Normally, I dislike jumping on a bandwagon everyone is clambering on to and making a noise. It is so unnecessary.
But this bandwagon is different.
Look at what our vegetable vendors are achieving. The young girl who was an HSLC topper is the daughter of a vegetable vendor. A local daily even uses 'a street vendor' in their report. Hallelujah and Hurrah for them both, mother and child. It means these mothers are doing something right. It means that their meagre earnings are going towards feeding a family, paying for the children's education plus tuition fees for Maths tuition and what have you. Because it is not just school fees which continue to rise with the years. And toppers go from tuition to tuition sessions.
We are all proud of this Vegetable vendor mother. But are we doing our part in supporting her and letting her have her place in society? Why must every day be a struggle for a place to vendor in peace and hope to be safe from the hand of man and the elements? As we pass by the vegetable vendors and other Street vendors, let us see them for who they really are: homemakers trying to give their children the best out of what they can. Such efforts are laudable and should elicit compassion and empathy for their situation, enough to ensure they get safe places to sell their wares.
I get irritated by the tightfisted buyers who complain that vegetables are too expensive. Well, try trekking to the forest, pluck herbs to fill a basket and bring them back to town I guarantee you will charge 200 rupees for a bunch to cover your bus fare and your hard labour. Or. Wake up before the rooster and get to the place where the vegetables from Jalukie make a drop at an unearthly hour and transactions are hurriedly made before an early cop comes by and puts a stop to everything. After that, go home with your gunny bag full of veggies, cook the morning meal for your family, eat something and come back to the stony seat where you try to sell greens all day with a smile on your face and a good word for your customers. The vendors don't have it easy at all. Think about that. It is a trade where it is just as important to be polite as to present appealing goods. Let me tell you the story of a Mizo professor who makes it her business to get to know the vendors and their life situations. She has built up such a good relationship with them that when there is a medical emergency and one of them falls sick, they inform her, and she drives them to the hospital. They call her car their taxi. And, most importantly, she is not related to any of them. But she sees their plight and does what she can for them. She says that what she enjoys the most is sitting with them, taking tea together and listening to their stories. Rather than drive to buy vegetables from an unmanned shop, she takes the time to go to the women vendors and buy from them. Knowing how much they need the money, she does not take the change after a transaction.
What a worthy example for us. Government departments are doing nothing for vendors. Not heard of churches doing anything for vendors either. Once in a year, church members do gather their forces and spoil the chances of daily sales for vendors when they have their church sales day and bring in more interesting products than what the vendors have and sell it under the banner of the church. An observation about open air sales is that people stop to buy more if it is a church sale. Yet, in a roundabout way, you are actually doing a spiritual service of helping a low income family when you help our vendors. If only that mindset would penetrate. Lord bless our vendors and help them where mankind fails. Amen.