Market Life: Stroke doesn't stop vendor from earning a living

June 09, 2018
Lionel Rookwood/Photographer Madge Bernard, 63, shows off her produce.

Madge Bernard has been in the vending business for more than 10 years but illness is taking a toll on her bodily.

Bernard, 63, had to scale back on her duties as she suffered a minor stroke five years ago.

She told The STAR that this changed her life drastically, but she is trying to make the best of the situation given the circumstances.

"A Princess Street mi used to sell but because of the sickness me just affi a gwaan do this," she said.

Currently, Bernard sells at the Heywood Street market in downtown Kingston.

She said she has children and family members living in rural Jamaica, but she said that she is determined to help herself because she doesn't want to burden them.

"Mi have family members, man, but dem have their children too so mi just affi help myself," she said.

Bernard, who needs the assistance of a walker to get around, said that she often gets help with her load from a man in the market and she is very grateful because she can hardly manage the load.

"Is a man in yah help mi wid mi things a day time. Him carry mi pon the cart up the road and carry mi back," she said.

She now sells peppermint and cinnamon leaves as well as sweet pepper and nutmeg at her little stall.

She lays her produce on a tarpaulin in a small section of the market.

"The sweet pepper a $100 a pound and fi like the peppermint, mi sell it at $50 a bag," she said.

Bernard noted that sometimes market life isn't always rosy.

"A nuh all the time things good here, enuh. Mi nuh really get good business out here but through mi sick and can't walk mi affi stay right here. You have good days and bad days, but I have to make the best of it," she added.

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