Deemed one of the quietest villages on the East Coast of Demerara by residents living there, Nooten Zuil is one of those settlements which has a fruit tree in every yard, a hammock under every tree and a kitchen garden in almost every home. Sandwiched between Belfied to the west and Hope to the east, the first thing that greets one when entering Nooten Zuil is its tranquility. There is a sense of peace in the village, interrupted only by the occasional sound of vehicles traversing the public road.
Residents of the mixed village said that it is so quiet, they feel it is being constantly overlooked by the government. One resident said the village should be named the ‘Forgotten,’ because the government has forgotten about them because nothing major happens there. “Of all the villages on the East Coast this is one of them that people don’t talk about or even bother with… Not even the government does get time with us,” a resident said.
The main occupation of the inhabitants is rice and cash crop farming, although some of the residents have small shops and vehicle workshops. Others are employed as nurses, teachers and labourers.
Sharmilla Mohammed was busy cleaning some shrimp she had bought earlier at the market when this newspaper caught up with her. Life in the village she has called home for the past 30 years is “very nice” she said. After marrying her husband in the 1970s she decided to move to Nooten Zuil and start a family. The quietness she said is what drew her to the village. “This is a really nice village to live in. I fell in love with it when I first moved here,” she said.
Like many residents in the village, Mohammed said that it would be nice if there could be a community centre or some sort of recreational ground for the children. “The children in this community have nowhere to play or express themselves. It would be really great if there can be a ground for
them to play and be free,” Mohammed said.
Children in the village attend the Victoria Primary School, since there is no primary school in the community. There is neither a nursery nor a secondary school, so these age groups too attend schools in the nearby villages. The residents visit either the Clonbrook or Victoria health centre for their various medical issues. There is no market in the village, so residents go to either Mon Repos or Golden Grove.
There are no religious houses in the community, so residents either travel to Victoria or Golden Grove to attend to their spiritual needs.
Lucille Ramdat who has made Nooten Zuil her home since 1966 said that she enjoys her peaceful village. “This village is really quiet and nice and very peaceful. I love here and wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.”
She has been operating one of the few mechanic workshops in the village with her husband for the past 30 years. Business is very slow she said, but they “manage.” Like other residents, she is calling for the relevant authorities to fix the roads in the community. “The roads here are really bad and we would like someone to have a look at them and fix them. We have a workshop here and people come to get their vehicles fixed, not damaged more.”
Like Mohammed, she shared the same thoughts that the village is one that many people don’t know about. “People don’t know this village… when I tell people I live in Nooten Zuil they look at me like they lost.”
Ramdat said that there is a lot of flooding in the village and it would be nice if there could be some sort of help for the community when
Barbara Lawrence told this newspaper that the village is a farming community where everyone “lives nice.” She added that she has been living there with her children for the past 20 years and enjoys the calmness of the community. However, there is no place for recreational activities she added, and wished that something could be done about this. “It would be nice if the children had a playground or some little community centre where they can go and play.”
Shelton Seecharan was busy cooking on a makeshift fireplace when Sunday Stabroek ran into him. He said that what he loves most about the village is the fact that is not too “fast.” His mother who operates a small rum shop in the village said that Nooten Zuil is “not too fast, and not too slow” for them.
Although the village has no place to “hang out,” the residents in Nooten Zuil said that they wouldn’t trade living here for the world.