The plastic cap off a bottle of water, a twist of paper and a woven reed mat to serve as a tray are all that widow Fina Bota, 32, needs to sell roasted peanuts and earn a simple living in Mozambique's capital, Maputo.
"I am a mother of two children and I live in Maxaquene district in Maputo. I was born here, in Maputo. I sell roasted peanuts every day and I have been doing this for as long as I can remember, since I was a very young girl. My husband died two years ago and I am a widow.
"Every day I go to buy my peanuts at a nearby market called Bella Rosa. I buy peanuts worth 65 meticals [US$2.50] and take them home, where I add salt and roast them over a charcoal stove. On a good day I expect to make a profit of 50 meticais [$1.90].
"A blue bottle cap measures peanuts worth 1 metical [3 US cents]. When a client buys more than one cap I simply count the number of caps, and if the customer buys for 5 meticais [15 US cents] I use a bigger bottle cap, like those used for perfumes or hair lotions.
"When my husband died two years ago he left me with two children. Both of them are girls. My first-born daughter is called Amelia and is 16 years old and learning at a nearby government school. Joanna, my second-born daughter, is only six years old, but she has also started to go to school.
"The money that I raise through selling peanuts is not enough for my needs and the needs of my two children. My children always need money for school materials like uniforms, school books, and pens and pencils.
"The house where I stay is not mine, so every month I have to pay rent of 300 meticals [$11.30]. Each day I need to budget 10 meticals [30 US cents] for onions and tomatoes, 20 meticais [60 US cents] for rice, and another 10 meticais [30 US cents] for bread in the morning.
"This year the cost of living, especially basic commodities such as rice, is very high compared to previous years, and that also makes my life difficult.
"I have lived all my life in Maputo, and one day I would like very much to have my own piece of land where I can farm my own crops, but right now I have to keep on working like this until my life changes."
This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions
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