By Marvin Hokstam
Once, when I had just moved to St Maarten, I got very sick. All skinny and shit.
So I called my mom, bawliing. "Ma, I'm sick and it's not getting better"
She responded calmly "but did you bathe already with the water of the land?"
So, I went out to Great Bay, just beyond Chesterfields, and waded into the blue water of the Atlantic. This was before they built the cruise terminal on that same spot. That beautiful.spot that I shared with magical sea creatures is now buried under millions of tons of sand.
I spent about 15 minutes there
It was my moment
I bathed my head to think, my shoulders to carry weight, my legs to carry me.
And they did.
I felt better at minute 16.
I've been bathing in waters of countries I've visited ever since, from Guyana to St Lucia to Trinidad, Jamaica Barbados, Grenada, Canada to New York, the Netherlands to France, Italy China and in the mighty Suriname River of course. Everywhere I've been, I bathed with the water from the land.
But this bath, at the spot where my captured ancestors were allowed to wash themselves one last time before they were sold like merchandise ... like cattle ...
This bath was different.
This bath made me cry
I sobbed quietly, in this moment that was mine
My tears mixed quickly with the water from this sacred river and made me realize even more, how much they endured for me to live.
For me to thrive.
A proud Black man who was born around 1821 to Black people who had escaped slavery in Suriname. His grandmother was Ma Amba was born on the continent of Africa. She fled the plantation where she was put to work, together with his mother Ma Uwa .