Taking it ‘one day at a time’ The farmers of Sandvoort are resilient
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Sophia Victor stripping coconut branches to make  pointer brooms (Carl Croker)
Sophia Victor stripping coconut branches to make pointer brooms (Carl Croker)

FOR Sophia Victor, Sandvoort Village is the place for her; it is home and she has spent years to establish herself as a cash-crop and poultry farmer and still has time to do household chores.

The 55-year-old is a very independent woman, a mother of five, who is self-employed by planting cash crops and has 100 meat birds.

This is the kind of woman who doesn’t sit by idly, and when the Pepperpot Magazine visited her home, she was stripping some coconut branches to make pointer brooms for herself and family members.

It is not a simple task for most people, but Victor made it look as though it was; she was surrounded by branches and with a kitchen knife she was stripping it to make pointer brooms.

“Of my five children, two are on their own, three are living at home here with me and I do my own farming and my husband has his own plot of land and does his own farming as well,” she said.

Sophia Victor stripping coconut branches to make pointer brooms (Carl Croker)

Victor reported that when they had a flood she lost her crops of boulanger, bora, ochro, and peppers among others and will re-start her farming when the water recedes.

As is, she is raising funds to buy plants for her farm and is taking things ‘one day at a time’ and every week she would purchase a set of baby chicks to rear and sell.

She has already prepared the land and is awaiting good weather to put down some plants on the farm which is right in the village.

Victor is one of the locals who lived all her life in the community and is pleased that she doesn’t have to leave the village to look for work.

The Sandvoort resident stated that her husband has a crop of strictly ground provisions and he was away in New Amsterdam doing some errands.

As regards the task at hand, Victor said she will make eight pointer brooms, two for herself and she will share out the rest to family members.

“I feel empowered I am working, handling my own money, and that is the way to go, make your own money,” she said.

The sheep and cash-crop farmer
Meanwhile, Robert Edward, a sheep and cash-crop farmer, told the Pepperpot Magazine that of 55 sheep he has only 10 left, due to the flood.

Robert Edward displaying what is left of his crops

The 53-year-old stated that his flock was wiped out and he is left scratching his head as to his next move, because his crops too have perished and he has bought some plants to re-plant.

Entire crop of corn, tomatoes, bora, corilla, papaya, crimson watermelons, pumpkin, celery, lettuce, sweet potatoes and cassava was destroyed.

“The suckers, that is, plantains, bananas are punishing to grow,” he said.

The father of four added that the flood really messed up things,since his livelihood depends on farming and it is quite a setback for him; he is watching the weather, since he has some two-year coconut plants to put down.

Robert Edward

“Two hundred eddoe plants gone, so what should I do now having suffered such a blow and the soil composition is very unfit for farming right now, top clammy and the bottom is still watery,” he said.

Edward explained that if the weather is good, he would have to mix the paddy shells with sawdust to re-plant, but he is awaiting sunshine and the water to recede off the land.

The village elder
Meanwhile, James Sinclair, a devoted Christian, told the Pepperpot Magazine that he had peeled 200 dry coconuts and was waiting on a relative to assist him in grating the coconuts to make home-made virgin coconut oil for the household.

James Sinclair.

The 78-year-old reported that he is a farmer, but these days he is taking it easy and his son would do the hard work on the farm.

He is originally from New Amsterdam but grew up in Sandvoort Village and has 37 to 40 acres of land, where they cultivate rice, cash crops and ground provisions.

Dry coconuts that will be used to make virgin coconut oil

“I would get about 40 litres of virgin coconut oil and I would drink a spoonful every week to help with memory loss and so far, it is working,” he said.

Sinclair explained that one day he went to buy a compact disc (CD) and he realised he could not remember the name and had to return home without it.

Eventually, he was told about using virgin coconut oil to improve memory and he began using it and he was able to remember the name of the CD and made the purchase.

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