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Information source: De Ware Tijd, Fenny Zandgrond
People in the Matawai region in central Suriname, near the Saramacca River, will soon be able to make mobile phone calls. Telecom provider Digicel is investing half a million US Dollars in the establishment of a network in this area. The central mast will be placed in Nyun Jacobkondre. Its radius of 5 kilometers will cover a large part, though not all of, the Matawai region. The town of Pusugrunu, where the Matawai granman (great chief) resides, will not be included in this coverage.
Profiting from the technology will be several Maroon villages and settlements of porknockers and garimpeiro’s (artisanal Brazilian gold miners), such as Villa Brasil. District official Ivan Emanuel is pleased with the news. “We desperately need this means of communication. At present we are fully isolated.”
Up till now, the Matawai region has relied on postal services to communicate with people in other areas, such as the capital town Paramaribo. Emergency messages are delivered through a single central radio device that is controlled by the government and telecom provider TeleSur. A major concern of users is its lack of privacy. Any message send across the radio waves can be easily picked up by anyone in a wide area.
The Matawai are also known as the Matuariërs. In their home region in central Suriname they number about 1.500. How many Brazilian gold minders live in the region, is unknown. Estimates say a few hundred.