Tuesday, 17 August 2010

They Have my Business!

I love stuff like this.

Serge had told me about little co-operative selling fruits and vegetables on 'our corner', ie. the corner with lots of little shops to buy stuff close to our house.

Last night, I got to experience it.

Life is more than busy these days and I have not been to the market to buy fresh fruits and vegetables since last week and the fridge was EMPTY! As Serge was getting fuel, Isabella and I ran across the parking lot to this little co-operative.

It's marked by a big hand painted sign indicating that fruits and vegetables are for sale down an alley between two buildings.

The doorway was cluttered with women - women who used to walk the streets of Kigali with baskets of fresh produce on their heads trying to sell something so they could feed their family for the day.

I used to buy from these very women and it was great to be welcomed as a recognized customer - even though it was my first time to their little shop.

Everyday, women roam the streets of Kigali trying to sell something so they can provide shelter, food and clothes for their family. Education is a dream for most of them. It's illegal for people to sell goods on the streets and I often seem them chased by the police, even caught sometimes. I know that it's probably not good that I participate is something illegal by buying from them but my heart of compassion for these women is bigger I think.

Many nights we have come home late from a wedding or something and make a quick stop for milk and bread and for sure, more than one woman will be out, 11pm or later at night, with a baby on her back, still trying to sell something that day.

This is when I want to win the lottery and then go around and pay double for everything on someones head in the city. (Guess it would help if I actually played the lottery but I can dream right!?

Intern Danika and Maman Deborah selecting some fruit before they visit someone with HIV/AIDS.

What thrills my heart is that some women got together and decided that they can do more together than individually. Very forward thinking of them! They have great produce. Even my house girl, Solange, was impressed by the quality of the various fruits and tomatoes I bought.

What I know is... they have my business!

1 comment:

cochrane said...

Hey Jen,

Have any of these ladies tried their hand at micro-finance (e.g. kiva.org)? If they need funding and can manage the repayments of small amounts, it can be a way to open up some cashflow for expanding stock or other growth.

Just a thought,