Switching trades in the rainy season
RAIN or shine, life goes on and so does business, but many firms and their staff are adept at making the transition from wet to dry season and back again. They have to be. Take the velvet shoe business, for instance. Nobody wears velvet shoes in the rain.
Shoemaker Ma Thuzar, 25, who lives in Yankin township, said, “I’m working in a pet food shop on a fixed wage now. When I make and sell shoes I can choose my own time to work, but there’s no trade in the rainy season.”
Ma Ei Mon, 24, of South Okkalapa township, still buys from velvet suppliers to make accessories, but during the rainy season she makes most of her money selling food at a stall she has set up in front of her house.
“People don’t like to venture too far out of doors, so the stall is convenient for them. I sell traditional fried snacks. It brings in a bit of money, but making the rounds to buy the ingredients I need is very tiring,” she said.
But street vendors who prosper in the sunshine also prefer to find other work.
“This is my first rainy season since I opened a fruit juice shop,” said Ma Myint Myint, who lives in South Dagon township. “Business has fallen off and my income is down, so I also sell boiled noodles and salads with rice. I’m not used to the work and it isn’t easy,” she said.
Newspaper vendors who sell directly to traffic waiting at the lights must perform feats of juggling to keep their wares dry. And drivers don’t even like to open their windows when the rain comes down, said U Nyi Nyi, who lives in Hlaing Tharyar township and sells papers at the Dhammazedi traffic lights in Bahan township.
“We have to make sure the water doesn’t destroy the product,” he said.