Khabar Khair (Only Good News) – Dr. Nuha Nasser

   Peddling: a job in which women are known for in Yemeni cities, and they are active in rural areas, as rural women cannot go to the cities for shopping. Here, comes the importance of peddler women, who come to remote villages and rural areas, carrying (a bundle of clothes) on her head containing clothes, household tools, or various goods.

     Munira Muhammad told ” Khabar Khair (Only Good News)”, recalling memories of peddling Umm Mahmoud, who used to visit them in one of the villages of Taiz: “Whenever I see Umm Mahmoud’s bundle of clothes over her head, my heart flies for joy, because that bundle had always something for me.”

     Munira adds: ” peddler women, Umm Mahmoud, sits in front of our house, laying her heavy burden on the floor, my mom calls on her: come in, come in. With a cup of tea and a corn bread, I distribute my looks between my mother and Um Mahmoud, eagerly awaiting what this bundle holds for me. Umm Mahmoud smiled and asked me to sit next to her , the bundle of clothes was opened, and the embroidered dresses came out , and the colors were all over the place red, yellow, and green, and within that pile of clothing , Umm Mahmoud picked up a dress, and said: This is gorgeous Kadiya, try it on her, my mother put the dress on me, and as soon as I put it on, I was happy because I put on a new dress, and in her husky voice, Umm Mahmoud said, “Ma sha Allah, Ma sha Allah, Ma sha Allah, looks amazing.” And when my mom nods her head , I know for sure that she bought the dress, and this is when I should run all over the house and go to my grandma room whom smiles happily whenever she sees me showing her one of Um Mahmoud’s dresses, I ran to her room to show her one of Umm Mahmoud’s dresses.

     On the other hand, in south of Taiz, and in the city of Aden, where there many women are involved in  peddling, known in Yemen as dalala, which tells how a woman can achieve success in a field that may seem easy, Rabab tells Khabar Khair (Only Good News): , Peddling is not only a job, but it’s a set of social relationships that teaches you how to understand the environment you are dealing with, especially women, as this kind of work is associated with women and is directly connected to them, as they are our customers.”

     Rabab adds: “My relationship with my clients is not just a buying and selling relationship. Over time, I knew their tastes and what they needed, which makes me sure and comfortable that my goods have their clients and there is no way that I offer something for sale and is not sold.”

     When it comes to peddling, we see that the relationship based on communication between peddler women and their client took a different turn than concerning with meeting the needs of the most demanding clients, it’s a job directly related to working women, as they are mostly targeted. women. In addition, to the needs that peddler women provide which varies and includes all the needs of families and individuals from clothing, household items, cosmetic items, electronic tools…

      In the same context, “Monia” is a government employee in one of the institutions in Aden, and she also works as peddler woman, but her work as a peddler woman in this institution made her the most famous government employee there.

    I went into the government department in which Monia works and asked about the department in which she works. The employee in the office before hers, pointed saying: “The open wooden door down the hall there is her office.”

    I thought that the women gathered near the office to which the man pointed were waiting to finish their transactions, but I found a thirty-year-old woman behind a dilapidated office like all government offices, surrounded by women, bags and papers piled in files on the desk, she looked at me and smiled directly, I said hi to her, and I sat waiting until she finishes taking money from her clients or co-workers, writing down what she receives in the note book in front of her, and reminds them that they should stick to the date of the installment payment monthly.

     After the office got a little quieter, “Munia” started talking about her ability to balance between the administrative work and being a peddler woman.

      Monia says, “There is no discrepancy between State Service and my own business, and I am committed to my work and I’m doing my very best. On the other hand, I wanted to improve my own income, because the salary I receive at the end of each month is not enough.”

    And she added, “In the past, peddling was limited to selling specific things, mostly clothes. Today, if you want to continue with peddling and retain your position in this job, you must offer a various goods and be trendy and fashionable, because women today have other requirements, and different and varied tastes.”

    Monia added, ” peddler woman ‘s work is no longer limited to the peddler woman ‘s taste in choosing the things that she sells, but also depends on following everything new in the world of fashion, especially what is posted on social media sites, specifically Instagram.”

    Monia continued: “All peddler woman were selling in installments in the past, because the medium in which they sell is known, but now there are more ways for selling, and it is no longer necessary to know the peddler woman personally and meet with her, you can just be a member of WhatsApp or Facebook group, where the peddler women uses social media to offer their goods for sale, and the customer choose the piece that she likes and pays a deposit in advance, and as soon as the piece arrive, she receives it after she pays the rest of the money divided for months.

    With the rising prices in Yemen, and population’s low income, many families relied on peddler woman to provide their needs and the requirements of schools and Eids, when peddler woman provide all the needs of families in Yemeni cities, especially at the beginning of the school year or Eids and such happy occasions, as well as providing household items.

     A university professor at the University of Aden confirms that he provides his kid’s needs of school clothes and school supplies by buying them from peddler woman who lives with them in the same neighborhood.

    The professor said: ” After the collapse of the currency in Yemen to 1500 riyals per dollar, and the salary that I was receiving as a university professor fell from 1200 dollars (220,000) Yemeni riyals per month before the conflict in Yemen, to 160 dollars per month; the professor can no longer provide all the needs of his family from the salary he receives per month.

     He added: “This is the case of a university professor who receives high salary, so what about those in other professions who work in simple jobs who receive salaries that are not sufficient to meet their basic needs?! That is why everyone from medium and low incomes various working sectors incomes are peddler women’s clients.” .

    He pointed out that peddler women provide a great service to a large segment of Yemeni families, especially when they provide goods accompanied by an installment service for customers over two months or more.

      He concluded: “This makes it easier for us to balance our basic needs with the requirements of schools and universities, etc., and we can through peddler women provide many of our houses and children’s needs, at the time of the economic collapse that Yemen is experiencing.”

    Many peddler women continue to offer various goods and sell them to Yemeni families at prices that compete with the market and of acceptable quality, and for all people whether employees or a contractors, on the condition of paying in installments regularly according to the agreed  period that could extend for months, which makes a lot of goods accessible to everyone even if the price is high according to the installment system.

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Tamara Boulos

Tamara Boulos

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