Security guard turns to selling to make a living

National

By PETER ESILA
TWELVE years ago Mek Kepelo had no thoughts of selling items in a market. Today he is a happy fruit vendor.
This shy Southern Highlander used to be a security guard but left the job and now sits with his wife Korai, who has been the main motivator behind his success in the market.
“Working for a salary is not enough because all of it goes to borrowed money and I had to wait again for another week to get the next pay,” Kepelo said.
“So now I am based at the market selling fruits like cucumbers, pineapples, pawpaws and watermelons.”
Kepelo makes between K700 and K800 a day. On a good day he makes K1000.
“If there are no customers, I make K400. I have other costs such as transportation but I see the profit is good enough.”
He said fruits were healthy. He doesn’t sell betel nuts, saying that even that though
betel nuts and cigarettes make fast cash, they caused health problems and make the city dirty.
Kepelo has five daughters; the oldest is working and the rest are still in school but all help in the fruit-selling venture when free.
The recently opened Boroko market is now where Kepelo sits patiently awaiting customers.
“It is a new market so we are slowly seeing customers,” he said.
“It is hot here and there is not enough shade unlike
Waigani market where I used to sit.”
He acknowledged the presence of police at the market and hoped that they
would continue to ensure the safety of people, especially women, who sell their produce there.

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