20 Vatu sellers plead for a little kindness
By Len Garae.
The lockdown is everyone’s enemy. Two women representatives of 20 vatu food sellers made the above remarks, saying they simply do not know how to feed their families now that all kava bars where women sell cooked foods and meats to put food on the table, are closed so they do not know how to make ends meet.
“Please hear us out, the lockdown is everybody’s enemy because we have not planned for it,” they said. “How are we going to feed our families? How are we going to survive? We are pleading with you in authority to help us find the quickest solution to this hardship because we cannot earn any money to put food on the table for our families with all kava bars closed.”
I met many of them at Port Vila Market and they shook their heads saying they did not know what to do. There was a mixture of anger, concern and fear of the unknown on their faces.
Two mothers said they used their last savings to buy two bundles of island cabbages at Port Vila Market. “Look at these two small bundles of island cabbages. We spent VT400 on them and the bundles are getting smaller and smaller,” they said.
They are appealing to the Management of Port Vila Market to advise the farmers and vendors not to reduce the quantity of their greens due to COVID-19. “On the contrary, we encourage all farmers and vendors to not reduce the quantities of their produce because life is already as difficult as we have not dreamt it to be at so please, show as a little kindness and sell us only your best produce at a fair price. The current COVID lockdown should not be an opportunity to make money but also to help us provide for our families,” they pleaded.
Both women said they have each applied for a loan from the VNPF. “We are living with our neighbours who have no food. Our idea is to use our withdrawals to buy basic food to support our neighbours too,” they said.
Port Vila Market has started selling local produce to the public this week.
The Management wishes to appeal to the public to respect existing procedures by entering at the door opposite Sea View.
The population of the Capital has welcomed the beginning of the reopening of the Market.
However, the Restaurant Wing is still closed.
Customers who have always enjoyed breakfast and lunch next to the Sea Wall cannot wait to return when life returns to normal. Meanwhile, patience is the key.