By Michel Outridge
Fish-vending is an occupation that entails a lot of physical work, that is, walking and at the same time pushing a cart from village to village, but at the end of the day, it is a job.
This job is that of Latta Ramotar, who learned from the best. Her deceased father was a fisherman and sold his catch; as such, she made it into a livelihood and, being a fish vendor, she is well-known.
The 50-year-old told the Pepperpot Magazine that she walks and sells fish in the villages of Craig and Good Hope daily; by doing so, she has made a lot of friends.
Ramotar was plying her trade when the Pepperpot Magazine visited Craig Village and met her as she went to meet some friends under the shed at Old Road, Craig, for their usual chit-chat. Subsequent to that, she continued selling the fish she had bought from the wharf at Meadow Bank, a task which requires that she rises at 01:00hrs and a taxi would take her to the wharf.
“Depending on the price for fish, I re-sell, because sometimes it is pricey and I would only buy what would sell, so I don’t carry a loss,” she said.
The mother of seven and grandmother of 11 related that she would sell mostly trout, banga mary, catfish and shrimp, depending on the fishermen’s catch.
“My dad was a fisherman who used to sell around the village and then the regular fish vendor, a woman name Zorena died by accident and after her death, I started to sell fish and I got my own pushcart,” she explained.
She added that even though fish-vending entails a lot of walking and coupled with the hot sun it takes a toll on her energy levels; she still does it because it is a job she likes and she meets a lot of people every day.
After vending she would return where she still has to do household chores and cook and care for a son, who is physically disabled.
The Pepperpot Magazine also met Winifred Weekes and her husband, Elvis Sampson, who operates a roadside stand at Sideline Dam, Craig.
Weeks said that the small business has been that of her husband’s for a year now; they cleared the area of garbage and transformed the place into a clean space.
She added that they used to sell greens at Bourda Market but had to stop because of her arthritic pains and decided to start their own small business in the village, a few houses from their home.
Elvis Sampson disclosed that he hired an excavator to dig a hole in which all the garbage–which was piled high–was buried about 15 feet below. He said he then planted some flowers and put up some tyres and other decorations after cleaning the area.
He then erected the wooden stand where they sell footwear, clothes, fruits, and vegetables and ground provisions among other things and at reasonable prices.
“With this business, I does credit some people and a few went away and never paid, only the other day I had to go and look for one of them and was paid; and that is one of the problems with this little business,” Sampson said.
The couple has four children, who have borne them several grandchildren; one of them was sleeping in a hammock at the stand and is being cared for by Weekes, whose mobility is limited because of the severe pains in her legs.
Weekes told the Pepperpot Magazine that after selling at Bourda Market for 19 years, the adjustment to the small business is something she is getting used to.
She stated that her husband would go to the city to buy greens and other things for the stand as early as 03:30hrs and she would assist at the stand to sell until he gets back.
The couple said they will maintain and beautify the area, in which they sell since it is an income garnered from the business and they are close to home.