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Sierra Leone
Friday, July 1, 2022

Female ‘jelly’ sellers narrate ordeal

 By Elizabeth A. Kaine

My husband is the one that climes the coconut tree and harvest the jelly while me and my elderly daughter always  take it to Freetown for sale. Most times, I have little or no profit due to the transportation cost and payment for cleaning of the area where I usually place the jelly for sale, explained Mariama Kamara, a mother of four who deals in jelly for survival.

Kamara, who resides at Lunsar Town,Port Loko District, told Concord Times that she has been trading in jelly since her formative age, adding that it is almost a family heritage.

Living some kilometers away from the city of Freetown, Kamara has to wake up every morning so that she could catch up with her customers at the Princess Christian Maternity Hospital (PCMH) in Freetown, the country’s highest referral hospital for women and children.

Speaking to Concord Times, Kamara pleaded with the government and other humanitarian organizations to help her with other means of survival, stating that trading in jelly can be very much hectic for her especially when the trade is largely dominated by men.

“This is the only business my family depends on for a living,” she lamented.

In the midst of her struggle, however, Kamara is deeply admired by her customers due to her resilience and they are always willing to buy the jelly from her.

Alijah S.B. Timbo is one of the numerous loyal customers, who always buys jelly from Kamara. He told Concord Times how he prefers buying jelly from women to buying men because he admires them a lot.

“Although I am a man but no matter how small or plenty jelly sellers are in our country, I will always choose to buy it from a lady in order for her to feel belong than buying it from man,’’ he  said.

Another loyal customer, Doris Lakeh said  she saw nothing wrong in women trading in jelly as she has never heard in any part of the world where people would  say that trading in jelly is a  man’s job .

“We have been seeing men selling jelly for a very long time now, thinking that it is a man’s  job, but seeing women selling it, teaches us that there is a  lot of things that women can do if they are given the opportunity  to explore themselves,’’  she said.

Meanwhile, Mariama Kamara is not the only female in the business of selling jelly in Freetown. Her colleagues who spoke to Concord Times expressed similar sentiment, calling on the government and humanitarians to help them with alternative livelihood.

“We are finding it difficult to go about this trade but we have to because we have our families to take care of,” they expressed.

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