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Bi Fends For Disabled Daughter As A Vendor

Bi Fends For Disabled Daughter As A Vendor
Hamida Bi at Suva municipal market on May 2, 2018. Photos: Nacanieli Tuilevuka
May 04
11:05 2018

Hamida Bi, 51, of Cunningham has been selling fresh fruits and vegetables for a decade to take care of her 32-year-old disabled daughter.

Ms Bi left home in 2009 and had to seek work to look after her daughter and retired husband.

It was through her friend, who had a stall at the Suva municipal market who helped her begin selling and she later learned to enjoy being a vendor.

“Leaving school at a very young age is difficult to get a job. I later got married but faced hardships, so despite all these challenges I knew I had to find a way to build my family life,” she said.

“It is no looking back for me now; I do not have any regrets. I was lucky to have my parents’ constant support and my sister who also had a stall in the market so they pitched in to assist me start my business.

“Many people tell me that I’m old now, but I love selling in the market and I get to help my family financially, I sell fresh fruits and vegetables.

“My daughter needs medication, food and clothes; I am selling to meet her special needs.

“This is a decent way of earning for my family and the business has been good here in the market.”

She said that she now formed a special bond with the other vendors and the market was her space of comfort and camaraderie with them.

“I started selling vegetables with my husband from this same stall to help educate our other two children and since his retirement we have been selling in this market to support our disabled daughter,” she said.

“Some weekends, I come to sell at the market and some days my husband comes; we take shifts. I have no choice but to leave her (daughter) alone at home so that I can work to financially support both of us; life is full of challenges for me as a mother and grandmother.

“There are about 1700 market vendors and I treat them all as family because we work to earn money and feed our loved ones.”

She gets her fresh produce from farmers.

“Every week I buy vegetables like tomatoes, cabbage and chillies from the farmers, I also buy fruits which I can keep for longer and sell it over the week. Mostly I buy pawpaws, watermelons and pineapples,” she said.

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