Friday, June 15, 2012

Making a living out of Lilongwe River self made bridges

It is a useless river to those who simply pass it everyday.It is one of the dirtiest rivers around and no meaningful business can come out of it. But for Dalitso Chimwaza it is where they earn their living. Chimwaza and several other friends earn a living from collections they make on a wooden brige they constructed across Lilongwe River.

"We get everything we need in life for doing business on this river" he said. People pay 15 kwacha just to cross each of the several bridges on Lilongwe River.

'People coming from the other part of the city wanting to go Tsoka Market have to cross the river. It is a long distance to use the road and cross the normal bridge so they are left with no means but to pass through here" happily said Chimwaza. He claims that they go home with thousands of kwacha at the end of the day.

I counted four bridges ran by dfferent groups of people who are always busy collecting money and giving back changes to their customers. Some people can pass through the bridges several times each day. The bridges are made out of long blue gum trees and planks sourced from the nearby market.

For the customers it is a very convinient way of going to the market as it helps them cut the distance.

"It is easier to access the market if we use these bridges because we save time instead of crossing through Lilongwe Bridge. We used to pay 10 kwacha before devaluation but now they have adjusted the price," said one woman who had just crossed the bridge.

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