A Journey from France to the River Maroni: An interview/ photo essay with William Barylo

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TE: Who did you stay with during your time in French Guiana?

WB: I had the fortune to stay with Rene. Rene is one of the Bushinengue people, specifically the Paramaka tribe, he’s a father of six and works as part of the team managing the green areas in the city and the coast – a civil servant, basically.

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TE: Did you make contact with him before you went out there?

WB: Before, through my friends. One of my friends has an uncle who’s a doctor in French Guiana and he’s one of the very few white doctors to allow black people to consult him.

TE: Really? So, is racism endemic out there?

WB: It’s more than endemic. The racism in French Guiana is barely imaginable to us people living in Europe where it’s more subtle or implicit. In French Guiana, I felt I was back in the colonial era. People do not fear saying they hate black people, it is a very explicit kind of racism, but I will talk about this a little bit later.

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