this is a life lesson a school system could never teacher our daughters.

     This post went off the rails, so sorry. I just needed to rant today, and I honestly have no other place to do that than here on Hive, so thanks for being a captive audience.

🙏 THANKS FOR READING 🙏

If you enjoyed this post, please upvote and reblog.

Dad
@JustinParke
Mom
@SreyPov
Srey-Yuu
@KidSisters
Monkey B
@KidSisters

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I knew you were stranded in Suriname but I didn't even begin to understand how much complicated the whole story was. What a big mess.

I'm glad to see that you're still keeping up a good fight and I hope things will turn out for the best for all of you.

Hopefully your wife will be able to open a restaurant there. With her cooking skills, there's a chance it will be a success even in such a failing economy.

I'll reshare your article to raise awareness for your story... As people say, every little bit helps and I hope your articles in Hive keep giving you a fighting chance.

I wish you all the best. A big hug from Portugal. 🤗

Thanks @trincowski, very kind words.

Well, in a way we dodged a bullet by not opening a mini cafe abroad, because we would've gone bankrupt from COVID-19. Now a restaurant is the worst business to have in the world, so we feel good knowing that dream didn't happen.

Even though @Sreypov shares all the recipes, I actually have the culinary background, but I cook in the evenings, so it's not suited for photography that well. @Sreypov was already naturally a good cook when we met, all I did was show her how to veganize her recipes and use healthier ingredients.

When it comes to the high stress and fast-paced environment of a restaurant, I tend to handle the kitchen a little better, and @Sreypov's English is good enough to handle customers.

Suriname is a different ballgame, and she just doesn't have the ability to communicate in Dutch or Sranang Tongo, so it would be a struggle here. The biggest surprise was that even though this country is full of Indonesian and Indian DNA, Surinamers don't actually like traditional Indonesian and Indian food, which is what the two of us cook. I would go step further and say Suriname food is barely edible and full of chemicals and food coloring.

Thanks for the kind words @trincowski, I didn't intend for my post to turn into a rant, I just needed to let some steam escape.

Icchhh. That food seems really bad. And those guys are still alive? They must have developed some kind of immunity to such poison.

Good luck for you and your family. Hope everything goes well.

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That's absolutely wretched. Even though your anger is well placed, we both know what it does to our soul. Keep reaching out if and when things get worse. We have other resources than a few HIVE tokens. I'd be glad to help out beyond the Upvotes and reblogs. 🙏🙏🙏

Thanks, you've already done so much in just supporting me as a content creator. You didn't need to go above and beyond, but you did, give thanks for that.

There is some light at the end of the tunnel, and we have seen a few tickets back to Cambodian at "regular" prices, so it may be our chance. If we can get back there we can economically recover within 6 months, and have a Bajaj RE again within a year.

I think I just needed to rant, and HIVE is a safer place to do that Facebook, where my family and friends in the USA will respond with racism, hatred and who knows what else.

Even though I've never physically met nearly all of my friends, our interactions, although it monetized, are more genuine than interactions with many of my own friends and family.

We know things are rough all over the world, and we are from the worst affected, so we give thanks, just frustrated right now.

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Hopefully BTC keeps pushing and then HIVE follows. It will make it so much easier for you all to get out of Dodge.

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Damn, I had no idea how you've been thrown for loop after loop. As a Canadian I'm embarrased! I'm sure it's hollow words, but try to keep strong. You've got a great family!

Yeah, Canada sometimes gets a false reputation as a liberal land welcome to all, but apparently it's not liberal enough to let our family sit in a waiting room while the plane refuels. We knew the USA wouldn't let us transit, but at least the USA makes it clear we're not even welcome to try.

Canada made the transit visa seem so easy and cheap, all online, but it quickly turned into a hot mess.

Thanks for the encouraging words @wwwiebe, we need them now.

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Wow that’s one crazy thrill ride, if your life doesn’t make a case for a Netflix special then I dot know what does! I do hope you eventually get to sort out all that paper work holding you back and you guys can eventually settle down and start up your business again

Thanks @chekohler.

I do hope the world changes very soon. If we can get back to Cambodia while land is still cheap and tourism is down, we may be able to get rooted in the tourism industry somehow. We have escorted tourists around Cambodian in our Bajaj RE before, and it was the best fun we've ever had.

If we can get back before mass tourism returns, we may able to position ourselves very well to make a business offering custom-tailored mini tours of Cambodia via Bajaj RE.

Of course this in turn would produce awesome content for 3Speak and Hive, which is just another added bonus. Time will tell....

Sounds like a brilliant plan and with so many peoples lives riding on tourism I'm sure there's a big interest in getting it up and running as soon as possible. Life has a funny way of working itself out in the weirdest ways we could never expect

No regrets at all, just lessons learned.

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Stay strong buddy. I hope a solution presents itself soon!

We did see some reasonably priced tickets back to Cambodia, and being that is our home where we know how to thrive, seems wise to return and economically recover there for a year or more while we re-attempt marriage and/or immigration abroad.

The path died here when the US Embassy announced all US Immigration visas will now be handled through Guyana. To get Guyana visas, 4 round trip tickets, hotels and meals for the time spent there, it would be just as expensive as going back to Cambodia, where there is already a US Embassy processing immigration visas. As long as we can lay low and not let her ex-husband cause us any legal problems, we could safely stay there until going abroad to get married.

If had an internationally recognized marriage, we could live in Cambodian with relative family security. I do promise if we ever make it to the USA as a family, we will track you down and buy you lunch my man. That's the least we could do for you.

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Thats a whole lot. I pray your family recovers from all this ❤❤

We have no regrets, but instead a lot of life lessons learned from this experience.

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This is really hard bro and I hope God provides some relief for you and yours.

Give thanks @belemo, thinks will work out as they should. JAH never gives us anything we can't ultimately handle.

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Wow dude, you're having a shocking time. I had no idea that yo were stuck there I guessed it was your plan to be there. I really hope that you manage to turn things around for you and your family.
It makes our stuck in the Philippines with no work seem trivial, keep your chin up dude and the positive vibes going, life's a long song and there's many more verses to come. Peace bro.

Well, we came here intentionally, but didn't get stuck intentionally. Suriname was simply the easiest and cheapest place we could escape Ecuador before becoming illegal immigrants.

I always wanted to give our daughters international experience, so they understand the psyche of western cultures. They now have that, and that's priceless.

Even if we return to Cambodia and never go abroad again, the family will be able to work with foreign tourists in Cambodia with so much more confidence and understanding.

So many Cambodians speak really good English and work with tourists all day long, but because they've never seen western life, they don't know what a western tourist expects.

A lot of good will come out of this experience, I know that. Thanks for the encouraging words @biggypauls.

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I'm sure in time this will become a part of life's long journey and things will come good. I wish you all the best dude.

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Thanks :)

Damn this read was a roller coaster D: I'm so sorry for all of the misfortunes, stay strong and good luck!

Thanks @kristyglas, we will get through this, a little Hive blockchain can't hurt.

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I'm sorry to hear of your predicament. Stay strong! May I ask what Sreypov's husband did to get himself in jail? Before attempting to go Canada and Suriname, have you ever considered getting English teaching jobs by rotating countries every two years like Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, Malaysia and etc to avoid Sreypov's husband? Please do not misunderstand, not judging, just suggesting in case you guys get deported back to Cambodia.

Well, the world is very small, the same problems destroying former hometown in the USA are also causing problems in Cambodia. "Yabba" is the key word, basically a mix of caffeine and methamphetamine.

He was arrested twice for dealing this drug, but he is currently out of jail in Cambodia, and could technically make a claim to our children, as he is still the birth certificate father, even though he signed away his rights to Sreypov on paper.

I was an English and Cambodian teacher in Cambodia for over 9 years, so I'm familiar with the visa situations, etc. Laos and Thailand are nearly impossible long term. We'd be okay in Cambodia as long as we didn't let certainly family members with loose lips know our address.

As we now survive from internet $$$, the most important thing is to get to a cheaper cost-of-living country than Suriname, which really doesn't exist in the western hemisphere. I would be glad to go to Nepal, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, anywhere with a similar cost-of-living to Cambodia where we can all get visas and get back on our feet economically. First we gotta get money to fly out of here though, and the prices are way too expensive for us now.

Thanks for your concern @wittywheat, it is apprecialoved.

They are so adorable... Cute!!! (^_^) How is the stranded?

Thanks @kennyroy. Well, I guess technically now we could fly if we had enough money to do that now, but it's too late, COVID-19 has wrecked our life savings, so we are economically stranded here. The worst part is Suriname is in a state of bankruptcy, so we can't use any local work or resources to get us out of this mess.

We just really miss Cambodia right now, and want to return their as soon as possible, as it the closest place to a home we have, even though we'd be going back without any legal family rights.

Oh my vegetable salad! Not in good condition you are right now... Have faith! Believe me, you are in my prayers... 🙏