Suriname | The old systems

Zoe and I got the opportunity to move to Suriname. Start a new chapter in our lives and start a business that suits all our desires and fits our lifestyle. We are so happy we made this big step and moved to this beautiful country full of chances and opportunities. It sounds like a little fairytale right, happy happy joy joy. Maybe.....too good to be true?
Let me tell you. With all the opportunities, chances, beautiful weather, and nature also come with a big downside: dealing with the old Suriname systems and mindset that's incorporated into the business world, and the mindset of a lot of people.
Living and working in Suriname really can feel like a fairy tale because of the endless possibilities. But some days you need to step out of your warm and comfy bubble and deal with the Surinamese reality. And that means dealing with a lot of bureaucracy, time-consuming visits to government organizations, and dealing with people who stick with outdated beliefs.

In a time where a lot of people in Suriname walk with smartphones, you would think most of the government's organizations are driven by automatic systems.If you need to arrange some paperwork, you need to enter a line of little chaos, with not too many structures, and a lot of old-school handwriting systems stored in rusty archives.
Or a quick visit to a store. Forget it! When we need to buy fabrics and materials for our products, the stores will eat up all of your time. First you need to find someone to help you. After you find the right fabrics and they finish cutting your fabrics, they have to find the manager to sign the receipt with your order. Sometimes it can take minutes before you receive your signed receipts because the manager isn’t on his/her station. You think you are done? Nope. Because we buy a lot of fabric we get a discount. The manager has to escort us to the cash counter and let the cashier know how much discount we get. After they scan the manager badge, the discount can be approved. Almost done now. After our order is wrapped up, you need to handover your receipt to the guard of the store so he can check if all the products you take home are listed on your receipt. Finally, we can take our order home!

This might sound silly, but the high-speed lifestyle in Europe where running for a bus or train is normal, buying clothing every 4 seasons (fast fashion industry), doing everything digitally isn't everything to me. Living our life in Suriname we learned to appreciate the slower pace of the Suriname system.
This can be nerve-wracking, but if you change your mindset as well, you can adapt easily. It's all about how you perceive and react to things. So if we need to fix my paperwork at a government office or go shopping for materials, we just make sure we don't plan too much for that day. Just step into the slow ride and enjoy the journey.



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