Liberia’s Street Vendors Turn to Fellowshipping, Seeking Answers During Hard Times
Monrovia – Martha Roberts recalls an incident she says put her in her tracks. “One of my friends told me that one morning when she came out to put down her market, she saw a broken raw egg on the exact spot where she sells, claiming that it was a spiritual attack by the enemy to stop people from buying her market. So, for this reason, she they always have morning devotions before opening their markets.”
For Roberts and many street vendors, nothing comes easy and nothing is taken for granted as hardship continues to take its toll.
Whether it is the fear of spiritual attacks – or a good luck charm to bring blessing, vendors are divided over the latest trend of fellowship at the beginning of the market day.
Momolu P. Paul says he and his peers usually gather every morning between 10 and 11 am to commence their fellowship before they start selling, so that God can prevent them from falling into daily temptations. “Because Satan is moving around like a roaring lion seeking who to devour. So, in order not to fall into temptation, they gather to seek the face of God. The only way the devil will harm you is that when you are not putting in time with God, so whosoever says evil agents can plant evil to attack them, is their belief but I know the God I serve, can protects me from all evil,” Paul says.
Paul, who sells electrical appliances like fan, heaters and pressing irons on the corner of Randall and Benson streets, reveals that he was a man who spoiled money on girls and good time in the past, but since he became born again he decided share with my friends on the street, because when one knows God, he cannot keep it to himself.
For Paul, fellowshipping is a means to an end. “I believe through this fellowship, God is blessing us that people can buy our market, because before we can unpack our market, we first seek the face of God and say papa here we are once more, asking for your blessings in making good sales for the day and God can bless us one way or another.”
Unlike in the past, where street sellers and buyers go about their normal businesses, these days, the sounds of drums and sasa usually fill the air at nearly every street corner in Monrovia and its surroundings, where street vendors called “value boys” beauticians and wheelbarrow girls gather in fellowship to sing and listen to the gospel, before assembling their goods to sell.
A bystander noticed devotion sites where fellowships are taken place daily. Little canopies are set up, with a wooden podium that has a bible and a microphone to preach and a small trash basket to collect thanksgiving offerings.
At the Ashmun street fellowship center, Lorpu Helb, a beautician says, the fellowship has been going on for nearly two years now, bringing together many sellers from the street, who gathers to praise God and study the bible together. “The bible says, work while it is day because when night cometh, no one can work, which means while we are young, we should know God for ourselves because when night comes and we are old, we won’t be able to work for God as when we were in our youth.”
Alfred Swen, who also sells value clothes on Randal Street, was the preacher on a recent weekday, quoting scriptures and warning his fellow sellers, mainly the women, to desist from using false hair and wearing tight clothes that expose their body in a provocative way that would seduce men.
“I believe through this fellowship, God is blessing us that people can buy our market, because before we can unpack our market, we first seek the face of God and say papa here we are once more, asking for your blessings in making good sales for the day and God can bless us one way or another.”Momolu P. Paul, a street vendor in Monrovia
Swen says, they usually gather daily to know about the bible for themselves, so their eyes can be open – especially when business is not so good these days. “God has risen us to speak the truth of the gospel without compromising it. I have another fellowship on Randal Street but I take the time to spread the gospel to my friends because life without Christ is useless. The bible says; know your creator in the days of your youth, because God does not really look for the old people to serve him but the young men, so know your creator while it is day because at night, no man works,” he says.