By Tamfu Meliva Kuyaa*
Unlike in the past when children followed their parents to the farms every day during the holidays, today, the story is different.
It’s the summer holidays in the country and many children have taken to the streets to fend for themselves. Some are have engaging in small business ventures to help their parents to prepare for the next school year. At the Nsam market in Yaounde, we found children everywhere hawking on the streets for survival.
Though it is very dangerous for them as we often hear stories of children being kidnapped, raped or being victims of accidents, staying at home is not an option for most of them.
During a conversation with one of the children on the streets of Nsam, 13-year-old Ali, who is a watermelon vendor in the said ” I don’t sell the watermelon for my mother or anybody but for myself”.
He went on to explain that his mother buys the watermelon in bulk for him at the Mfoundi market in Yaounde.
He said he does the business every holidays stating that “this year, I started on June 15 and I will be ending on August 31…”
From the determination of this little boy, it is obvious that by the end of the day, he will be able to gather something that can help his parents prepare for the forthcoming school year.
The young form two boy says he sells two watermelons every day and when there are leftovers “I keep them with my mother who is a roadside vendor at the Nsam neighborhood”.
Another child hawker, whose name we got as Ariane, a form one student in the Damas neighborhood says she sells pineapple around the Nsam market.
She said she sells at least four pineapples in a day. She sells a slice for 100FCFA or 50FCFA depending on the size.
She says her mother gave her capital but the profit remains hers. Since there’s so much sun, she preserves it by putting ice in between the pineapples so it remains fresh and cold.
“When it is kept in the fridge, the taste changes the next day and so it can’t be sold again, thus we eat it” the little girl told us.
She also says the business yields a comfortable profit though she didn’t mention any amount.
Tamfu Meliva Kuyaa* is student Journalist on internship from ASMAC