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Street Hustle Accra: A day in the life of a NABCO trainee who sells charcoal as a side job

Elizabeth, popularly called Lizzy is a NABCO trainee who adds selling charcoal as a side job. Although Lizzy doesn’t get paid consistently by the government, she decided to sell charcoal while waiting on her monthly allowances.

She tells us about how he survives in his field of work.


I wake up at 5am and do clean the house, take a bath and then prepare breakfast for my mum and me.

After eating, I dress and at about 6:30am, I leave for school.

Before going to school, I make sure I distribute my charcoal to some of the shops in my area so that they can sell them while away and then I go for the money when I return from school.

At about 7:30am, I would have been in school and then work begins. I work through the morning right down to the afternoon. I am a class 5 teacher at one of the clusters of schools in my area. So you can imagine, it’s a bit stressful. But within the times are breaks that I use to either eat or relax a little.


About half of my afternoon is spent at school because I close at 2pm. Then I have some students that I do extra classes with them for an hour so, by 3pm, I head towards home.

At about 4pm when I get home, I quickly dress up in the clothes I use in tying the charcoal and then I start packaging them for the shops the following day. Sometimes, the sack attracts animals so I make sure I do it early so that I don’t get bitten by any animal.

So by 5:30pm, I should be done.


After packing my charcoal, I go straight to the kitchen and then prepare dinner. In an hour or an hour and a half, I should be done with preparing dinner and t then I eat.

Then I quickly go and take my bath. I then pick my lesson note and fill in what I will teach the following day. During this time, my mum would have returned from work, then I would give her dinner.

While she also goes on with her evening duties, I would also finish my lesson note, then we will sit to either watch television or have a little chat.

At about 9pm, I would go to my room, pray and then sleep.

Basically, here’s how my routine is every day, except weekends because I don’t to school so, if there aren’t any programs to attend, I would be home focusing on selling my charcoal.


It’s most challenging being a NABCO trainee. For more than four months I haven’t been paid and my only means of income is what I get from the charcoal and that’s what I depend on for all my needs until I get paid by the government.

It’s stressful too, having a side job because all the time I am almost doing something but I know it will be worth it.

Best moments

It’s not always stressful especially when the money is coming. At least I know I am not being idle.

My mum also helps me, I gave her some money for airtime transfer and mobile money so, she also adds money. Hence, we hardly struggle to be comfortable although we want to be better than this. I use the money government pays me to pay for the house rent while the other income is used as housekeeping money.

One thing I would say is that “make hay while the sun shines.” Don’t wait for someone to pay you before you move. Find a lucrative side job and add it to your job. It will be worth it

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