October 24, 2021

INFO 10

THE TRUTH IN BLACK AND WHITE

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Fruit Vending has been my gateway out of poverty

The story of Melchoir Blake

 By Sheldon Fraser-Sealey

MELCHOIR BLAKE

“Taking care of my family is my number one priority.  It is hard but I have to get out there and work.”  Those were the words from a popular fruit vendor in Linden, Melchoir Blake, who hails from Block 22 Wisroc, Wismar, Linden. According to him, life was not easy growing up. The same could be said for his other siblings.  As a young man he did not want to become a delinquent, so he decided to engage himself gainfully.  Not having a sound educational background, Melchoir took to the streets to earn a daily bread, hence he started a fruit vending business. This energetic young man vends fruits at the Mackenzie Market. He purchases from wholesale vendors in Georgetown and sells them back at retail price. “I did not always have such an organised stall; I had a pull cart in the early days,he said and that hard work was the key to his transition.

The decision to become a fruit vendor did not come without challenges but he has been enduring and braving the storms, in an effort to earn the legal way. “Firstly, the cost of travel to and from Linden to Georgetown is financially strenuous. Secondly, the weather gives me a hard time, as I have to battle with the heavy downpours. As you know in Guyana we have two rainy seasons and two dry seasons, so sometimes it is hard to predict when it will rain.” Enduring losses is also one of his biggest challenges, since fruits are perishable goods.

Thirdly, there are three other fruit stalls in the same area, so, to effectively target potential customers, young Blake has to open his fruit stand from as early as 07:15 hrs. Melchoir stated that most of the time when his stand is closed, it is because he is at home recuperating from a previously hard day’s work. This young entrepreneur is usually attired in a white vest and jean pants. He states that his reason for dressing that way is because it keeps him cool when the weather is hot.

His upbeat and jovial personality attracts customers to his stand. Serving customers is Melchior’s number one priority. Ever so often he can be observed giving them their money’s worth. “I always serve with a smile and sometimes give my customers extra for their dollar,” he said.

In the next three to five years, I can see myself opening a grocery store. Young Blake hopes that his plans become a reality as this will provide employment for other young people like himself. He added, “This will keep them off the street and from being idle.”

Melchoir recently became the father. As a result he has to place more emphasis on taking care of himself and his family. “Everything I do, I do it with pride and joy and I am thankful to the Heavenly Father for life, my family and for the business.   I think that once persons have the financial support, it is possible for them to get involved in ventures like these.”

“I have even had advice from persons about opening an account at the New Building Society. In that way I can get money for my grocery store.”

This entrepreneur has a bright future and should be complimented. Despite his earlier challenges, he defied the odds, and creates a positive image for himself and his family and other young people, who may be interested in starting their own business. He can be seen as a role model for his community and his country.