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Bike Washing Succors Over 150 Bamenda Youths 

By Derek Mbain*

At a time when youth unemployment is a burning issue in Cameroon, over 150 young people in the Northwest capital city, Bamenda, have found gainful employment by washing motorcycles in streams. Watery areas around bridges in quarters like Old Town, Mbengwi Road, Mulang and Mile 4 Nkwen, now provide daily bread to over 150 youths.

Youths giving the machines the scrub down

With three years of experience in washing motorcycles, certain young man by name John at Old Town Bridge says one only needs a broom, bucket, sponge, brush and detergent to wash a motorcycle. He told The Post that they plan to increase the cost of washing a motorcycle from FCFA 500 to FCFA 800 because times are changing.

According to him, a bundle of broom that used to cost FCFA 50 now sells at FCFA 150.
He further said a motorcycle may even be cleaned for FCFA 2,500 depending on how dirty it is.
When asked if they pay any taxes, the cleaners at Old Town said some old men around had once asked them to pay, but the council refused and gave them only one condition – to always keep the area clean.

Another cleaner at Mbengwi Road, Ndeh, said their minimum profit per day stands at FCFA 2000 but that they sometimes earn up to FCFA 6000 a day.  A Form Four student of GTC Alabukang, Desmond Mbah, the oldest cleaner at the Mbengwi Road stream, said a good number of students come round every weekend to raise money for their school needs. Some of the cleaners said they would prefer washing motorcycles to a job with a monthly salary of FCFA 70,000.

A motorcyclist in town, Ignatius Azemo, said most riders prefer using these boys at the streams because they are experienced and clean better than those at washing points. The motorcycle washing business is flourishing such that people leave Bafoussam, Bambui and other neighbouring towns for Bamenda just to clean their bikes.

*(UB Journalism Student on Internship)

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