BUUMBA CHIMBULU writes
VAIDA Phiri, a 57 year old woman of Lusaka’s Ng’ombe Township goes round the compounds to pick used plastic bottles and packs for Shake Shake. It is through this venture that she makes enough money for her daily needs.
‘Mbuya’ Vaida has not let people’s mockery stop her from conducting her business.
She has taken advantage of an initiative put in place by the Zambian Breweries called Manja Pamodzi which started in August of 2015 with an ambitious vision to clean up the environment while simultaneously empowering men, women and youths who possess an entrepreneurial drive.
‘Mbuya’ Vaida was awarded the second best ‘picker’ under this initiative.
THE SUN: Who do you live with?
MBUYA VAIDA: Ninkala namwana wanga anisunga.
THE SUN: When did you join the business?
MBUYA VAIDA: I have clocked three years in this business
THE SUN: Tell us about the business
MBUYA VAIDA: Ine nimayenda kudoba. Nikauka kuseni niyenda nidoba, naku ma plots nimafika. Naku road kuja ku tank nima fika. Kuma yadi konse nimafika
Nika doba nibwela kuno kunyumba kuyamba kulonga manje nakusanka.
Nifaka ya Maheu, Chibuku, manzi na tuma drinks, vonse pa yeka.
Tikasiliza manje tiyamba Kumanga nakutenga transport yopeleka kwinangu kwe babwela ba Zambian Breweries.
(I pick plastics in the morning from the road, from the township and other areas. We then sort the plastics and pack separately. After this we take to Zambian Breweries drop off point.)
THE SUN: What time do you wake up and start picking the used bottles?
MBUYA VAIDA: Nimauka 05:00 hrs elo kufika kuma 09:00 hrs ninshi nakwanisa five bags then nakomboka nankala. Penangu nimakwanisa seven bags in a day pamene kulibe kazuba.
(I start my day at 05 hours and get back home by 09hrs. I manage to fill seven big bags for used bottles a day when it is not hot.)
THE SUN: How much profit do you make from your business?
MBUYA VAIDA: Ba Zambian Breweries bamatipimila ma kgs. So profit ichita depend pama kgs but imapita pa K100 every day.
THE SUN: How do you use your money?
MBUYA VAIDA: Ndalama nimasebenzesela kugula unga, malasha, Ndiyo na soap. Imanitandizila maningi.
Batiseka akuti ndise vipuba ati tichita monga ndise ofunta. Pamene tiyenda tidoba so bamaseka maningi. (People in the compounds laugh at us and call us fools for going round picking used bottles and boxes.)
THE SUN: What advice would give to people who stay home for fear of doing a business believed to be embarrassing to others?
MBUYA VAIDA: Ine chimene nibauza nati ine chimene nidobela ivi chimanitandiza mu umoyo wanga. Sinipempa salt, sinipempa unga, sinipempa malasha olo saop. Vamene vija vimanitandizila vonse vamene nimafuna.
THE SUN: Your last words regarding your business.
MBUYA VAIDA: Business yanga iyenda bwino chabe. Ine nikondwela nayo. Nikwanisana nayo pamene izasila panvu ndiye pamene nizaleka. Ngati nilinapanvu nizapitiliza. (I will only stay away from this business when I stop having enough strength, otherwise, I will continue with it.)