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Widow ekes a living by collecting used beverage containers

Providing basic needs can be a demanding task for a mother from a humble background forcing one to work extra hard due to financial pressure that comes along even when it means taking a risk.

This is the case for Elemina Lulo, a widow aged 47 residing at Kisoiywo Village in Nandi Hills Sub County who spends her day at Nandi Hills dump site collecting and breaking discarded empty alcohol bottles and gathering them into sacks.

Lulo, a mother with five children and three grandchildren, risks having injuries from breaking the glass bottles just to ‘keep the wolf from the door’.

According to the widow, life has pushed her to the wall offering her no choice other than venturing into the dump site to find something that could bring food on the table for the entire family that depends on her.

Narrating her story to KNA at her work place, Lulo says that she saw this as an opportunity that many people despised especially because of the risk factor but to her, it is better than begging on the streets.

“Feeding a family of nine has been a real struggle for me, especially with the strains of the current economy. I cannot sit and wait to die yet there is an opportunity that can generate income despite the jeopardy associated with the unhygienic environs,” she said.

Lulo who wakes up every morning like any other person with a white collar job, says that she has been doing this job for the last four years with her main market being the recycling buyers who ferry the shattered glass to cities like Nairobi and Mombasa where they are recycled and converted to glass bottles, glass tiles and abrasives.

Lulo says the buyers pay her Sh300 per tonne and she manages to gather at least 10 tonnes per trip amounting to 20 tonnes per month adding that the business is not paying well but being the only opportunity for her, she has to take it.

She noted that apart from earning a living, she considers this work as a way of attaining a clean and safe environment.

“Life is unpredictable. Women should strive to be independent to avoid being beggars when situations dictate that you are the bread winner. It takes hard work and perseverance to earn a living but it is better than being dependent on others,” noted Lulo.

By Ruth Mainye and Fabian Kiplimo

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