6 days ago
Wednesday, 1 July 2009
This post is part of the series 'Gettin' By'. Read this for explanation.
Profession: Coconut Seller
How it works: Coconuts come to Monrovia packed into trucks and cars from villages all around the country. The outer husks have been hacked off with machetes, to reduce size and weight. Sellers are generally old women, who carry up to 25 or 30 on their head (which is psycho heavy), or young men who can carry up to 80 in wheelbarrows.
Every seller carries a machete, allowing them to split the coconuts for anyone who stops them as they walk through the streets. They wait patiently as buyers drink, split the coconut to access the meat, take the empty shell, and move on.
Cash: Street sellers buy them wholesale for around $10 LD ($0.14 US), or '2 for 15' [$LD] at spots around the city. Coconuts generally retail for $20 LD. Meaning that to make a dollar, 7 coconuts must be sold - roughly 15 pounds of weight.
Variables and Dangers: Insanely sore neck, machete wounds.
Net Profit: For female sellers, they rarely earn $ 5 US /load. Some will take more than one load per day, but it is rare, as they often have families to tend to, and business can be slow.
Wheelbarrow men can earn over $10 US/day, but this kind of profit demands a 10 hour day.
Point of Reference: used T-shirt sold on the street costs $ 1 - 3 US