Life in Parika

What the people say about…

Interviews by Chevy Devonish with photos by Arian Browne
This week, the run-up to Christmas we asked people in Parika to talk about life and opportunities in that East Bank Essequibo village. Their comments follow:

Sohan Chowtie, farmer – ‘Life is usually nice here. Good to make a living. I usually bring my produce from Leguan to Parika. Business is really slow right now though. People don’t seem to want greens at Christmas time. Right now I’m looking forward to January, because right now people spending out their money on Christmas things. By January they should want greens again.’

Natasha Ramdatt, Avon representative – ‘This Christmas season isn’t delivering at all, because people are not shopping, and the money isn’t flowing. I think it’s partially because of the rainy reason which is causing people to stay inside instead of coming out to shop. I’m hoping by next year some of the vendors come back this side so that when people come to buy from them they can see my things and buy too.’

Leon Davenand Bishram, unemployed – ‘Life in Parika is boring. There is really nothing to do but drink Guinness and lime. I think there should be more activities around here for the youths in the community to get involved in because there is nothing to do.’

Atika Chase, cosmetologist
– ‘Life in Parika is worthwhile. It’s a very costly place to live though, because many of the important things you would need on a day-to-day basis to survive are very expensive. But I still like the environment though, and I really enjoy working here.’

Michelle Hyman, shop owner
– ‘Life in Parika is good, but business isn’t all of that right now, it’s very slow. I bought a lot of stuff in anticipation of a heavy Christmas shopping season but nobody isn’t buying really. This is a first, compared to last year and the other years. Right now I am thinking about selling out this shop and migrating to somewhere easier. I’ve been selling for 23 years.’

Shereen Khan, fruit vendor – ‘I’ve been selling in the market for about 20 years; since I got married. And before that I used to sell with my mother in the Parika Stelling for 15 years. Things here are really good you know, and I like working here because you get to meet a lot of new people every day when they are travelling through. A lot of them come here specifically to taste the Parika banana because it’s much sweeter than the others.’

Lloyd Holder, push cart operator – ‘Life here is really hard sometimes in terms of earning a living, but I does have to still come out and hustle because I have a family to provide for. Sometimes I come out and I can’t find parking for the cart so I does have to be fetching bags or loading Canter because I still have to work. Business is very slow though, I hope it will pick up soon.’

Bejai Nebar, stall owner – ‘Business is very slow and this weather is making things worse. This time last year compared to this year business was booming. I think it’s because people getting paid late and many of them are still waiting on the five per cent increase before they start spending. Whatever is the reason, there isn’t a strong spending power here at all.’

Mark Thomas, taxi driver – ‘Parika is developing at a very fast rate. This is probably because its serves as the main entryway to many of the mining operations in the interior.

A lot of youth in the area are taking advantage of this and getting into business ventures such as selling, taxi work, boating, and even fetching bags. I notice that when school is out the young boys would come around and fetch people’s bags to earn some money.

There are also many stores and eating places, like Mario’s and Church’s that opened operation here because they realise the potential for business. All this development has caused a lot of congestion though, the cars, stalls, everything is all in one place. I think there should be some sort of restructuring so that things would be less clustered and confusing.’

Tanis Barnes, food stall vendor – ‘Parika has some of the friendliest people anywhere. Because of that alone, life is not always a struggle.

They are always warm, welcoming and quick to help you if you ever need it. The people here are usually very busy though, most people that live here are involved in one business or another and we’re all trying to make a living. Business is somewhat slow right now and I suspect it’s because of the rain; people are staying at home. But I think things will pick up soon. Parika is also a very clean place compared to Georgetown. This is a place where hundreds of people pass every day yet it’s still cleaner than many parts of Georgetown.’

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