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Street hawkers turning servings of tea and porridge into a thriving business – Paro

As dusk settles over Paro, a group of street hawkers, mostly women, embark on their daily routine, ready to turn servings of tea and porridge into a thriving business. In this story, our Paro correspondent Namgay Wangchuk takes a look into the lives of these women and how a bowl of porridge has transformed lives and become the key to a brighter future.

Among them is 37-year-old Sonam Lhamo, whose routine starts at 6 PM and takes tea and porridge worth Nu 5,000 to sell in Paro town. With her daughters by her side, they carry the goods to their stall which is three kilometres from their home.

Sonam arrives early to secure the best spot among the five vendors near the fuel station.

“With a little bit of hard work and determination, we can earn a decent income. We can make homemade delicacies like pickles and chilli paste for sale. After considering our expenses, we manage to save about Nu 3,000 daily, allowing me to save Nu 30,000 monthly.”

Sonam is not alone in this venture, As the night unfolds, other street hawkers join her near the fuel station.

“Selling porridge has become a lucrative venture for us. Sometimes, we can make up to Nu 5,000 while on other days, we can still earn a minimum of Nu 2,000 daily. These earnings support our households and provide savings for the future,” said Pema Yangzom, a street hawker.

And the enterprising women have found loyal customers who appreciate and enjoy their tea and porridge.

“Drinking porridge is a treat and thanks to these street hawkers, we can indulge more often,” said Karma.

“It is a win-win situation for both parties. They can make money while we can enjoy hot porridge and tea,” said Sangay Dorji.

“After enduring exhausting trips, having the option to sip hot porridge is refreshing. Their closeness to the taxi stand is a great advantage,” said Sangay Tobgay.

As the night progresses, Sonam finishes her shift at around 2 in the morning, diligently cleaning her area before heading home to rest.

And tomorrow, she will rise again, ready to repeat the cycle fuelled by the belief that little things can bring prosperity.

Namgay Wangchuk, Paro

Edited by Sonam Pem