Millicent Wanyama – Breadcrumb seller, Kenya (June 2013)

Name: Millicent Wanyama

Age: 35

Location: Baba Dogo, Nairobi

Does your spouse/partner live with you? No, he is dead.

What is your primary job? Selling bread crumbs and doughnuts.
What is your monthly salary? 8,500 shillings ($99) from 5,000 shillings ($58)

What is your household’s total income - including your partner’s salary, and any additional same sources? 8,500 shillings ($99) from 5,000 shillings ($58)

How many people are living in your household - what is their relationship to you? Eight people, which includes me and my seven children.

How many are dependent on you/your partner's income - what is their relationship to you? My children, and at times I send a small amount of money back home to my mother.

How much do you spend each month on food? 5,000 shillings ($58). from 4,000 shillings ($47)

What is your main staple - how much does it cost each month? Maize flour, which costs 150 shillings ($1.74) per kilogram-packet $15.
How much do you spend on rent? 1,000 shillings ($12). from 800 shillings ($9)

How much on transport? I walk to work every day.
How much do you spend on educating your children each month?About 1,500 shillings ($17) because they go to a government school, which is highly subsidized.
After you have paid all your bills each month, how much is left? I always keep aside 50 shillings ($0.58), which I take to my ‘chama’ (pooled-saving group), and I save 300 shillings ($3.49) in readiness for my daughter joining form one next year.
Have you or any member of the household been forced to skip meals or reduce portion sizes in the last three months? Yes, we forgo lunch, but now I make sure my children can take tea with milk in the morning.
Have you been forced to borrow money (or food) in the last three months to cover basic household needs? Yes, but many times when I don’t have money, I buy foodstuff on credit from the local sellers and pay later or provide services to them as a way of paying them.

No change
Millicent Wanyama
"I hope the government will keep its promise to reduce the cost of food"
NAIROBI, June 2013 (IRIN) - When she first told IRIN her story, Millicent Wanyama, a 35-year-old widowed mother of seven, was living in the sprawling Ngomongo slums in the Kenyan capital Nairobi.

Five months later, she is living in Baba Dogo, another informal settlement not far from her previous home.

“I moved from Ngomongo just before the election because I feared there would be violence there.

“This is also still a slum, but my life is now a little better. The last time you visited me, I was living in a tin-walled house. Now, this is a single room, but the walls are concrete and it more spacious.

“I still sell my bread crumbs, and because the times are hard for many people, people buy my breadcrumbs more because they can’t afford the normal loaf of bread [a loaf of bread still costs 45 shillings, US$0.50, and Millicent sells her breadcrumbs for 21, or shillings $0.24]. It is good business for me. Now I also sell doughnuts, and I earn more than before.

“Now with the doughnuts, my profit is higher. In one month, I can make about 8,500 shillings [$99], which is higher than the 3,000 shillings [$35] I used to make before.

“But when it comes to food, things are still very hard because prices are not coming down. So even when your income improves, it is eaten up by the expenditure on food.

“I still save part of my income to help me pay for school fees later for my children. This year, my first born will sit for her primary school examinations, and when she passes her exams, she will join form one. I want to prepare for that.

“We have a new government, and they are promising free education and healthcare, but you can’t believe that. You have to be ready to pay for it when the government fails to do it.

“I hope the government will keep its promise to reduce the cost of food.”


*Exchange rate as of 26 June 2013 (86 Kenyan shillings to US$1)

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