What brought them?
For a lot of the respondents, both those who had migrated and those who hadn’t, street vending seemed to be the only job that was available to do. There were no other options. Street vending doesn’t require one to learn a trade to be able to start, and depending on what one wants to sell, it required very little capital to start, on a large option of streets. Street vending is also a quick way to make earnings and bettering themselves. It offers prospects for acquiring and financial and social capital necessary for their present and future life (Anyidoho & Ainsworth, 2009; Hashim, 2006). Again, for many of the young people on the streets, it appeared they had been swayed by the money involved in street vending. One respondent reports:
“… some of us when we go to our hometown we dress a lot to the under aged think that Accra is very easy. I know so many people who have stopped school for shoe shine in Accra because they want quick money”. (Joseph, 22, 2 years)
Concerning children of school-going age that are often found on the street, another respondent said: “This business is attracting children of school going age. Even though some claim they come to sell in order to get money for school fees, they are always here with us during even school session”. (Patric, 21, 6 months).
VIEWS ON STREET HAWKING
There were varying opinions concerning respondents’ views on street hawking. Some of the respondents mentioned many health problems that were related to street vending. There was the constant fatigue and tiredness that came with spending hours in the sun, and the catarrh and sore throat that came with the smoke from cars. Other respondents mentioned rather economic issues like not being able to save. For many, the street was all about survival; getting enough to see you through the day. As one respondent recounts:
“I make enough for my daily use. I cannot say anything in particular about other vendors but with my experience, I think they do get enough for their daily uses as well”. (Rose, 20, 5 years) There were however others that believed with hard work and savings, eventually, it is possible to excel on the streets.
“It is if you are focused on it....Some of the boys here have cars which they have given to drivers to work to demand’ WHERE THEY’RE GOING
Many of the respondents had either learnt a trade already or had started and had to end their training due to lack of resources, and so selling on the streets was either a way to get by or to try to save money to learn a trade. For some of the respondents, being on the street was an attempt to save money to go back to school or to learn a skill or profession. It was obvious though that none of the respondents wanted to do street vending for a living. For those that wanted to remain in trade, they aspired for ‘better’ trading conditions like getting shops or places at the markets or doing wholesale trade. But for many of the respondents, going back to school or learning a skill to earn them a better income was what they desired.
“I do not intend to continue to sell things on the street. What I want to do is to learn how to drive”. All the respondents had mentioned things they wanted to do someday. In some studies (Massey, Gebhardt, & Garnefski, 2009) researchers distinguish between goals and “wishes” by exploring what respondents are doing to achieve the things they say they want to achieve, and only consider as goals, those things that respondents are making efforts to achieve. Though one can argue that by being on the streets, the vendors could be said to be working towards their goals, very few of the respondents are able to save towards the future that they want. Very few of the respondents were working (e.g. saving) towards something, e.g. learning a trade or skill or going back to school. Street vending only allowed many of the vendors to save enough for their daily expenses and not allowed for savings.
“I make enough for my daily...
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