The economic recession has broken every barrier and limitation to survival. There, no business interest or field of endeavour is the exclusive reserve of any gender for now. ENCOMIUM Weekly interviewed some female tricyclists, they told us their pains and gains.
IRON LADY, tricyclist at Ogba, Lagos, said she had to go into the business just to make money to cater for her children since her husband left her for another woman. “This Keke Marwa business is not easy but we had to do it so we can cater for our children and also pay some bills.”
She added that the men around her are very supportive. “They are like our backbone,” she said.
Popular at the Ogba park, Iron Lady said the business doesn’t disturb the upbringing of her children, because she doesn’t work all day.
She told ENCOMIUM Weekly that she only works in the morning and in the evening, so she can rest and have time for her children. She said “I wake my children up very early in the morning around 5:30am and bath for them and also when I am going to the park, I take them along with me so I can drop them at their school. When it’s around 2pm, I come back home to prepare their food and also I go to pick them up from school and I stay with them till around 4:30pm before I go back to work.” She also added that she closes by 10pm so that she could rest and also take care of her children.
About the gains, saying the makes up to N2,500 per day and she buys drug from it and also do contribution and take care of her children from the money she makes.
She said the only challenge she has is with the law enforcement and sundry government officials. Sometimes I have to behave like a man so that they will not cheat me.
She also said she wish to buy more of the tricycles so as to make more money and also to create employment for some people. She said that it takes courage to be a female tricyclist because you will see some accident that will make you want to quit. It takes courage and God to continue.
ENCOMIUM Weekly interviewed another female rider, MAMA G at the Agege park and she said what took her into the business was the death of her husband. She said her husband was the one operating the tricycle before, but when he died the tricycle was useless until I gave someone to operate for me and deliver 3,000 daily. But he was delivering N800 instead. That prompt her to ride it herself.
She said, “My first day as a tricycle rider was very discouraging because people didn’t want to board my Keke because I am woman. But other women rider boosted my morale and I decided to continue riding it.”
People also encouraged me to keep it up while some gave me extra money for a good ride.
She also added that it is not easy to be a female tricyclist because there are some problems that come up between her and some male tricyclists and you just have to shout so that they can leave you alone.
She also spoke about the area boys that collect money from tricyclists. She said, sometimes they harass her and collect money from her.
“They don’t even want to know if you have not made money. Traffic warders are also another problem. They arrest unlawfully.”
Mama G explains how she copes with her children and her job. She said, “I get them dressed in the morning and I go back to pick them in the afternoon and take them to my sister’s place. When I close from work by 10pm, I will go and pick them.”
She also he said, she doesn’t work on weekends so that she could relax. “Male operators have been very supportive,” she said.