When I read the letter in another section of the Press about the “devastating effects of the food ban” on items such as flour, dhal, channa and potatoes, described as “essential items used by Indians” during the Burnham regime, I remembered the food shortages during the WWII years, through the halt in imports of flour, etc.
Then, as in LFSB’s time (and even now), our womenfolk were resourceful and resilient and learnt to improvise. They made do with ‘ground provisions’, invented dishes, and swapped recipes.
As a young child, I never imagined cornmeal, coconuts, plantains, cassava, sweet potatoes, etc could be so versatile! Nothing, or no one, is indispensable. (Perhaps men found it difficult to adjust to the “non-staples” during the Burnham era).
During WWII, some large firms, eg J P Santos, probably anticipating such shortages, had stockpiled popular non-perishable food items and were able to help out bakeries, shops and ‘deserving’ customers.
I recall being able to get two tins of condensed milk in the mid-1940s from J P Santos, because” there was a baby in the family” – a classmate had briefed me before hand on what to say!
In 1990, when I visited Guyana, after an absence of over 20 years, I was struck by how those lean years had affected the mental attitude of many well-placed people. They seemed so selfish and greedy, and had still not adjusted to the fact that previously banned things were now freely available.
One example of greed and selfishness has stuck in my mind. I took as a gift a one-pound packet of lentils for a poor Indian vegetarian family, who lived in the countryside. I asked a non-vegetarian woman, whom I trusted, to pass it on, giving her permission to help herself to some of it.
I expected her, being aware of the woman’s circumstances, to take about one-quarter or one-third of the packet. A few days later, I decided to visit the Indian family, intending to deliver the packet myself.
Imagine my shock and horror when I saw that only about two to three tablespoon of the lentils were left at the bottom of the one-pound bag to be handed over! I was speechless.
That was virtually my first lesson of the selfishness and greed that had become part and parcel of life in our beautiful country. A few years later, as a returnee, I frequently came face to face with corruption, their evil sibling. Still, as the saying goes, where there’s life, there’s hope.
Sep 15, 2019Briton John stormed to victory in the feature 35-lap race of the Triskits Biscuit, Midwest tea biscuit cycle event which was contested yesterday at inner circuit of the National Park. John took an...
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