Three weeks ago, the Observer Women’s Desk made a promise to feature market women every time this column is printed. Unfortunately, due to some technical problems at our desk, we could not highlight the importance of these women in society for the past two weeks.
Fortunately for us, this week we were able talk to women from the Old Road Market, a privately owned market. The Women we spoke to could not tell our women’s desk who actually owns the market because there have been different people selling in it over the years. We are yet to provide our readers with the identity of who actually owns the market or how the market was founded.
A seller of fresh pepper,Miss Alberta Whelyuu, mother of three and resident of Tarr Town community, located on the Old Road, said that she has been in the market prior to her getting married in 2006.
She noted that her business has helped her and her family over the seven-year period. She said her fresh pepper has served as the major means of their family’s monthly and daily income on many occasions.
Mrs. Whelyuu said there are many challenges in the market, especially concerning transporting their goods from one point to another.
“We have lots of difficulty transporting our goods from where we buy them to the market for sales. At times we buy a bag of pepper costing LD$200,000 per bag and we sell it LD$10.00 per pile, so tell me how much profit we make from just one bag after you calculate the cost of transport?” she asked.
“Sometimes, we have to buy about three bags before we can be convinced that we will have good income. In spite of all this, my little market has helped me to become independent. Even now that my husband isn’t working, we can still pay our children’s school fees, feed the house and cater to other household needs through the income I generate from selling pepper,” she declared proudly.
“I also think it has empowered me because I am not a high school graduate, It allows me to earn and mange my own money. It was through this business I was able to open a savings account at Liberty Bank for my family. All I want to do now is create an avenue to educate my three children,” she explained.
Although she was not willing to speak much, we were able to capture the attention of 57 year old Oretha Nelson who sells beans and onions.
Being a mother of 2, she noted that her business has made a significant impact on the life of her family.
“My Husband is just a security man so we use his salary to pay our kids school fees than my income, we use it cater to our family needs.
Those people who will sit down and criticize government all the time are wasting their own time; because the government of Liberia cannot provide for everyone. So if you must survive in Liberia, then you must be ready to fight for yourself. That is what I am doing for my family through this little business I have.
Leaving my house as early as 6:00 in the morning isn’t easy for me at all, but I am satisfied because I know that all of us cannot work in offices and wear suits. I am happy here and will remain right here till God knows what happens,” she concluded.