I feel a pang of pity when they look in my direction in traffic. The hungry eyes… The beads of sweat running down their faces… as they hawk their goods under the burning heat of the sun, unashamed.

The hawker looks at you with expectations of your patronage; you look the other way to avoid his constant glances. He peers through the window of your vehicle,
he calls out his wares, flashing them in your face, hailing you, begging and pleading, whistling…
He won’t stop. You feel disturbed and you let out a long sigh of irritation. Apparently, you don’t need the stuff he has to sell. “Won’t you go away? I don’t want gala na”, you snarl, with disgust written on your face.

The hawker is undeterred. He has seen a lot of your type! He has developed a thick skin already.
Yet, he still nurses a faint hope that you just might change your mind and beckon on him.
” Gala!”..you scream. He sprints faster than Usain Bolt, with hopes of getting to you before other competitors.
He is filled with thanks and gratitude while making sales.

The hawker – a nobody! He gets lots of condescending treatments from Nigerians daily. Like when the Nigerian female in public buses collects his wares through the vehicle window and would take forever to rummage her hand bag for money.
When traffic clears and the vehicle speeds off; she makes him
chase hard…Either she flings the money at him or throws his wares in the air back at him without a care, because he couldn’t catch up.
The hawker is tagged a traffic offender, a nuisance, an eyesore in our society. As such, there are proposed laws to kick hawkers off our streets, in order to portray a very decent society.
But just like you, the hawker wants to earn a living because there are no viable options.

And you reading this, the hawker has been your life saver on several occasions.
Remember how relieved you felt when that chilled lacasera drink was handed to you, while you were crammed in that vehicle in traffic.

Happy holiday folks!

Image may contain: one or more people and people standing
 By Oluwanishola Akeju