Legit.ng had an interesting encounter with Yinusa, a middle-aged woman who makes a living by scavenging at Oto Ilogbo slum in Ebute metta, Lagos. The slum dweller spoke about her struggles and explained how she has been able to make ends meet by picking things considered to be waste products and reselling them.
Yinusa was found in a dump site where she works daily to make a living. The woman had rain boots on and dressed casually as her work entails searching through thrashed contents and finding things that could be used by her family or sold in order to make money.
According to her, she has been scavenging for over twenty years in a bid to survive. She told Legit.ng correspondent that she had seen tough times and the challenges that made her become a scavenger.
I used to scavenge with my children - Slumdweller | Legit TV
Yinusa who had accepted her fate and has come to terms with what life has thrown her way said that she has suffered a lot.
She stressed that the hardship she has been through pushed her into doing this job as she was a meat seller before. When she was no longer making profit from selling meat and was almost in debt, she had to quit. The strong woman also claimed she had her fair share of doing business but council representatives harassed traders so much that she lost interest in it.
When asked if her husband was in support of her job, Yinusa confessed that she had a hard time telling him. However, when he started questioning her early morning movement, she had to come out with the truth. She revealed that the job she does is not something anyone would be proud of. Not everyone knows what she does for a living. Yinusa said that she is so discreet with it that only those she tells are in the know.
Legit.ng also got to know that she scavenged with her three children at some point. She said that her children stopped working with her after they gained admission into schools. She was proud to say that her children are in school and she does the scavenging work alone now.
Yinusa who spoke in Yoruba all through the interview with Legit.ng stated that the eldest of her children is a lady that is over thirty-five years old. The lady with the other children had tried to stop her from picking the floor but she did not pay any attention to them.
When asked why she decided not to heed the warning of her children, she said that she considers them too young to bear her burdens. She said they are also struggling and are yet to settle down; thus, she would not like to be a part of their problems. However, she said that she will make demands of them when she sees that they are financially buoyant and can take good care of her.
Yinusa picks nylon, bottles, empty plastic bottles, used clothes, broken containers and so on from dump sites. She sorts them and waits for those who need them to come and buy them off her. She revealed that it sometimes takes up to a year or two before she makes money from picking things. On a daily basis, she said she makes between five hundred naira and one thousand naira. As at the time the interview was conducted, she had not made anything and was getting ready to close for the day.
Yinusa lives at Alaba in Ajegunle area; she treks all the way from her house to the slum where she scavenges in Ebute metta. The hardworking woman reveals that she picks items that are useful as she walks.
She also showed the correspondent of Legit.ng the pieces of yam she picked. She had gathered the small pieces together and explained that she will make yam flour from them as soon as she peels them.
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