Sloth Rehab Newsletter

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Newsletter 1, August 2014



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Green Heritage Fund Suriname (GHFS) is building a rehabilitation centre, where Xenarthra (sloths, anteaters and armadillos) can recover from their encounters with human beings (deforestation, traffic, orphaned, pets), if long term care is needed.

In addition, the centre will offer education about these animals and the protection of their habitat to tourists and schoolchildren, as well as offer facilities for (international) researchers.

Here, we’ll inform you on the dealings of such enterprise..


Donation requests

Building a Rehabilitation Centre costs a lot of money, even if we reuse donated material. Therefore, more donation requests have been sent to (inter) national organisations/ companies in Suriname for contributions in kind and several fundraising projects are in the pipeline. We will inform you on the progress in each sloth rehabilitation centre newsletter!



Our vision is to create a society of people who consciously work towards the continued improvement of their environment and the promotion of a green, clean and healthy Suriname.




The GHFS seeks to generate the maximum resources possible to finance activities that will ensure that all Surinamers are equipped to take informed, wise and balanced decisions about the sustainable development of Suriname’s natural resources and biodiversity..


Colakreek METS

GHFS visited the tourist resort Colakreek on several occasions. Colakreek is run by METS, who donated a part of their parking lot and forest to GHFS, so that their tourists/guests get a chance to see sloths and anteaters. Their guests have often asked METS’ management for such an opportunity. During these visits, Colakreek manager Sjaak Leeflang has shown great willingness to cooperate with our project as he has a background in construction work.





Currently, GHFS is finalizing the details of the legal contract. The contract will after approval by all parties involved be signed. After the contract is officially signed, and after the building permit is obtained, actual construction activities can begin.


Construction details

Contributions to the building project are given by a network of specialists around the world. Apart from the main designer Gaatze Postma (NL), we have architects Satya Singh (SU) and Mirjam Burkhard (NL), contractor Susan Church (USA), and engineers Kit Curtis (USA) and Nardy Wong (SU).


Then, there is the factor of ‘donated labour’ of our architects, i.e. work done in their spare time. This means that the technical design takes much longer than if we would pay for the job. While that is indeed unfortunate, it can also be seen as a blessing in disguise, as we still need to find financiers for the total execution of our plan. This extra time we have gives us the opportunity to ask local companies for donations in kind, such as wood, cement, furniture, etc.




Supporting Green Heritage Fund Suriname

You can support Green Heritage Fund Suriname in different manners.

You can make a donation by transferring your gift to one of ouraccounts in Suriname or in the Netherlands with our sister foundation. You can also donate through our paypal account here:



Buying Products to help us Fundraise

We also have nice products that we sell, such as t-shirts of the dolphin programme, mugs, t-shirts of the xenarthra programme, mugs, books, including: Charlize goes to the forest, and Pool House Sloths written by Sharanya Sarathy.

Sloths and more Zazzle Store

We continuously add beautiful and funny products to our zazzle store that you can purchase online and which you can customize to make it a personal gift.



Text/tekst: Wynne Minkes
Editor/redactie: Michal Leach,
Monique Pool

Chad Abdoellah

Green Heritage Fund Suriname 2014
Please acknowledge source in case of use (fair use).

Overname is toegestaan met





The building of the Xenarthra Rehabilitation Centre, Colakreek


Containers turned into the Xenarthra Rehabilitation Centre Colakreek
(design Gaatze Postma)



In October last year, METS Tours and Travels and Green Heritage Fund Suriname signed a letter of intent that framed the proposed cooperation at Colakreek. A donation of shipping containers from Wartsila for work and living space followed soon after, but that did not mean that the centre was built overnight. In fact, building with shipping containers requires thinking ‘outside the box’, even for trained construction workers. Therefore, it has been necessary to form a group of specialists as well as create action plans under the logistic guidance of Wynne Minkes. She is also in charge of the fundraising and education program for this project.


The five shipping containers need some architectural help to look like a real building. The initial design work was donated by Anil Ramnewash, but after three months he had to admit that he did not have the time to complete this job, however much he regretted it. Therefore, the design is currently being adjusted by Gaatze Postma, donated by Architectenbureau Sipma in Heerenveen (photo1). Local architect Satya Singh gives feedback on the design and joins Wynne in meetings to help with the technical issues.

Geo Survey measuring our plot on METS’s resort: a 15 m x 100 m strip

of parking lot for the containers and a good chunk of the forest behind it.

Land surveyor

For this contract, GHFS hired a land survey team by Geo Survey, to measure our plot (0.82 ha), which lies partly on the parking lot and partly in a strip of forest of Colakreek (May 21) (photo2).

Geotechnical report

For the foundation of our centre, it is crucial to know the bearing capacity of Colakreek’s savannah soil. Donation by Hugo Coleridge from Consulting Services N.V. (May 30) (photo3).

Clean up of the construction area at Colakreek (May 30)

The Centre will consist of four 40ft shipping containers on the parking lot next to the fringe of forest. Two containers at the bottom will be our office, animal care + kitchen and two storage rooms. The two containers on top will be the living area of the manager, researchers and volunteers (three bedrooms and a kitchen). Another 20ft container, which will house the animal intensive care and visitors terrace, will be placed next to these containers and into the forest. For the latter, an area of 10 x 10m had to be cleared of a few small trees, shrub and grass, together with the remains of former Boy Scout huts. Under the leadership of Wynne a group of volunteers, including Jane, Sara, intern Gracella, and Orlando performed the work.

Volunteers clearing the construction site at Colakreek and

the Geotechnical team measuring the soil’s bearing capacity.


The building blocks of the Xenarthra Centre are the four 40ft and one 20ft shipping containers donated by Wartsila. They had been used for the construction of two giant new generators at SPCS. At present, the containers are still at the SPCS premises, where a team of volunteers has started grinding off the rust, and apply primer. About 1/3 of a container can be ground per half day shift of volunteers. Our Rusty Team so far consists of Errol, Kim, Kate, Brad, Jane, Sara, Roger, and Wynne (photo 4). However rainy season (June-August) makes this job difficult, and so work progress has been slow.


Heavy transportation vehicles are needed to translocate the concrete foundation blocks and five containers from the SPCS and Staatsolie premises to Colakreek, some 50 km inland. With help from some institutional friends we hope to take care of the transportation.

Building Permit

The architect’s design with the engineer’s calculations will have to be send to the Ministerie van Openbare Werken to obtain the building permit. This itself might take 6 to 8 weeks.


The foundation may be the trickiest part of our construction project: how to create long term bearing capacity on loose savannah sand in a climate with torrential rains, while considering a small budget. Our preference is to recycle the concrete piles (such as the cut off heads of vertical foundation piers) donated by Staatsolie. Our team of contractors, architects and general construction specialists from all over the world, have contributed their advice.

First day of grinding, with volunteers Errol and Kim.

To make the transition from the architect’s design to a workable plan for the contractor and work crew, we need an engineer to do the calculations. Especially on the foundation, the stacking of the containers together with the required steel reinforcement, as well as the roof construction. Nardy Wong from Firm Engineering has offered to do the initial calculation for us for free and has started this job (July 9th).

Energy supply

Engineer Sara Fusté has donated a preliminary report on our energy needs and possible yields by solar panel.

Doors, windows, furniture

Donation in kind from SOS Handelsmij NV was suggested by Natascha Veninga. This week we have been granted with a donation of doors, windows, and washbasins for our containers (July 3). Such items are being shipped with the main cargo of office furniture from the Netherlands to Suriname. In addition, SOS Handelsmij has granted us a 50% discount on all our purchases of office furniture from this shop.








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