4 February 2013

Cameroon: Dry Season Ushers in New Troubles

On Wednesday January 30, Carine N. a housewife living in Bonapriso, went to buy foodstuffs at the New Bell Central Market. After toiling from one shelf to another, she could not find "Huckleberry" vegetable that she had planned to cook for her family. She then opted for another choice, hoping it would be easier to find. She decided to cook Okro soup. But it was only after long hours of search and thanks to the benevolence of some traders who directed her that she found the sole Okro seller in the whole market. And as expected, the commodity was high-priced. Such is the atmosphere that prevails in most markets during the dry season. Perishable goods, especially vegetables, become rare and are sold at throat-cut prices, when available.

Another economic activity believed to record its peak during the period is car washing. A good number of car washing points have been created at the Bonanjo Post Office Roundabout. Contrary to beliefs, Roger T., a car washer, told CT that the dry season causes more harm than good to their occupation. He explained that amidst the high demand in car wash, water provision constitutes a major setback. This is because during the rainy season, most people are forced to wash their vehicles because the rains are accompanied with mud. Customers are even forced to wash both in and out which is more remunerative, costing FCFA 500. Water supply is abundant since the washers collect rainwater in big containers. Meanwhile during the dry season, the washing agents are obliged to fetch water in 20-litre jugs from nearby neighbourhoods, which is time and strength consuming. They complain about losing customers during their absence, in search for water. Worse still, most people prefer to wash just the outer part of their vehicles, when covered with dust, which costs between FCFA 200 and FCFA 300.

However, those who do brisk business presently include hawkers, laundry agents, and potable water vendors, among others in the economic capital.

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