Bibi is a Special Person

Rice-farming woman blazes trail in ‘a man’s world’

March 21, 2010 | By | Filed Under News 

 

Bibi Jamila Munir is a ‘Special Person’

 “I have twenty grandchildren. My family is my life. Guyana is my life. I grew up here and I will die here. I love my work and there is nothing else I would rather do.”

By Leonard Gildarie
She rides bikes, drives tractors, manages her home and then works from morning till night in the backdam planting rice. Her outspoken manner also angers many a politician, regional official and business associate. But that’s just what you get with this week’s special person.


Bibi Jamila Munir of Good Hope, East Bank Essequibo, known to some as simply Mrs. Munir and others as Auntie Jamila, is also the only woman in the nine-member co-op of the Vergenoegen Rice Mill.
In 2007, the Guyana Rice Producers Association (RPA) also paid tribute to the farmer, acknowledging her contribution as a businesswoman to the rice industry by featuring her in the quarterly magazine, “The Farmer”.
This week, Kaieteur News has chosen Munir as our Special Person for her role as a businesswoman, as a mother and a wife.

Female rice farmer, Bibi Jamila Munir

Female rice farmer, Bibi Jamila Munir

So what make her so special?
Well, her no-nonsense attitude might be a good reason. For example, she accuses Guyanese men of not being man enough and challenged them to play a stronger role in business and the home.
“Our Guyanese men always like to put down their wives…that they should be seen and not heard. I fight against this.”
It was difficult to make contact with Mrs. Munir via land phones since she was constantly in the backdam attempting to manage the water situation brought on by the dry conditions associated with the El Niño phenomenon.


Munir grew up in the world knowing about hard work since her family had been in rice farming for the longest while.
“At age six, I started driving tractors. You have to understand that we were six sisters and one brother.”
There were cows to graze and rice to cut. She was forced to leave school at 13, leaving at daybreak and working long hours in the farm.
“My husband and I…we got married when I was 17. Those days, in the Indian tradition, girls got married around that age. My daughters got married at that age too.”
The couple had three children – two girls and a boy- and then adopted two boys.


It was in 1984 that Munir decided to attend her daughter’s wedding in New York. However, her family decided not to allow her to come back to Guyana as the situation had become difficult here.
Her husband and the rest of the children, including the two adopted boys, later migrated to New York.
However, in 1995, Munir and her husband returned to Guyana after being encouraged by the change in government.

Ready for a long day in the backdam.

Ready for a long day in the backdam.

“We bought out the properties of our family and went into rice farming in a big way.”
The Munirs currently control 500 acres of rice land in the East Bank Essequibo area.
According to Bibi Munir, her husband is a quiet man who “does not like to talk, talk much.”
That left his wife, an outspoken and driven person, to take the reins of the business running it with an iron fist.
They currently employ about 25 workers and quite a few have been given land to build homes.
“I am a representative of the RPA and the Water Users Association also. Many people come to me for help all the time. What makes me special? I don’t know. I guess it would be that I like to help people.”
A normal day in Munir’s life would make many a man feel somewhat inferior. But it is all routine for the businesswoman. “I get up at 4 in the morning – seven days a week. I have to wash, pray, clean up, wash clothes and still go to work. I don’t have a maid and although I have a washing machine, I wash by hand.”
Munir also finds time to mind her ducks and chickens and tend to her little garden in the front of her yard
She is in charge of issuing instructions to her employers and handles all the financial and logistical dealings for her rice farm.


“I negotiate sale of the rice and I go down to the rice mill every day.”
It is not an easy thing in rice industry. And Mrs. Munir admits this. “There is the rice price to contend with. The weather. Then it’s the workers.”
Then there are the long hours and the uncertainty. This crop was an extremely challenging one for the Good Hope area. Water for irrigation is scarce but the businesswoman has been almost living in the rice fields.
“I am happy to say that in this area, nobody lost any crop since we really pushed in a lot of hours. The government helped too with the pumping.”
Throughout it all, Munir is modest when speaking of her achievements.
“I don’t like pinpointing my help to others. I do it because that is who I am. The President knows. RPA knows. The Minister of Agriculture knows.”
As if the rice farming is not enough, Munir is heavily involved in her Muslim faith. Her mosque, whenever it is fasting time, would even send her food to the factory to break her fast in the evening. They too know of her work.
“I have twenty grandchildren. My family is my life. Guyana is my life. I grew up here and I will die here. I love my work and there is nothing else I would rather do.”
The businesswoman, in our estimation, personifies the very essence of what hard work and love of that work can achieve.


She has entered into what has been known to be a “man’s territory” and is not afraid to voice her opinions or roll up her sleeves and drive a tractor if the need arises. Her balancing of the business, family and social aspects of her life is something all Guyanese should be proud of.
Mrs. Munir is indeed a special person.

Original Post

 Crime has always been the reason so many of us stay away from that place, except for that it is a beautiful country. This is very sad and I hope those responsible are caught and the book thrown at them along with the noose.

 

Ole people who through work, sweat and tears, rain or shine should not die this way.  I hope they find these bandits and throw dem rass in a furnace to die a slow death. This is the government who promised people that they will bring crime to an end. Instead they are making crime their biggest industry.

Stormborn posted:

I thought you said you would never go back? I still maintain my family home and farm so I have a squat whenever I want. I never said I am going back there to live. 

So what about the house and farm,  are they being put to good use or just lying there idle.

Sheik101 posted:
Stormborn posted:

I thought you said you would never go back? I still maintain my family home and farm so I have a squat whenever I want. I never said I am going back there to live. 

So what about the house and farm,  are they being put to good use or just lying there idle.

Sheik, you sure you are ready for the 1000 word essay? You really want to flip the man out heh.

skeldon_man posted:

I am never going back to live there. May her soul Rest in Peace.

I would like to go back at some point. too many assets there. But the crime situation is way out of control that I'm seriously thinking if it's worth it.
Guyana is a dangerous place.

skeldon_man posted:
Sheik101 posted:
Stormborn posted:

I thought you said you would never go back? I still maintain my family home and farm so I have a squat whenever I want. I never said I am going back there to live. 

So what about the house and farm,  are they being put to good use or just lying there idle.

Sheik, you sure you are ready for the 1000 word essay? You really want to flip the man out heh.

Bai Skelly, all I asked was a simple question. I hope I get a simple answer; if any.

Sheik101 posted:
Stormborn posted:

I thought you said you would never go back? I still maintain my family home and farm so I have a squat whenever I want. I never said I am going back there to live. 

So what about the house and farm,  are they being put to good use or just lying there idle.

I had a cousin there. When my  mom died ( actually my aunt who raised me), they tried to get prescriptive rights to it . Imagine that....I fed and clothe them for over 20 years and provided a home for them and they tried to pull a con on me. The judge threw the case out...no family or guyanese any more. Have a chinese guy

Crime is one of the biggest problems this country faces.   It devastates lives of not just the victim's family but the entire community as whole.  The economic impact is severe.  Farmers and businessmen cannot expand their operations out of fear for their lives.  How can we expect people to make significant progress in an environment that is governed by crime? For this society to progress law and order must be in place and criminals must have no where to shelter from the law.  Everyday we can open the daily newspapers and read about horrific crimes but seldom do we read about criminals being sent away behind bars for long periods of time.  This an injustice to the society where criminals ply their trade with the confidence that they might not never get caught or even if caught the system fails to administer justice.  It's a green light criminals and a no go for those who truly desire to work hard and build their farm or business.

 

antabanta posted:
Nehru posted:

What a bloody tragedy. The hard working people of Guyana cannot be protected under this CRIMINAL Govt!!!!!

You probably don't know this but the PPP is no longer in govt.

Hinglish is your language obviously.

Stormborn posted:
Sheik101 posted:
Stormborn posted:

I thought you said you would never go back? I still maintain my family home and farm so I have a squat whenever I want. I never said I am going back there to live. 

So what about the house and farm,  are they being put to good use or just lying there idle.

I had a cousin there. When my  mom died ( actually my aunt who raised me), they tried to get prescriptive rights to it . Imagine that....I fed and clothe them for over 20 years and provided a home for them and they tried to pull a con on me. The judge threw the case out...no family or guyanese any more. Have a chinese guy

What is the point of holding on to the land now if you have a stranger benefiting from it? Sell it off at a discounted rate to an enterprising Black and help them climb the economic ladder.  

Five in custody over Good Hope farmers’ deaths

Source

21 Apr 2016

Five persons including characters known to the police are in custody as investigators continue to probe the killings of Mohamed and Jamilla Munir, who were burnt to death in their Good Hope, East Bank Essequibo home on Sunday night.

Minister of Agriculture, Noel Holder offering condolences
 

Crime Chief Wendell Blanhum told Stabroek News last evening that investigators are working on several leads with the hope of making a breakthrough in the matter soon. Up to press time, the men were being grilled by the police.

A handyman of the elderly couple was arrested on Tuesday. Sources indicate that he may be one of the suspects currently in custody along with Winston Sherlock called “Quarters,” who was wanted for the abduction of Windsor Forest businessman, Tazim Gafoor.

Sherlock turned himself into the Leonora Police station on Tuesday accompanied by his attorney.

Mohamed, 75, and his wife, Jamilla, 70, who were well known rice farmers, died on Sunday night after bandits broke into their home and later set it alight.

Residents had told Stabroek News that the bandits scaled the veranda and cut the grill before smashing their way into the couple’s home through a glass door. After they were unable to gain entry to the Munirs’ bedroom, where they had secured themselves, the bandits apparently poured gasoline and lit a fire in front of the couple’s bedroom.

Some residents had said Mohamed had phoned them and told them that bandits had invaded his property. There were also reports of the sounds of gunshots during the attack.

The Munirs’ were both laid to rest yesterday according to Muslim rites.

Scores of people turned up at the funeral to bid farewell to the couple who was remembered for being an “embodiment of strength and goodness.”

In a very emotional speech, one of their grandchildren, Afifa Samad said her grandparents were not “an unfortunate statistic, they were part of our very being. We have all lost a part of ourselves and we are all suffering greatly.”

She described her grandfather as the” most hardworking, kindest, most compassionate, most gentle person. My grandmother was the greatest woman in the world, filled with love and incomparable strength. She was a driving force in our lives and her community.”

According to her, “They loved their families and they loved their country. They left us to better this beautiful land and we pray that this country would serve them justice that they deserve.”

She said they “fought for what they wanted their entire lives and they fought until their last breath. They are my example in this world. My grandparents would forever be in our hearts and in everything good that we do.”

Their son, Muntaz Munir,

thanked everyone for being there to pay their respects to his parents. He was also grateful to relatives, friends and neighbours “who offered their assistance in their final moment. We weren’t here but you were and we would like to thank you.

Their daughter, Nazarene thanked the rice and Islamic organisations that her mother was a part of.

Minister of Agriculture, Noel Holder was also there to offer his condolences on behalf of the government.

In his remarks, former president, Bharrat Jagdeo said that the couple’s lives epitomised hard work, dedication and commitment.

He said that as an executive member of the Rice Producers Association, Jamilla knew what struggle was.

According to him, “It’s a pity that in this country today that hard work seems not to be recognised and that people can come in such a callous manner and see the fruits of hard work and try to snatch it away.”

He said it is “not a political event because no government in the world can stop crime…”

He accused the government of not visiting “places where tragedies occur right across this country… but we see negotiations in the prisons with criminals…”

He said over 70 people were released... I have been asking until today to see the records of those people and there is no attempt on the part of the government to make those records public

Meanwhile, at the wake on Tuesday evening, One of Munir’s brothers described them as being “generous, simple and very helpful people. They lived very nice as husband and wife… they made a wonderful pair.”

According to another speaker, Azim, “We need to take a stand and say to the people in authority that we need protection. We need to stand in solidarity against what is happening in our country.”

He said too that crime is being taken to “another level and we will not stand up and take it.”

Former president, Donald Ramotar, in expressing condolences, said that all must be concerned about security.

He lamented that that was the reason why the Community Policing Group is very important.

He said the country has seen a lot of crime in the last few days and mentioned the young Wakenaam businessman who was killed in Georgetown on Tuesday.

President of the Guyana Islamic Trust, Shaykh, Aleem Rahim said the murders were “heartless and inhumane and it has shown the lack of mercy and the level at which we have sunk in our morality.”

He said too: “Islam teaches us mercy even to the animals, much less human beings. The fact that we can burn someone alive, prove that we have to reconnect with the creator and rebuild relationship with the creator.”


Chairman of the Good Hope/Hydronie NDC, Parsaram Persaud said not just the family but the community has lost a great couple at the hands of cruel people and called for justice to be served.

Django posted:
Bibi Haniffa posted:

Noel Holder should be ashamed to face those rice farmers in that community.  Two of them are dead and then he shows up.

Ashamed for what?

Don't politize their death please.

Django de Brother Munir and Sister Jamila 

were decent people.

Dead couple: Mohamed and Bibi Jamila Munir

 

Mohamed and Bibi Jamila Munir

 were proudly Marry.

 

They were life Partners

Ready for a long day in the backdam. 

Brother Munir Protected his wife...

 

he never claim they were not legally marry

or lock her out of the bedroom.

 

 

 

Now... Noel Holder has nothing to be ashamed of....

He Never Claim Bamboo Wedding is not Legal

 

Noel Holder never practice

none of them Nastiness to accommodate Kwame ....

 

Bibi need to stop using these tragedy on GNI

to Promote and Defend Jagdeo

and Stop attacking the Govt.

 

 

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Part of the crowd that attended the funeral.

 

Part of the crowd that attended the funeral.

Inna Lillahi wa inna ilaihi raji'un.

Dead couple: Mohamed and Bibi Jamila Munir

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