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|‘Dirty Red Light at night’: Filth Takes Over Busy Paynesville Commercial Hub||| Print ||
|Written by Tecee Boley, email@example.com|
|Monday, 24 December 2012 00:13|
Paynesville City - It’s hot and very dark tonight in Monrovia’s largest commercial district of Red Light in Paynesville. At about 9 PM, the only thing visible through the thick darkness are huge piles of garbage.
In Red Light enormous rats move swiftly through plastic bags, dirty water, and over rags that have a foul odor, to dine on piles of rotten food.
On a normal business day, about 30,000 people walk through the congested market area. But the preparations for the festive season every year increase the number by about 10% of marketers and consumers alike. People come from the hinterland to sell produce, buy salt, clothes and goods to sell back home.
When all is said and done at the end of the day, the streets lay filthy and quite while the dew of the night fails on them until its 10:PM when the Paynesville City Corporation (PCC) moves in with trucks, other equipment and casual laborers to clean up.
Sanitation in Liberia such a serious problem that in 2008 the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that 18 percent of all deaths throughout the country were a result water and sanitation related illnesses.
In an interview with New Narratives President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf acknowledged the poor sanitary conditions throughout the country.
“As you know many people came into the urban areas for safety, they are in rime shackle houses that don’t have sanitation facilities. So we’ve been trying to build latrines in most of the places, but we have to move from that to a place where people in their homes have access to proper sanitary conditions.”
Soon small tagger generators light the street where the laborers are preparing for tonight’s duties. 48-year-old Mary Peter, a worker for the PCC, sweeps with all her might.
Her small graceful hands hold on to the broom as she smiles and thanks her lucky stars for being one of the 118 casual laborers the PCC hired.
“I started work here since January,” says Mary. “Before that time things was hard for me. My children Father left me with all four of them. I have to work every night. It is better than sitting down for nothing and staying hungry. At least two of my children are now in school.”
Mary makes 1800 Liberian dollars which is about 25 United States dollars every two weeks. She has not been to school before therefore she would put in the category of “vulnerable employment” according to recent Labor survey report by the Ministry of Labor and the Liberia Institute of Statistics and Geo-Information Services.
About 78.4 percent of the entire population of Liberia is “vulnerable employed”, an indicator that is defined most as people who are employed on unsustainable jobs.
Despite the fact that the money is not enough to sustain them, Mary and friends see their jobs as golden opportunity. On the left of Mary 28 year-old Saitta Marsh sings while she works. She is also responsible for sweeping the streets at night while most of those who make huge here profits sleep.
“I have a five-year-old daughter to take care of,” Saitta says. “Rent to pay, clothes to buy and food to provide every day for two of us. So I have to come to work.”
But tonight all is not well. She lifts her head and sees fire in the pile of dirt ahead of her. “Ah God how will I clean that dirt? Dey people them now put fire there again.”
Fire is just one obstacle sometimes the piles of dirt soaked with water says Cyvette Gibson, City Mayor of Paynesville.
“It is difficult to do because you have to make sure the temperament of the ground ok when there is so much water. You have to carry a Caterpillar there. It is not dirt you can move with your hand or shovel.”
Bringing the Caterpillar to carry the dirt and the fueling the generator and the trucks cost the PCC about US$1,000 per night. Amidst all of this the marketers themselves seem not to be making life easy for PCC says Mayor Gibson.
“We have to work in the every night from 10PM to 5 AM because the market is open every single day,” says the Mayor. "
“Because this is about the whole country Red Light is where food comes in to the city from the hinterland.”
|Last Updated on Monday, 24 December 2012 08:24|