Friday, July 31, 2009

In Guyana, discovering Cacao and Hmongs

A post on the blog of a Russian collector: a French cancellation useful for maximum cards and cachet covers linked to the recent chocolate stamps for the four hundreds years of the arrival of cacao in France. But too, the discovery of some tragic pages of the French colonial history, the United States military history and the South East Asian history.

Agrandir le plan

Starting from Cayenne (North of the frame), follow national road N2 to the South.
Turn to the right at Camp Léonce (Google Maps).

Around forty-fifty kilometers to the South of Cayenne, in French Guyana, the commune of Roura extent itself on 3685 square kilometers including the hamlet of Cacao, at the beginning of the Amazonian Forest. First an "inhabitation" named Sainte-Marie-des-Cacaos (Holy Mary of the Cacaos), then a penal colony (1854-1859), the place has been hosting Lao hmong etnic refugees since 1977.

These moutainers are still victims of three decades of continue persecutions [and ignored by Westerners and their media] since the nineteen seventies, because part of them were preferably recruited as soldiers by France during the Indochina War and by the United States during the Việt Nam War.

Since their welcoming in Guyana, the pioneer hamlet has become one of the suppliers of Cayenne city for fresh vegetables, in a oversea département heavily dependent on importations from Metropolitan France. With courage, work and elbow grease, entreprises can discretly [very discreet in French media] succeed in the economicly fragile French Overseas.

A radio report from the Network France Oversea (RFO), in February 2009, with links to Cacao's institutions ca, be listened here (in French).

Agrandir le plan

With the satellite view and zoom, you can see the agricultural valley of Cacao (Google Maps).

Since 2002, "BPX" was added to the datestamp of Cacao's post office
(from ascan sent by Pierre Millien).

The hamlet has got a post office with a datestamp stating: "973 - CACAO - BPX" for the French Guyana département number - name of the place and the mystery. Thank to Pierre, I can tell that BPX means "bureau postal de proximité" (proximity post office). Let's find now where is the BPX in La Poste's hierarchy of post offices?

Because the place is near of Cayenne and accessible by road, the postman's round must be less adventurous than the one, more upstram inside the forest, reported by Gauthier Toulemonde in the DVD Des courriers très spéciaux.

No comments: