For those who have lived in Douala will know that the scorching heat is not making things easy for its inhabitants. For those who don’t know, Douala is the economic capital of Cameroon. It is one of the most populous city in the country with about 3,536,000 inhabitants after Yaoundé, the capital city, with 3,822,000 [Cameroon Demographics Profile 2019 – Index Mundi]
I have lived in this city for more than 20 years today, and I will tell you, it hasn’t been easy. The inhabitants hustle and struggle to make live out of nothing even with the dark clouds of the plague hanging in the air.
Under this scorching sun, the population, especially for those in business, go about their business in spite of government’s call for people to stay at home to curb the spread of the deadly Coronavirus. The people are torn between hunger and the killing virus – the virus that has no respect the rich and doesn’t pity the poor.
Life is not easy in this Douala. Many people, especially the active business population, mostly made up of youths, live from hand-to-mouth. It’s difficult for such a person to stay at home when the government has done nothing to support them order than to tell them to stay at home and wash your hands with soap and running water.
Running water, when many taps in urban areas have been thirsty to get a taste of the precious liquid for no one knows when. Let’s not even talk about rural areas.
The effects of the Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted thousands of people’s livelihoods, with a great impact on small and informal businesses in Douala. The impact on households is becoming unbearable, especially when the country’s government stays mute to the suffering of the people.
The country is in confinement and it seems everything has been confined. I am afraid to go out, but then I have to feed the many mouths waiting in the house. Staying at home is not easy at all – it’s now that many people will understand the work teachers go through. I find it difficult to control three kids, but a teacher with the snap of his finger, can hush 50 or more pupils to bring in some fresh air into the classroom. Silence is refreshing!
Though not when the thought of fighting future hunger alone makes you feel hot from within. Your thirst becomes so high that water alone can’t stop it. Health is wealth, but to be healthy, you need to eat and drink water. These, you have to pay for, hence, you’ll have no choice than to go out and face the devil. Life is not easy, especially in Douala!
The heat’s on – hot enough to make a lizard go bald. The temptation of wetting your throat at “Life Is Not Easy Drinking Office” increases just like the number of Covid-19 cases. I don’t like going there, but the fact that I can’t go there makes me go crazy. I have no choice but to gurgle a glass of warm water each time the thought comes crawling into my mind.
In every setback or difficulty that causes harm, there’s always some opportunity that could be beneficial. As an entrepreneur, I have trained my mindset to always look for a solution to problems I face daily. This is done by searching for something positive in difficult situations. Once you start doing something in this light, you will have more inner peace to respond to the situation.
If you have nothing to do, then you have something to do.
I have spent most of my Covid-19 days trying to study more business models, especially those that can be done using the Internet and sitting at home.
Business activities will not stop even though people stay at home. I sold more than fifteen bags of Ndop Rice within 5 days using WhatsApp for Business which I linked to our online store. Most of those who bought paid using mobile money (both MoMo and OM). This is thanks to PayTouch by InTouch e-commerce payment gateway. Thanks to InTouch Cameroun, you can start a business with XAF50,000 in Cameroon.
It’s time for us to think of digitizing our businesses or even start online businesses that will help us get additional income until this confinement stops. Things may never be the same again, and so, don’t wait to be used tomorrow as an example of not being able to move with changing times.
There are times you don’t need to over-analyze the business environment in order to go for the best opportunities. This is one of such times – no one knows when it will end.
Rather than stay idle to wait for things to come back to normal, choose the bird in the hand and see how you can squeeze out something new from this rock that even the mighty find it difficult to break. Find your flow, let me know and I will guide you on how to digitize it.