Aunty Val, the most hospitable resident of #64 Babylon Village
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Loosia Valantina Moti called ‘Aunty Val’ (Carl Croker photos)
Loosia Valantina Moti called ‘Aunty Val’ (Carl Croker photos)

By Michel Outridge

FOR Loosia Valantina Moti called ‘Aunty Val’ being hospitable and down to earth is part of who she is and being nice to people, even strangers, is not out of character for her.

She is by far one of the nicest persons you will encounter and after that meeting, she will leave a lasting impression.

She is a resident of #64 Village, Babylon, Corentyne, Berbice and a mother of two, who was a teacher at Tagore Memorial Secondary School, who turned caterer for the school canteen.

She had been a teacher at Tagore Memorial Secondary School for seven years and quit after she was overcome with the love of cooking and has been the school canteen operator for the past 13 years.

“Teaching was so routine but I liked it, but after a time it became evident I wanted to do something else and jumped at the opportunity to become the caterer, since I enjoyed cooking and it was dream come true for me, to cook delicious and wholesome foods for the schoolchildren,” she said.

When she was a teacher, they had a supermarket at their home and her husband wanted her to stop teaching and assist him in managing the supermarket.

Moti is also known as the “Mommy of Tagore”; the schoolchildren are very fond of her and would ask her to make their favourite dishes.

With school closed, Moti was at the canteen for two months for the fourth and fifth formers, so she was quite occupied making pastries, foods and other snacks for the students.

She is also a caterer and would make finger foods and other dishes for parties, social events and other functions.

She enjoys cooking and does all the catering alone, but at times her sons would assist in the kitchen.

Moti is always trying new dishes and will never stop upgrading her culinary skills.

Considering she spent more than half of her life at the school, she is well-known for her no-nonsense approach to life and is a disciplinarian.

The late Mr Moti, her father, was a director on the board of Tagore Memorial Secondary School, a councillor/Chairman for the NDC and she became involved in community work for the school at a young age.

She was instrumental in landscaping of the school compound among other developmental works for the school.

Sadly, her father passed away last Christmas, so this time of the year is very emotional for her family, especially her mother, who was a parliamentarian and is a councillor.

Her dad died in her mother’s arms. He was beaten some years ago at the Roundabout at #63 and he had developed brain injuries which they never knew about until it was too late; he had developed dementia and suffered memory loss and died of cardiac arrest.

Moti’s dad was a farmer who had acres of watermelons at #63 Beach, a place where Moti and her family spend a lot of time with their neighbour, Uncle Joe.

She recalled back then that the two families were close and they would harvest watermelons and save the biggest one for them to eat with their bare hands.

“We were very poor but we didn’t stay poor, we upgraded after we empowered ourselves and we used our talent to earn and make a living. I remember my dad had one shirt and he used to wash it and wear it all the time, but when he died we had so much [sic] shirts to give away so you cannot stay one way in life; hard work pays,” she said.

The village
Moti told the Pepperpot Magazine that #64 Village Babylon is a very quiet and good place where it is very safe to live and nobody takes anything.

She disclosed that they have every little thing in the village and the people are doing something to earn and they have a lot of skilled folk, who do not waste time to complain, but work.

Annually, Moti and some friends would get together to pool their resources at Christmas to host a party for children at Uncle Joe’s park, which is next door to her house; but this year they will home-deliver goodies and toys to the homes of 300 children, because they cannot have any gatherings or barbeque.

Moti has an adventurous side to her and would enjoy the outdoors very much, especially fishing, hunting and nature tours with friends whenever the need arises to unwind and relax.

“I am happy and I am living my life to the fullest, so I am not missing out on anything and I have two boys, one of whom works at the bank and the other is school-aged, so I have a lot going for me,” she said.

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