For this time, I decided to do something different and interview sellers in the market. For my location, I chose the market of UPN, route de Matadi. It’s a big market with everything you could look for. From fruits, vegetables, clothes and much more.
You can get there by either a taxi or a bus. If you don’t know how, you could ask people around you or just read the sign on the bus or ask taxi drivers. Don’t panick, you won’t get lost. Here, in Kinshasa, like in so many places, sometimes getting people to talk about their daily lives and what they do isn’t the easiest thing, but with some effort and patience, you can find what you want and get your job done. I was lucky enough to find sellers who were willing to share a part of their day to day life with me. The first one agreed to an interview and a picture of her products but not a personal picture. She’s a midlle aged woman who speaks good french and of course Lingala annd seemed civilized enough to understand what I was doing and help me. So here’s my first interview with her.
Me: Good morning, I’d like to do a quick interview with you for visiterlafrique. It won’t take long
Seller: Sure. You can ask me whatever you want
Me: What do you sell?
Seller: Palm and vegetable oil
Me: How long have you been selling for?
Seller: Two years
Me: Do you have any children?
Seller: Yes, five.
Me: Do you sell elsewhere or solely here?
Seller: Solely here
Me: What do you like most in Kinshasa?
Seller: People pray a lot and believe in God and the fact that parents are always willing to send their kids to school, even when they have little or no money. They would fight for their children’s education
Me: Do you see a lot of tourists here?
Seller: Not really. Tourists are mostly in downtown
Me: What’s your favorite local dish?
Seller: Pundu, fufu and makayabu
Me: What product sells best?
Seller: Both. Because most dishes here are cooked with palm oil and vegetable oil is used to fry things.
Me: How many customers do you receive per day?
Seller: Sometimes up to 300
Me: Are there days when you don’t sell well?
Seller: Yes, those are the days when I go to church and pray. On Sundays I never work
Me: Which province do you come from?
Seller: I come from Bandundu
Me: Is it important for a woman to be independant?
Seller: Yes, it is very important
Me: What’s an important lesson you’ve learned as a seller?
Seller: I’ve learned to enjoy and keep my independancy no matter what because as I started working, I realized that I don’t need to rely on my husband for an income. I earn my own money and can pay my children’s school fees and their transportation and feed them.
Me: Do you think that tourism is important?
Seller: Yes, very important to promote one’s country or city.
Me: Do you think that Kinshasa has changed over the years?
Seller: A lot. It has done a great deal of changes. In the past, women were more dependant of their husbands but now, they’re not anymore. They work on their own and feed their families. That in itself is a great evolution.