Open markets are on almost every street corner in Ghana; in fact, the country plays host to what is commonly known as the second largest open market in West Africa, which is in Kumasi.
Depending on the location, a salesperson on a market street could come across hundreds of people every day. However, many people do not actually stop to think how hard the vendors work to be able to sell their goods.
As many people know, the typical workday is normally around the hours of 8:00 a.m., to 5:00 p.m. But that is not the case for most of the street vendors. They are there in the morning when people are going to work and are there long after most people get off.
The vendors are trying to make a living, like everybody else, so they can provide for their family. Yet most people will try to bargain with them to get the price down to levels where the vender can barely make a profit. They do this without even thinking about what the effect it has on the vender and the family.
Tatten Ago, a fruit vender near the junction at Okponglo, is at the market more than most of the other vendors. She is at the market from dawn to well after dusk. To be exact, that is from 7:00 A.M. to 9:00 P.M. That is a 14-hour day, which does not include her commute time; she does this routine six days per week. Fortunately, one day per week, usually Saturday, her hours are cut back.
“I do this to take care of my children, so I can put food on the table, clothes on their back and provide them shelter,” said Ago.
Unfortunately, Ago does not have access to her own fruit; therefore, she has to take a taxi to a fruit market to pick up fruit and then take a taxi back to her own fruit stand, making it more difficult for her. She usually will take the trip to the fruit market at 8:00 o’clock in the morning, and if it gets busy she will have to take another trip in the afternoon.
Some of the fruit vendors have access to their own fruit, so they just have to get it to their stand in morning.
Vendors also face another challenge because they are constantly moving around. Ago has been at her station for three months now, which is longer than most vendors.
A view inside of Stephen Nelson’s shoe shop
Stephen Nelson, a shoe vender at the same market, has been selling shoes for about two years, but has moved to numerous stands. He has been next to Ago for about one month now.
Having a stand at open markets is more of a challenge, but there are more pros than cons at the end of day.