I remember when it was every boys dream to own his “Shooshak” to be able to do what dad did. The photo is very illustrating, so I will concentrate on its uses. It was strapped to a man’s head and shoulders and back, so he had two free hands – one to kill mosquitoes and the another one to collect coconuts and fling them into the “Shooshak”.
Dad could carry some 50 coconuts from the “cocal” (Coconut plantation) to the beach and into his canoe. Most men peeled off the shell at the beach, but some brought it home so they could use the coconut husk as heat energy or charcoal in the “fogon”. Talk about strong neck and shoulders, a full “Shooshak” with 50 coconuts easily weighed 120 pounds. (My greatest fun was for my dad to carry me about his “shooshak.” Sometimes I pretended I was injured or ill for my dad to give me a free ride.)
The “Shooshak” was made with a special bush stick called “Mulché”; this stick would have to be cut before the full moon or after the full moon and then it would be bent in order to fabricate the frame. It was then covered with crocus bag and a “Mecapal” was placed as a head band for you to place the “Shooshak” on your head. When wheels were not available and you could not fabricate a wheelbarrow, a “shooshak” was an excellent invention only in San Pedro 25 years ago.
– by Angel Nuñez, Columnist