When it was announced informal traders providing essential services would start operating under strict rules, the news was well received as it brought a sigh of relief.
However, for the vendors in Nkurenkuru, things are not proceeding as expected as they have to watch their fresh produce get spoiled due to a drastic decline in customers.
It is only a full week now since vendors who sell food staffs started operating from the Expo site where the council relocated them to operate during this state of emergency but for them, it already feels like it has been longer than that as every day they only have fewer customers than before the lockdown.
Anna Kasera who sells vegetables said that things are now different compared to when she used to sell from the streets.
“Since they sympathised with us and let us sell from these tents they erected for us, things are not going well - we bought the tomatoes on Sunday and since Monday up to now, we only gave some away on credit. As you can see, they are leaking liquid - many of them are already spoilt,” lamented Kasera.
She said when she used to sell from the streets, her vegetables would not stay for longer than two days before they are sold out.
Another vendor who is also feeling the pinch is Elina Muronga who sells cooked food. Muronga used to operate from the hiking point where most of her customers are travelers that used to hitch hike from there. She says she has now lost them all since they were relocated.
“Since we were relocated here, our customers keep searching for us - they don’t know where we are because this is a new place, they don’t know that we are selling from here and it is earmarked for events where people are required to pay when coming in and the place is also far from shops,” Muronga said.
She said her food now does not get sold out in a day even if she prepares little.
The vendor is however left with no choice but to continue selling despite the little she is making as she has a family to feed.
Muronga said she experienced bad days with fewer customers during the days when she used to sell from her main spot, but she was quick to reveal on a good day especially during pay days, she would make about N$1,200 to N$1,500, but now it is the opposite.
She said that even when recipients of government’s social grants who support them a lot received their money, all she managed to make was between N$100 and N$150.
Meanwhile, another vendor Irene Mpasi said sometimes in a day, she makes only N$10, saying that some of them have started selling by the shops secretly, which is not permitted.
Another challenge the vendors endure is that they have to rotate weekly to give chance to others to also sell while they go home and wait for their next turn.
Their plea is to be allowed to operate from their usual selling spots under supervision, to ensure that they practice Covid-19 preventative measures to protect themselves and their customers from the virus.
“What we want is to go back to the streets where we used to sell from, maybe we will get customers like before. Soon the schools will re-open and we have kids that are hostel boarders, we thought by coming here we will generate something for our kids to go back to schools if they re-open but now we have lost even more.”
Muronga added that for her and others who sell from under trees, they used to carry their own water from home every day, it is only toilets they lack.
2020-05-11 10:03:39 | 14 days ago