Name: Lorpu Kah
Location: Monrovia, Liberia
Does your spouse/partner live with you? Yes.
What is your primary job? Market trader.
What is your monthly salary? $300.from $200
What is your household’s total income - including your partner’s salary, and any additional same sources? $400.
How many people are living in your household - what is their relationship to you? We are six including my new husband. from five - three children and my brother
How many are dependent on you/your partner's income - what is their relationship to you? The whole household relies on my and my husband's income.
How much do you spend each month on food? Well over $150. from $110
What is your main staple - how much does it cost each month? Rice. My family size has increased so I spend $70 on a bag of rice each month. But it is not enough to last the month.
How much do you spend on rent? $50 on a two-bedroom house. $40 on a two-bedroom house
How much on transport? [Prices] are up now, so I spend $30 on transport.
How much do you spend on educating your children each month? $80. Two of my children attend private school, which is expensive. from $60
After you have paid all your bills each month, how much is left? $20, sometimes nothing.
Have you or any member of the household been forced to skip meals or reduce portion sizes in the last three months? It is usual. We have to skip meals many days to sustain the family.
Have you been forced to borrow money (or food) in the last three months to cover basic household needs? From my brother. You know, things are hard in this country. Your income alone cannot end the month with you. So you certainly have to borrow money. That’s the only way you can make it. So yes! I borrow money and pay it back with 10 percent interest.
“My new husband lives in Monrovia, so I and the kids were forced to move to Monrovia. Things are expensive here. We even have to buy gallons of water before we can cook and use the bathroom. Monrovia life is hard.
“But my new husband and I are up to the task of running the household. The kids are still in school, and I am still selling my vegetables in central Monrovia. Business is doing fine. At least I make a better profit than before. But I have to work hard for my goods to be sold. There is more competition in Monrovia. My kids [Tom, Jerry and Tomah, ages 24, 18 and 15] and my husband’s two girls, Sarah and Findah, are all doing fine.
“I am still left with only $20 extra each month. Sometimes, if I am not careful, I run out of cash. It has happened before, and I ran into problems.
“Right now I am investing in my kids. They are my future. I am trusting and hoping that when they graduate from school the country will be working better, and they will get good jobs and help me, too.
“I am not too sure when things will improve in the country. Every day there is corruption news. If the government is not stealing, then the president is giving her children top government jobs. This is frustrating.
“If all goes well with my business, I would want to take some time off and attend nursing school. I really want to be a nurse and cater to humanity and make some money. But I don’t know whether I will realize my dream.”
*Exchange rate as of 26 June, with 1 US$ trading at 77 Liberian Dollars (LRD)