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Raising Family On Koki Beans, ‘Mami Enanga’ Way 

By Marriane Tabi Enow & Linsède Bakam Talom*

Helen Senge Kumbe, 57, fondly called Mami Enanga, opens business at her stall opposite Royal Pharmacy at the entrance to Campaign Street, Great Soppo, every morning, six days a week, except on Sundays. She is well known in Buea because of koki (a local delicacy made from bean paste) which she has been selling for more than 20 years.

‘Mami Enanga’ doing what she does best

Mami Enanga’s koki is probably hotter than ordinary cakes going at FCFA 200 since the prices of ingredients have shot up. On a good day, she says she sells more than thirty lumps of the golden yellow, crumbly bean cake. Between eight and noon, she is done and gone with a smile and richer by between FCFA 10,000 or FCFA 12,000.

“I prepare the ingredients in the twilight and wake up at dawn to cook the koki. I equally prepare the plantains and cassava in the morning so as to reach my sales point on time in order to satisfy my distant and close customers,” she told your reporters. Senge’s mouth-watering koki has brought people of different walks of life to her shed. “My devotion and the profit I make have kept me this long in the business and enabled me to maintain my household,” says Senge.

Luciano, one of Senge’s faithful costumers, said he has been buying koki from the woman since he was eight years old and he thinks her cooking is excellent. Another customer, Jacques Tah, says he rushes very early in the morning to buy Mami Enanga’s koki lest it gets finished. To him it is a kind of breakfast which can sustain him throughout the morning.

Meanwhile, Mami Enanga’s children see their mother as a strong and struggling woman. They say she has always satisfied their needs despite the stress that comes with selling koki; insufficient capital, inadequate equipment and rising cost of essential commodities. Against all these odds, Mami Enanga is still happily in business.

What became Mami Enanga’s main source of livelihood started almost a quarter of a century ago under a tree near where Royal Pharmacy is located today. Young Senge had started off selling papaws, sugarcane, oranges, bananas, but due to the perishable nature of the fruits and the pressing need to educate her children, she switched to koki.

“After all, human beings want protection from the elements of nature, and these wants and desires are the end towards which economic activities are directed,” she says. With her vintage smile and a good sense of humour, Mami Enanga told The Post that her koki business has enabled her to educate her four children (three boys and one girl), besides taking care of her grandchildren.

*(UB Journalism Students on Internship)

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