It is hard enough being a single mother, the challenges posed by the pandemic makes a difficult situation worse.
Granty Rister is a 57-year-old single mother of four kids who sells her market produce at the Gizo market in the Western Province.
Originally from Simbo Island, she now resides with her four kids in Gizo – a move driven by the need to provide for her family.
Gizo is the capital of the Western Province, the second largest town in the country with a population of 6,154.
Gizo has enjoyed a steady stream of tourists mainly from Australia, with this comes much needed income for the locals.
Since the Covid-19 pandemic Granty says that everything has come to a near standstill, her customers have slowed, and tourists have stopped coming because of travel restrictions.
She says that she has reduced her daily harvest and continues to monitor the situation, but fears that the effects of the pandemic might drag for a few more years.
She says prior to the Covid - 19 her target has been SBD$400 per day, recently she has only been able to earn up to SBD$150 per day.
She says that with what she is earning now not much is left after expenses.
“From the SBD$150 I earn I have to pay for the SBD$20 per day as tax for the market, toilet is SBD$5 dollars per use, SBD$3 dollars per chair and SBD$40 dollars for the fuel per day, that’s most of my money gone.”
“I had plans that after this year I will build my own permanent house for my kids, this virus will delay my plans, but I will not give up,” a determined Granty said.
“I can no longer save money, what very little money I earn daily goes towards our daily need, such as food and basic items.”
Despite such challenges she remains optimistic. She continues to look for new buyers, and where possible help her relatives in Simbo sell their produce.
“I enjoy giving people chances, to make other people smile through this crisis though it is tough still I can do this.
“I want people to be able to have some income for the day, though small at least it brings a smile to their face, and we can hope for a better tomorrow,” she explained.
The informal sector has been hit hard when Covid-19 was declared a pandemic, for many this is their only source of household income.
The Markets are an essential source of income for many Solomon Islands households and women make up the majority of these market vendors.