Lakiwantah Ramdhanie Singh

94 years - Manahambre

Lakiwantah had three boys and four girls. She practised Vedic Hinduism. Her parents came aboard the Fatel Razack. She lived with her parents on the sugar plantation barracks in one room with three beds. For 10c a day, Lakiwantah worked on the plantations carrying cane on her head to the truck to be transported to the factory.

Lakiwantah's first choice in marriage was not her own. It was made by her older brother, "he push me to marry him (first husband) but I doh want him"… so I left". She went unwed for some time until she met a Venezuelan man, Antonio Papito Ramatas, who was a foreman on the estate and who was later given the Indian name Ramdhanie. She married him at the age of 14. "He and I get room on the estate to live together." When married, the woman gets a tattoo on the forearms ("se-ta-ker-asoi") without which you are not allowed to cook. The wedding ceremony was made official with the wearing of a mango leaf ring and praying over water. Three days later the ring would be washed off in the river and buried.

With the birth of children a local "midwife" would be paid 6c a day to babysit. Her last child contracted polio. The Caroni doctors had diagnosed the child's diarrhea as 'worms' and it was only at Princes Town that the true ailment was discovered.

After a day's work, workers left the plantation at four o'clock (told by the position of the sun, for they had no watches) and returned to the barracks to mix flour and water to make roti using cane as firewood. Lakiwantah would sing to her family at night and (this time using the moon as a time piece) would be in bed by eight o'clock. Her children, unlike her, attended government school. She was never afforded this option. Lakiwantah's children would all go on to leave the plantation life behind and she would outlive her husband at her Ste Madeleine home.