Goed Bananen Land can be found between Adelphi and Betsy Ground in East Canje Berbice. Along the main road, there are several small stalls located directly opposite residents’ houses, selling pastries and sweetmeats among other things.
Residents told the World Beyond Georgetown that the village was established on “Dutch land,” which in the ancient days was actually a cemetery.
They said the village has a population of over 500, however, over the last two years villagers began gradually migrating to foreign countries.
The village which has two places of worship, a Mandir and a Kali temple, also is home to the Canefield-Enterprise Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC) office. Also located in the bottom flat of the NDC building is a health centre.
Several residents joked about the “village having alot of bananas” because of its name Goed Bananen Land, which is actually Dutch for ‘Good bananas’.
Cane harvester at the Rose Hall Estate Rajendra Ramcharitar, 52, was returning home from work when I visited, stopping him in his tracks. He said, that the village had seen some development years ago. However, he said, for the past couple years “nothing much has been done. This street we deh from here want some rehabilitation but we na see nothing.”
He said he and his wife have lived together in the village for over 28 years. “This is a peaceful village, you live in peace, no thief and so here.”
Nazoora, 70, who lives alone was in her hammock eating her lunch.
Forty-nine-year-old Barbara Paul noted that there were no electricity, water or telephone services when she initially moved into the village some 30 years ago. “I’m a stay-at-home mom and I think we need more activities for the youths them,” she said. “We have a ballfield but we need jobs for the young people and things to keep them active instead of getting into the wrong path.”
Paul said she enjoys planting and spends most of her days doing so.
Meanwhile, other residents also called for more employment to be made available to youths in the community.
One resident who wished not to disclose his name said, “Dem going to school and when dem done, dem na get job dem a end up liming with the wrong crowd and smoke drugs, that’s one of the problems we have here nuff youths a get into drugs.”
Drupal Sarwan, 57, a former nurse aide concurred that one issue is that the village now has a lot of drug addicts and alcoholics. “I think there should be counsellors in school to talk with the youths and tell them drugs is not the answer, also we need more jobs for the youths,” he said.
Dabideen Indar, 63, who has lived in the village since he was a young boy, said most residents are currently employed at the Rose Hall Estate. He said the closure of the estate will affect the residents a lot. “If dem close that estate I don’t know what will happen to this village cause most people working there. Nuff got children and so what dem gon do? Who dem gon turn to for help? I don’t know what we gon do man,” said the frustrated man.
He also mentioned that the village is family friendly.
Amanda, who at the time of my visit was assisting her mother to sell at her stall on her road said, “We good with everybody, because everybody selling different, different things,” the young woman said.
The village also has three grocery stores.
Pamela Corlette, 45, and her husband Khemraj Pertab, 56, were relaxing in their hammocks.
Corlette said she shops from a nearby grocery store instead of travelling to neighbouring villages or New Amsterdam. “I feel like I does see me way when me buy from dem..,” the woman said.
The couple also spoke of the closure of the sugar factory, “It go be very hard because nuff people working there.”
Nero Keizer, 60, a former regional plumber, said he loves the country area. “I does go and come between Georgetown and Barbados. I does sleep with me door open here. We get fresh things to cook and good neighbours,” he added.
Donna Pollard, 52, who operates a food stall in front of her house, said business has been on and off. However, she said more emphasis needs to be placed on clearing the drainage in the village.
Rita Jaimal of Number 19 Village, Corentyne was traversing the Goed Bananen Land streets selling fish. “Me barely a get sale now and tired for walk all dem streets this. But wah me gon do? Me got to work,” she said.
Goed Bananen Land also houses a mechanic shop, which is run by two young brothers, and a tyre shop.