Sahidan, the daughter of Peerally and Kosemeea, was born in Poole. She was the wife of Guljar Baksh. She moved to San Fernando with her family and set up a retail provision business and selling coal. She was the mother of seven children, Ibrahim, Asgar, Saphiran (deceased), Happia (deceased), Sakina, Ishmael, and Jeanette (deceased). Sakina is my mother.
My husband and I live in Winnipeg, Canada. His name is Jang Bahadur Harrysingh. My father was Ramjohn Karamath. I am a graduate B.A., University of Winnepeg. My husband has B.A. Science and Bachelor in Education degree and we are the parents of two children, Sheeva has a B.Sc. and (sic) B.Ed. degree. She is a Teacher.
Our mom, Sakina, was born in Poole, Trinidad in 1915. She was the fifth child. At age
13 she married Ramjohn Karamath. She lived at Princes Town with her husband for a number of years and with her five children left for San Fernando after some ordeals. She settled on Drayton Street in San Fernando. She has endured hardships, being for a time a single mother and having to provide for her children. She sold coals as her mother did on Coffee Street thereby starting a business enterprise which would flourish in later years. She started her business with $1.00 and a bag of coal.
She eventually moved to Coffee Street and rented space from a Mr. Campbell who even taught her to sign her name. She sold ground provisions, bananas, yam, dasheen, fruits, etc. Alady called “Miss Daisy” encouraged her to do what she knew best, i.e. to make Roti. It was at this point she pioneered the Roti business as we know it today, wrapped as it is. She moved to 131 Coffee Street and the business was now called “Humming Bird Roti Shop”. Her Rotis and Curries were tasty and attracted customers from all over the island. She specialised in a light Roti Shell with the right amount of Geera and Garlic mixed in the peas.
Meanwhile being a dedicated mother, she almost single-handedly carried on the business together with nurturing other children born, with her marriage reconciled. She was charitable to the many who would not have the money to buy and she was generous to them, knowing they could get a meal from her. Her children who helped her in the business were all respected by the customers and “limers” and she was loved by all.
Our mother though not very educated displayed a keen sense of business and she was able to grow her business dealing with all and sundry including bank managers and others in business. She was sawy. She was dedicated to her children, our cousins and others giving advice and a few friendly word to the many. Today, people still talk about her and the “Humming Bird’ and what shrewd businesswoman she was. She raised 12 children.
She was a true pioneer, a woman entrepreneur of the Fast Food Business. She taught her children Independence, Honesty, Integrity and that no job is too “small”, once it is honest. To our forefather, Peerally and his wife Kosenieea, if only they could see what Sackina, a grand-daughter, has done. She as many others in the clan have made them, our forebears proud.
Today her son’s (Harold) wife Zanubie and family operate the Roti Shop. They own and operate the franchise themselves. Still on Coffee Street but at the corner of Fonrose Street. Best wishes to them. The tradition carries on in good faith and hope it does for many more years to come.