A farmer’s way of life in Laluni

Jairam Balgobin displaying cherries picked from his farm

JAIRAM Balgobin is a resident of Laluni and,  like most of the residents,  leads the simple but challenging life of a farmer.

However, he has a ready-made market for his cherries which go to Demerara Distillers Limited’s (DDL) Topco Juice Plant at Diamond, East Bank Demerara, to be processed to make fresh local juice.

Jairam Balgobin and his family (Samuel Maughn photos)

He, like others in the community, are the main suppliers of cherries and during the wet season, the fruit is bountiful. It is hand-picked and placed in many five-gallon plastic buckets and transported from the village to DDL.

Balgobin told the Pepperpot Magazine that he has been living in Laluni for the past 25 years and his life is busy, because he undertakes many jobs to provide for his family of five children and a wife.

He has a lot to do in terms of maintaining his farm of cherries, guava, squash, cucumbers, pumpkins, peppers and coconuts.

Apart from being a farmer, Balgobin is a part-time truck driver who transports lumber and is a handyman as well.

Balgobin added that as a young child, he used to go to school in Laluni. He got married and has a family and is pleased that he is living in that community where it is peaceful and very quiet.

The “yard bully”, the pet turkey

“Me like life here, my family is with me and that is what life is all about – making your children happy and comfortable. We work and live peacefully and that’s the way to a good life. My daughter does teach at the school in this village and the younger ones are all going to school,” he said.

He related that farming is not all about the money, because it is back-breaking work with sometimes little reward, since nothing is certain when it comes to crops and the weather.

The makeshift pipeline system in Laluni

“De lil cash I get when I sell my produce isn’t much at times depending on the price at the market, but you got to continue whether you make a profit or not. I does plant in the savannahs as well, so I have to tend to crops in my yard, plus go there too and it is a lot of hard labour,” Balgobin said.

He told the Pepperpot Magazine that they incur quite a lot of losses too, because they have to purchase cow dung which they use as fertiliser for their crops.

Balgobin stated that since the road was constructed it is good, because people were coming into the village and it is development for them; but now that the road is in a bad condition, getting in and out of the village is a task in itself.

All in all, the farmer said that they are working with what they have, since fighting and fretting get you nowhere.

Packing cherries to be taken to DDL

He was, however, thankful for the assistance from the government, the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs and Food For The Poor.

Balgobin explained that with their inputs they have had development in Laluni and a lot was done to enhance the lives of villagers, who will soon benefit from potable water supply from their own well.

This farmer is a fun-loving guy, who,  apart from providing for his family, has some pets including parrots, a turtle, a dog and turkeys, one of which Balgobin says acts as the “yard bully,” even to the children.

“This turkey is a boss, he feels he must be out front and patrol the yard and he does beat up the dog and the children when they get in his way,” Balgobin said.
But overall the farmer attests that he is content and that life in Laluni is a good one.