The fish vendors of Zeelugt Village
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A villager as she made a purchase from Sookdeo Mahadeo
A villager as she made a purchase from Sookdeo Mahadeo

By Michel Outridge

Fishmonger, Ramesh Sookhai

EVEN though it was a rainy day, Ramesh Sookhai did not mind; he was standing there awaiting the arrival of any fishing boat so he can earn.

He is one of many men who would buy fish from the fishermen when they return from their same-day fishing trips.

At Zeelugt, East Bank Essequibo, Creek Bridge is where the fishing boats are moored before going on fishing expeditions and when they return from that trip it is usually a flurry of activities.

The fishmonger, after making his purchase of the day’s catch, would get on his motorcycle which has a carrier attached at the back to store fish and would sell throughout several villages, including Zeelugt.

Sookhai told the Pepperpot Magazine that selling fish is his main source of income and he depends on it to support his family of three.

The 46-year-old was hopeful that day that a fishing boat would return and he would be able to be on his way to earn.

Sookhai added that he would only buy the bigger fish and do not make any purchase of shrimp or banga.

“People prefer to buy the large fishes, even if you have to cut it up and sell; they would buy that because it’s what they want,” he said.

He related that due to the pandemic and the holidays, most fishermen did not venture out to sea; as such, there is a scarcity of fish and people have been asking him to get some for their consumption.

Ramesh Sookhai posing near his motorcycle at Creek Bridge, Zeelugt

The father of two stated that the tide is also low, so the fishermen are awaiting the spring tide to get back into the Atlantic Ocean to fish, which is the ideal time to make good catches.

He explained that a few boats would make day trips and he depends on those boats to bring back good catches, so he can buy and go about selling.

Sookhai is from Meten-Meer-Zorg Village, a few villages away, but would frequent Zeelugt where he has to wait to earn a living daily.

At the Creek Bridge, at Zeelugt, there is a lot of fisherfolk who were mending their seines, while others were doing repair works on their boats.

The Pepperpot Magazine also met another fishmonger, Sookdeo Mahadeo, who rides and sells on his bicycle daily.

He would also buy fish to sell in the community and he resides at the Sideline Dam, Zeelugt, with his wife and child.

The 32-year-old said he would also make fruit punch and snow cones and sell in the village, as well as a side ‘hustle’ to make ends meet.

Mahadeo pointed out that he would go from Meten-Meer-Zorg to Tuschen on his bicycle selling fish daily, usually in the morning hours, after which he would take a rest then prepare to go on another bicycle selling snow cones and strawberry- flavoured fruit punch.

Creek Bridge, Zeelugt

“I had to find things to do to make a living because I had an accident which has left my leg unstable, and I have to get surgery so I use the bicycles I custom-made to ride around and sell,” he said.

Mahadeo disclosed that he would buy fresh fruits at the Tuschen Market, wash them, cut them up and blend it and add strawberry flavour and condensed milk and bag it off as a fruit punch to sell.

Ice is added to the mixture and once the required taste has been achieved, he would ensure it is ready to be sold in the community.

He related that it is a recipe he learned while he was living in Venezuela, and when he was forced to return to Guyana, his place of birth, he used it to make a living because he could not find a job.

“I custom-made my two bicycles; after purchase, I added carriers to accommodate a fish basket and a snocone cooler, because that needs to be cold for the fruit punch and to store ice too,” he said.

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