ONCE a beloved waitress, Gildette Weekes now sells by the roadside in order to make ends meet and she’s proud of it. The 58-year-old is determined to get through the coronavirus pandemic and believes that with God, all things are possible.
I interviewed Gildette on Wednesday and I must say, she’s a lovely woman.
“I am trying to make a little dollar for myself because I am not working presently. I sell ice lollies, soft drinks, tamarind balls and sweets when I’m at home and on a morning I go out to sell masks which I make myself,” she told The VOICE on Wednesday.
“It keeps me going; just sitting at home doing nothing doesn’t feel healthy. You have to keep your mind and body busy,” Gildette explained.
She enjoys the “little things” and calls herself a “workaholic”.
According to her, “when the pandemic is over, I plan to go around selling things like bakes and cheese, local juices and meals because that’s what I used to do before. I can make a good golden apple juice and passion fruit juice that will leave persons wanting more. Everybody knows me because I worked in the tourism field for a very long time.”
Gildette started working at the Green Parrot Inn at the tender age of 17. She relished every moment there, calling it an “unforgettable experience”.
“I was a waitress and during that time a number of tourists came to Chef Harry’s business, it was just amazing; that’s where I got my skills,” she said cheerfully.
Later, she’d move on to other restaurants but juggling work life and motherhood wasn’t always easy. With two kids to feed and long working hours, sometimes she barely got through it all.
“When you have children, you have to work hard to put food on the table and back then it was tough. I was working constantly and sometimes I came home really late. I was always on my feet,” she said.
“I did it all. I was a waitress and a cook. I never liked cooking because of all the heat and on top of that you have to put your hands in water as well and all of that probably caused my arthritis. I had to retire early because of this,” she revealed.
According to her, if she had to do it all again, she would choose another path.
“Maybe I’d be a host at a hotel. I had rough seas already so I want something lighter now. I prefer making my ice lollies and selling things like soft drinks,” Gildette added.
Although she never attended secondary school, the vendor believes that she still has a lot to be grateful for.
“I didn’t learn much, I went to the Ave Maria Girls School and that was it. My dad was a teacher and he encouraged my siblings and I to read but school was just hard for me, I didn’t pass the exam that would allow me to go to secondary school. I’m the eldest of nine and when you’re the first you have to look after the little ones so that makes you a stronger person. I’m proud of that,” she said.
She loves her children dearly and stated that they are her greatest accomplishments.
“They never gave me trouble; they were great kids. They saw that their mom was struggling and realized they had to make a way to help themselves and do the best that they can and I’m proud of them for that,” Gildette added.
She’s a hard-working woman who’s simply grateful for God’s love.
“I put him first in everything I do. Without Him I wouldn’t be where I am today because I have had many issues in my life already and through it all He kept me alive. He keeps me going and gives me the strength to do what I have to do,” she said in closing.