Working Lives Kenya: Trader

WATCH: Roseline Awino says Nairobi's poor have to fend for themselves

Roseline Awino does so many jobs to get by, that she doesn't know quite how to describe herself.

But she smiles a lot - in spite of the difficulties of daily life.

"It's a tough life," she says, "but you have to eat, the children need to eat. What should I do?"

Ms Awino lives in one of Nairobi's informal settlements - or slums - like hundreds of thousands of other Kenyans calling Nairobi home. And she works very hard, selling everything from corn on the cob to high-heeled shoes. She usually earns between $40 and 50 (£25 to £30) a month.

There is almost no safety net for those on very low incomes in Kenya. She says: "My friends can help me when I am down, but nobody from government knows me."

First thing in the morning, there is food to be prepared. Not to feed the extended family she supports, but to sell in the market for money.

Then, she goes quickly on to her next job.

"Rosie's our mother," say the members of Kenyan pop band Sauti Sol, hugging her when she turns up for work. Roseline looks after their bachelor pad, cleaning and washing their clothes.

But she can't stay to chat. She has to get home to set up her shoe shop, an improvised pop-up, or - more accurately - spread-out - store. It is basically a blanket on the ground with the high-heels and flats neatly dusted and displayed.

She can only imagine working in an office one day."I am dreaming about it. I will be happy, very happy. I know in the office I can earn a lot." She adds she would like to earn enough to pay someone to look after her in the future.


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