By Michel Outridge
THIS week the Pepperpot Magazine visited the countryside village of #64 Babylon, Corentyne, Berbice, Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne).
This village is located between #65 New Market and #63 Benab and it is home to about 600 residents, mostly of Indo-Guyanese descent and a handful of Afro-Guyanese, some of whom are locals, while others moved to the village, many years ago.
The village is somewhat self-sufficient and it is an agriculture-based community of cash-crop farmers, rice farmers, livestock farmers, qualified professionals, some self-employed persons and some small-business owners.
The village is full of plants, trees, and plenty of fruits and vegetables and it is a breezy place where the people are very hospitable.
Babylon #64 Village is home to government pathologist Dr. Vivekanand Brijmohan, Accountant Consultant Neville Budhan, retired enforcement officer of the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) Hanoman Nanram better known as ‘Uncle Joe’, a former school teacher turned canteen operator/caterer, Loosia Valentina Moti called ‘Aunty Val’ and a few others, who are great assets to the community.
It is home to a castle which belongs to the Budhram family, home-grown rice millers.
The village has a nursery, a primary school and the Tagore Memorial Secondary School is a short distance away.
They have a health centre, a playfield, a post office located in nearby Benab #63 Village, a church, a lovely park with slides, benches, swings, tables for playing dominoes and a well-stocked library.
The village is divided into three sections and it is relatively large and has a canal that runs through the community which has seven streets.
The next village is #63 Benab where the #63 Beach is and it is home to watermelon farms and is a place that is frequented by both locals and visitors.
The community has a few shops and at almost every shop they have fruits and vegetables freshly harvested from the kitchen garden for sale.
There is an abundance of locally grown, organic vegetables and fruits grown in this village and it is a place where everything comes to your door, including freshly caught fish.
The village has good roads, electricity, potable water supply, landline and cellphone services and it is a place where people still listen to the radio.
The people of this close-knit community are hardworking, everyday folk, who toil daily to put food on their tables.
It is a beautiful community where some villagers have their houses well painted and surrounded by a lot of plants and trees to beautify the environment.
The community is like an oasis, a place where you can stop for some relaxation and much-needed peace and quiet and you can hear the birds chirp and see a few butterflies around.
According to residents, the village got its name because back in the days, the locals used to have a lot of buffaloes in the village and another recalled that the place was named Babylon, because of the number of babies born there in the early years.
The prettiest place
The team met a resident, Mukesh Ramdour, who made #64 Babylon his home 22 years ago when he got married and relocated.
He resides with his mother-in-law, his wife and three children and they have a small shop.
The 56-year-old told the Pepperpot Magazine that he is originally from Line Path, Skeldon and after marriage, he went to live with his wife’s parents.
He used to work at Skeldon Sugar Estate but had to quit when he was attacked by Africanised bees and later developed some ailments, due to being stung by the bees in 2013.
It was after 16 years he had to quit the sugar industry as a cane-cutter and started to cultivate his yard into a garden from which he sells his greens and vegetables to supplement the home.
Ramdour explained that when his father-in-law collapsed and died as a cane-cutter in the backlands. In 2011 he had to step up and oversee things at home to assist his mother-in-law, who made-do with the survivor’s benefit monthly allowance.
“Life is by far better here than in Skeldon, because there you have to buy everything and here in #64 you can plant and eat from that, plus sell and do other things around the yard to earn,” he said.
Ramdour related that he uses his time to plant and do things around the house and yard and you can tell from the way things look he is doing a good job.
“My dad used to plant a lot of flowers and trees to make the place look nice and I did the same here to beautify the surrounding and make it welcoming for people,” he said.
Their house is brightly painted in deep pink, blue, green and it looks good and outside the yard they have a lot of shady trees under which are wooden benches and tables for customers and others.
“A lot of people would pass and stop and ask us if they can take photos here because the place is nice and we allow that kind of thing which is of no bother to us at all,” he said.
Ramdour stated that people of #64 Babylon are very good and they would share whatever they have.
He said it is a place where you don’t buy greens, because you get from your neighbour and they live nice.
The villager disclosed that the people of the village are very hardworking and they have a lot of labourers, who work on rice farms and some fishermen.
Ramdour’s mother-in-law, Sumintra Ramjit had already prepared fish curry and rice and his wife, Padmini Ramjit was finishing off some household chores when the team visited.
These are the friendliest people you will encounter and talking to them is quite delightful.