Henry Soemopawiro

Psalms 18:30 As for God, his way is perfect: The Lord’s word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him

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The early dead of my father

My name is Henry Soemopawiro. I was born and raised in Paramaribo in Maikoe. At a young age (I was 5 years old) my father passed away, and my mother had the total care of the 8 children on her own. I had a very difficult childhood, didn’t have proper guidance and did not finish the 1st grade of a technical school. When I think about the past, it surprises me that I made certain choices.

My mother had to work hard

Very often I think: “If I could turn back time, I would certainly have done it differently”. That is why I often remind my children to give school the highest priority, to be obedient and above all grateful. After all, they still have a father who can advise them and support them financially. My mother (now deceased) had a very hard time.

As a single mother, she worked in two places and came home every day at 9 o’clock in the evening. In addition to her job at the Ministry of LVV, she worked in the afternoon in a Chinese restaurant on the Gemenelandsweg. ‘Hoover Chin’ had the best Tjauwmin ever! It is therefore very understandable that my mother was unable to raise the 8 children at her best. This is because she was committed to paying her mortgage and also putting food on the table.

The ideal environment was missing

How my addiction started

At the age of 17 it started with a cigarette, and alternately I pulled on a roll of marijuana. At the age of 20 I smoked 2 packs of cigarettes a day. Many people sometimes wonder why people smoke marijuana. Well, the first puff of marijuana was an experience for me.

It felt (compared to cigarette) different and relieved. In short, it was a wonderful feeling! When I used marijuana very often (almost daily), I started hearing voices. People started calling me, on the street, in the house and even from pots I heard voices. It sounds crazy, yes, but this really happened to me.

From bad to worse

Through wrong friends, I ended up in a circle of addicts and used cocaine and heroin in addition to marijuana. As if that wasn’t enough, I also gambled (visited the casino and played ‘panta’) and started drinking a lot of whiskey in addition to all this. I had, so to speak: the full package that I will come back to at the end.

I really can’t imagine a weekend that I wasn’t drunk. So every weekend it was spot on, because on Friday I received my money and immediately spent it on drugs, whiskey and gambling. I ended up getting into a vicious circle of working, receiving money, and wasting it right away.

When I met Sandra

I had been addicted for a while when my mother met a man who lived all the way in De Hulp (Commewijne). I was almost 23 years old and went to my mother in Commewijne from time to time. Once I was on the bus when a very sweet girl asked me if she could sit next to me on the bus.

So we got to talking and I got to know her. That same afternoon, I visited her to find out where she lived. My mother was very happy when she heard about this, because she knew about my addiction, and she hoped that Sandra could put a stop to my situation.

God had a plan for me

Sandra was indeed the one God put on my path to help me out of that situation. I did my practices, of course, but was very smart and did everything secretly. Sandra didn’t know I was addicted at all, but afterwards she told me that in addition to my mother, my sisters had also warned her about me.

Everything comes to light

It didn’t take long for her to learn about my addiction. She found traces of the stuff in the house and every time she asked me about it, I denied every accusation. I kept doing this until one day she caught me with a friend under a tree.

She was then 3 months pregnant. It was (now that I think about it) a very difficult period for her, because I always chose my friends over her. Furthermore, my addiction did not make my life any easier.

Sandra didn’t know I was addicted at all, but afterwards she told me that in addition to my mother, my sisters had also warned her about me.

God sent Sandra in my path

Under pressure from parents

She was 7 months pregnant when we got married (under pressure from parents). In the meantime, she knew how deep I had fallen, and then understood why I barely contributed to day-to-day care. The crisis that was going on in the country at the time (the 1990s) put extra pressure on the situation.

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