“We are Spiritual Beings, Indigenous to the Earth. How should we love?”― Spirit Wind
Monique Wijngaarde – Bekema, Founder of Growing Seeds Worldwide Foundation — I’m also known as “Moya.” My Foundation is based on my promise, as a 16-year-old, to my late Surinamese Indigenous (Lokono – Arawak) maternal grandmother, Petronella Amelie MacDonald, to the life lessons she taught me, to the stories she shared with me, and to my own life experiences – each brought together into one concept.
We are committed to preserving Nature, preserving Cultures – especially the traditional Indigenous ones, bringing Cultures and different backgrounds together to create Unity and Respect for Love and Peace, stimulation of Self-reliance and a Youth Leadership program that also includes all the above.
My own background: I come from a very colorful family. I’m a real mix, representing all so-called four colors of the world – Black, White, Indigenous and Asian, given by the blood of my late grandparents, and due to mixed marriages in my family. I’ve always been surrounded by many different cultures and religions.
Growing up and being a part of this diversity from birth – for me, it is more than normal. It has taught me to live with an open mind when it comes to others, and to respect each and every one of us, no matter what background, skin color, culture, ethnicity or religion. Therefore, I never saw any difference in people’s distinctions. What I see first is a “Human Being,” and I can’t do otherwise or I would be discriminating against myself. But, what is normal for me and my family isn’t always normal for the outside world.
For me being such a mix, many people often don’t know where to put me or how to accept me inside a certain group. The truth is for many years I didn’t know myself. I even became lost in the questions, “Who am I? Where do I belong?” No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t find the answers, and in the meantime, I walked against walls of people telling me, “No, you don’t belong to us, because you look too much like ________.”
Years ago, when I was 30-years-old, I even traveled together with my mom all the way to the west coast of the African continent, to search for that part of my Roots. It was the second year after they opened the borders for tourism. I wanted to see where my African ancestors came from with my own eyes. It was something I wanted to do for a long time, to experience the West African culture, the music, the history, the way of life, and also to visit the so-called Island of the slaves – a very small Island where they kept all the slaves until there were enough to ship to the colonies overseas. It was a profound experience and in a strange way it was even a relief. Also, it was a journey with many beautiful and funny moments.
One thing I will never forget is the moment a group of young men came to my mom and me, to ask us what our real background was. They knew we came with a travel agency from the Netherlands, but to their opinion, we didn’t look and act like Dutch people and “normal” tourists – there was more behind our visit. When I explained, we came at my request to find out who we are and the reason we are here, one of them started to dance and yelled to the others, “I told you so, I told you so…. I could see it from the structure of her face. She has Mandinga blood in her.”
At that moment I thought, he’s watching my skin, my face? How could he see that, which structure? The story went in many directions and before we knew it, everybody was informed about us and why we were there. We became accepted as one of their own. Everyone wanted to help us, and one of them, a student who they called “The Captain,” was guiding us around and protecting us from the swarm of people who were interested and curious to know more about us. Which, at some point, became very overwhelming.
It was not directly after this experience, but years later, when I remembered one of my grandmother’s stories – how she once was among Hindu people in Suriname. They asked her if she was a Hindu woman and her response was, “Well, if you believe that I’m a Hindu woman, then I suppose I’m one.” From that day they treated and respected her as one of their own. It was the memory of this story and thinking back to what happened on the West African trip, and other life experiences that helped me find my long-searched-for answers, and the understanding of the message my grandmother wanted to share.
I suddenly realized, it was not important for me to belong to a certain group of people, but to open my heart and arms to those who accept me for who I am as a person, and those who embrace me as one of their own. It also became one of the reasons why I gathered Cultures and diverse backgrounds together to create Unity and Respect for Love and Peace into my GSWF (Growing Seeds Worldwide Foundation) concept. It is my hope that other people will also understand the message of my grandmother.
No matter what Culture, background or skin color you have, or what kind of situation you’re in – you have to open your heart and open your arms to those who embrace you and accept you for who you are. And, you must also be able to give the Love that is shared this way with you. Because, in the end, we are all one… One Race ~ the human one. And, we are all Indigenous to this earth.
There’s “Nothing but Love,” or as we say in my grandmother’s Surinamese language, “Soso Lobi.”
Monique Wijngaarde – Bekema
To get involved, please contact us through our information page at: http://growingseedsworldwide.com
Or email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
12 thoughts on ““Soso Lobi” Nothing But Love”
There are a lot that I have learnt from your background and I really want to than you for sharing such an amazing backgrounds with us and I look forward to learn a lot from you to become one of you.. thank you
Thank you Jerry Walden for your nice response. I hope and pray that I can set up a GSWF project in your country Ghana also in the future too. Besides Gambia, Ghana is also a part of my African-Surinamese roots and ancestors. When time comes we will meet in person.
With sincere regards
“Moya” – Monique
Thanks very much Monique wijngaarde- bekema.
I really appreciate your time, effort , money and love given to write down such Clear background.
It has motived and made me to think what human being are equally, important and we need each other from East to west and Nother to south.we are equally and whole world belong to us and without discrimination as world is round the global .
I maked your massage.
Could I asked you.
Is ward you re thst, you used short form for it? On your massage writing on April ,1/2019/ time 10:28 pm.
Check if it’s good spelling.
But I loved the whole background.
Hello John … Thank you for your kind response. Glad you liked it and especially that you understand the message in it. We are all one … one race … and all human … no matter what our background is, where we live or come from … and yes the most important thing is that we all need to understand that we need each other and that we must connect and share this message.
My dear Graciella what a small world indeed. So wonderful that your search about your family (a part of mine also) and my blog brought us together.. What a blessing. I have heard about your grandmother Wiesje. Even my mom (Thelma) mentioned her name now and than when we speak about my grandmother and our family history. You’re correct thst she past away in November 1982 exactly two months after I visit her in Suriname. I love to read that you are named after her. A life went and a new one started in her name and legacy. I would love to come in contact with you..so please can you send me an email to email@example.com with your name in it.
Soso Lobi from Monique – “Moya”💕💖🕊✌🙏
What a small world! In my search about my family history I found your beautiful blog. My name is Graciella Petronella Abendanon. My late great grand mother Louise Hendriette (Wiesje) Abendanon (MacDonald) was the sister of your grandmother. If I’m not mistaken your grandmother passed in november 1982 and in the same month I was born and given the name Petronella. So so lobi!
Soso Lobi will be added to other quotes on my wall that help me along the way… Your story resonates so much, in so many different aspects / hues / sounds / words / experiences… I also believe in the oneness of mankind, and when I was reading you I was reminded of two beautiful movies: Daughters of the Dust by Julie Dash, and Little Senegal by Rachid Bouchareb. If you don’t know them yet, I think you might like their stories. The latter starts at the slave house of Gorée Island, off the coast of Senegal. Maybe that’s where you were, since your description made me see Gorée in my mind’s eye… Thank you so much for your testimony, and, as Jane would say, ONWARD with your beautiful project!
Thank you so much Nathalie. You’re overwhelming me with your wonderful comment. I feel blessed to see our Surinamese words “Soso Lobi” back in your qoutes on your wall and I can feel and see the smile on my grandmothers face. Just like Sacajawea her message begins to spread around the world. Knowing this brings tears in my eyes.
Yes I was in Gambia and Senegal. Have seen a lot of movies based on historical facts. Also those that are romanticized and the names of these two you mention I recognized but I’m not sure if I have seen them. Will look for it for sure and let you know.
Thanks again for sharing your thoughts with me after reading my blog. It means a lot to me.
Many blessings and Soso Lobi always💞💖 “Moya”-Monique
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Your story is inspiring and it has brought tears in my eyes your such a beautiful soul to the world and everyone get a chance to read it❤❤God bless you for me
Thank you so much my dear Namakula Rosette. You’re a huge inspiration too and I feel honored and blessed you came in to my life and to call you my daughter.
Keep up all the good work and motivation. Soso lobi always Monique – “Moya” ❤🕊✌🙏
love your story Im Apache/ Spanish two cultures I come from medicine men & women cultures of healings. Im also a Medicine woman Sister Wolf
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Thank you Priscilla for your lovely comment. As an Indigenous woman my grandmother also knew a lot about the healing of flowers and herbs. And I still remember that she was always surrounded by them because they had a lot of meaning in her life. Not only because of the healing, but also each of them had a story.
Many blessings and Soso Lobi always 💞💖 “Moya”-Monique