The current ban on informal markets is taking its toll on families.
“My purpose in life has been stifled. I rely on money earned from my market to feed my family”.
Lia Rauna is the mother of six children. Her two older children used to attend high schools back in her home province of Malaita.
Today, she removed them from school as she cannot pay for their school fees and upkeep anymore.
Like all other vendors, Lia was not allowed to carry out her income earning activity in the city.
Since a state of emergency was declared, vendors like Lia are ordered to close their markets and stop what they are doing in the name of ‘social distancing’.
With the state of emergency, Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare ordered that all informal markets in Honiara must stop to avoid large public gatherings.
While the threat of COVID-19 remains, for Lia it is the threat of food security, loss of income and livelihood.
With this thought in mind, she built another makeshift stall, close to the shops at the Kukum market.
Her stall was destroyed and her belongings removed.
“I have been here for a few years now. Mainly my small income earning activity is to support my family in their daily needs. I did save some money for school fees and for emergencies, but with the ongoing ban, I am now struggling to meet our daily needs”, Lia said.
She said responsible authorities should be empathetic and allow at least a location in the city for them to continue with their market.
It had been a month now since this ban was effective. With restrictions in their income earning activity, Lia is worried for her children’s future.
“I do not know what my children will eat the next day”, she said.
Currently Honiara City Law Enforcement officers are on the lookout for illegal market stalls.
Betel nut selling on the street is now deemed illegal and vendors caught selling these nuts along the streets will be arrested if caught.
Today for Lia she has no choice. Life must go on.