Demonstrating how innovative some citizens have become during the COVID-19 pandemic, 40-year-old Marion Hamilton-Pemberton has been using a baby stroller as a storefront to peddle goods in Port-of-Spain.
For the past two months, the mother of three has been performing double duties.
She sells sweets, wafers and chocolates displayed on the canopy of a stroller while taking care of her one-year-old son Olton inside the pram.
Before COVID-19 pandemic, Hamilton-Pemberton sold hand and body creams in her Barataria hometown.
She also braided people’s hair and held down a permanent job for ten years as a clerk for a snacks company.
When the baby came, she gave it all up.
“The thing is, I can’t go and look for a work knowing that I have to see about my baby now. So I decided to come out and sell….start my own business. I just didn’t want to get lazy in the house. I wanted to be productive. You have to make it somehow,” she said.
She said life has been challenging with COVID-19 but she has been following the health protocols to ensure the safety of herself and that of her baby while selling in a public space.
“ You have to be sanitising and wearing your mask all the time. You also have to put shame aside. Not everybody can stand up in public and sell.”
The money she earns pays her bills.
Two months ago, Hamilton-Pemberton began showcasing and selling the snacks using the pram as a stall.
She became creative by utilising the top of the stroller to display her goods while looking after Olton seated inside.
Most days she can be seen plying her trade on Charlotte Street with her baby in tow.
Olton’s father, she said maintains him.
With Christmas around the corner, Hamilton-Pemberton said she wants to sell perfumes to make some additional cash.
Hamilton-Pemberton said her day begins at the crack of dawn.
She would do her laundry, clean and prepare lunch.
After eating breakfast, she would head into town armed with the stroller, baby, bags containing the baby’s supplies and snacks.
“I would put the stroller in the trunk of the taxi and go into Port-of-Spain. That is why I sell only small items because I have to tote everything.”
On a good day, Hamilton -Pemberton said she would rake in $100 in sales.
“It’s a task to sell with a baby. You have to be on your feet for long hours until somebody buys something. There are days when you know people don’t have money. They just not buying. Then, there are times you have to give Olton full attention.”
She admitted that some people would not buy but would give her money as a donation.
Hamilton-Pemberton said two things prevent her from selling- the rain and when Olton starts to get agitated.
“Sometimes when he starts to cry I would walk around town with him inside the stroller to try and get him to hush.”
As she attended to a customer, Olton who was playing with two plastic toys in the stroller began to fuss and fret.
Then he began to scream, as the midday sun pierced his skin.
Hamilton-Pemberton immediately dug inside a bag and pulled out a bottle of juice which she gave him in a bid to calm him down.