Samina AKA Chai Wali Baji
Blog Contributor: Maryam Afzal Madni
I was scrolling on Facebook when i got stuck to the post about a woman in veil selling chai (tea) on a road side in PAKISTAN. There might be women around the world selling tea on road side but in PAKISTAN, a combo of road side selling and a woman was the main thing which got my attention.
Because all I know about Pakistan is that it's a country known for oppressed women, I wondered how come a woman dared to do this, so I opened that link and started reading about it.
I still had my doubts, so I decided to go out on my own so I can believe it.Initially I had trouble finding Chai Wali Baji. I asked so many people around that area, but no one knew, and then i thought it might be just a rumor or something,
I was about to give up when finally i asked an aunty and she said yes there is this lady on the end of this road. The level of my excitement is unexplainable. So finally after hard struggle of 2 hours of searching on random streets, I finally met her!
I found that gem of lady, she was making tea at a little dhaba (shack) on the edge of the road.
Iwas so excited to finally meet her I just hugged her andtold her that I have been searching for her for the past 2 hours. She was happy and excited too, she asked me to sit and wait until she got a break from serving her customers. While I waited it was hard not to get absorbed into the chaos and energy at the dhaba. There were constant voices around her asking for tea
"baji aik cup ider (one cup here sister) "
"baji 5 cup master g ke (sister, 5 cups for master ji)"
baji do cup samnay (sister 2 cups here)"
It was all so mesmerizing, I could hardly wait anymore. As soon as she was done with work, and she closed her dhaba at 6 pm, I took her to restaurant and bombarded her with all the questions I had in my mind. So she started telling about how and why she started this, narrating it as she told;
"My name is samina bb ,there was a time when we lost everything we had in terms of money and business, there was a time when we had to sleep without eating anything. My husband would hardly get enough wages to feed us one time, and I always wanted my kids to be educated. I started thinking if we continue like this I would not be able to educate them. I decided to support my husband so we can at least educate our kids so they can make a good life for themselves.
One day I left home with the aim to find something to work, I looked out all the markets in vicinity and options on where I can work, and I found this one place and I saw that people need sharbat (sweet syrup) in extreme hot weather here. The very next day I put up the stall there and started selling sharbat. The journey began from there, and now it's been 8 years since. I put up the breakfast stall too in winters. Many TV channels came to give me coverage and promised me to get my kids' education sponsored or other helps, but they never did anything.
People now thinks that I am super rich because of the aid given by those TV channels. I feel so bad, because it took me so long to get respect here in the world full of negativity, they should not have made false promises. If i would have needed donations for my kids' education I would never have started business. I am strictly against begging. I believe in empowerment."
Samina bibi is such an inspiration for all the women who just don't do anything by assuming about the hardships they would have to face. She is a Change Makerof Pakistan, she is breaking the stereotypes. She is truly one of the best examples for the people specifically for the women of when it comes to empowerment