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Time to reflect

04 August 2015, 18:25 Ann Muigai

Nairobi - When I stumbled on this piece, I felt challenged and ashamed at the same time. There are so many things we take for granted and assume, yet they make a big impact, on our lives and that of others.

Most times when we walk into malls, boutiques supermarkets and stores, we hardly question commodity prices, and when we do, we can barely bargain as the price tags are almost always fixed. We thus pay what we see on the price tags and even hand out tips to staff and attendants.

Out of the high-end stores, we prowl the streets and encounter women and children selling bananas and oranges. Our bargaining game flies off the roof! We bargain so hard for goods we deem petty, yet they mean a livelihood for the vendors. We bargain for a bunch of bananas with a KES 100 market price, and the seller ends up giving it away at no profit at all. The sellers take their time to explain even how they struggled to get the goods, they even beg, explaining how much their children and families need the money. But we insist on buying at half or worse, lower prices. Some even step back into their cars and drive off. Sometimes, because half bread is better than none, the poor women call you back and give you the commodity at a little or no gain, and you drive off smiling. In her heart, she cries, she worries about what her children will eat. She manages to reassure herself that God will surely provide.

As you happily chop the juicy banana, take a minute and think. There is a poor widow with 12 hungry children to feed, a mother of eight with an unsupportive drunkard for a husband, and the poor children looking for money to get medicine for their ailing mother. I am saddened by women and children who hawk petty goods on the streets, to support and fed their families. Please desist from bargaining too hard with small vendors. They do business not to buy designer clothes and perfume but to survive. The little money earned on a lucky day is spent on food, medical bills, finances and rent. Think about it, can KES 50 be sufficient to cater for all these needs? You are fortunate enough to be in a better situation and with the purchasing power. Consider others, especially the needy.

“He who gives to the poor lends to His maker.”

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