– What you learn can save you the delusions of a significant disappointment
I was living with my Godparents up the East Coast when my father came to take me to spend the weekend at my Grandmother in the Ruimveldt Scheme. I was given a pocket piece by my Godfather for helping him when he installed a flush toilet up the road at Mr. and Mrs. Cumberbatch, (incidentally, my Godfather’s wife was at one time married to Mr. Cumberbatch, but at nine and ten years old, understanding adult relationships were outside of my interests). What was interesting was the flush toilet mechanism, because, back then and still in some places, back yard ‘latrines’-outhouses were common. So, with my $2 pocket piece I joined my father, he had a serious pile of ten, five- and twenty-dollar bills, I looked at him, and he said this is business money, we might not be able to visit mother Ifill this week, meaning the grandest comic book stand in ‘Big Market’ managed by Mrs. Ifill. I was disappointed, because I wanted to keep my secret two dollars towards buying an airplane kit. The Saturday morning, we departed. We caught the bus and headed for the lumber yard. My father took the money to a man he referred to as the manager. The money was counted and a receipt given. My dad turned to me and said, in business, you must get a receipt for money you pay, it’s important. The manager took him to what seemed to be the back of the lumberyard and showed him wood that he referred to as cured -wood, they spoke for awhile and some arrangements were made that I was not too concerned about. I told him about my two dollars and what I was saving it to buy. He told me to make a choice then, so I bought six new Commando comics for a little less that a dollar and was happy enough to remember the lessons he taught me, “I take part credit on wood, because most furniture orders are part credit advances, but yuh must pay yuh bills. I paid off so I get some cured wood, that is better for Furniture, yuh owe, and is a smart ass, well, you get wet wood, and duh is problems.”
In Guyana today anyone can declare that they are astute in any profession that doesn’t require a ‘Uniform’. The first request from John or Jane public should be to see a portfolio. In the building of the Kuru Kuru Cooperative college, I was a Pioneer (outside of the National Service) we worked after training and tasks. Towards evening we privately worked with a Contractor named Mr. Pickering. One of the things I learnt is’ that in the construction of a house, every aspect of the home must correspond to specific structures, to carry weight etc. So in Guyana how have bathrooms collapsed and crushed people to death? The fact is that if you want to become an independent Artisan within the contracting field, get some industrial training, too much guesswork, with the excuse that “the client cutting cost, so we use one sack of cement to four (instead of two and a half) wheelbarrows of sand, and we didn’t buy no construction plastic, all fuh save, suh, I could get pay.” People will get hurt and your most valuable asset, your reputation, will be broken beyond repair. There are also people attracted to the idea of shortcuts, via crime, the wannabe always suffers the most.
There was an incident that involved two friends. They enter this deal and the one who has worked most of his life takes the lead. He picks up two sizeable packages containing cocaine and delivers it to the second character, who can be described as a seasoned campaigner unaware that the latter suspected some cross action, because unknown to the newby, he had robbed the same supplier before. Some criminal cops pick up the newby, take him to a lonely place, fire a few shots over his head and he takes them to the location of the ‘seasoned’ the seasoned declares “Cocaine? this man does trade, he leff two parcels of ‘dead sea salt’ here, if yuh feel is cocaine, you check it out.” The policeman pierces the packet and confirms his allegation. So, both men get charged, no evidence links ‘Seasoned’ to it, not even fingerprints. The prints are all the newby’s own so he goes to prison.
‘Seasoned’ walks. With crime you have less of a come-back without committing or opening self to more serious crimes, with a bad investment, with time the door can be reopened to a wiser approach.
Everything you want to aspire to, with no knowledge of its techniques, its realities must be discussed. The same options are not opened to everyone. Explore the niche, rather than the common. And the strata’s of its humanity involved, whether labour force, producers, merchants and buyers, do your homework, get trade books, the age of self-employment and specialist employment is now. Be prepared.