Tea-selling Saudi mother gains Prince’s support

Published December 4th, 2016 - 12:00 GMT
Jumana serving tea on her old stall on the King Abdul Aziz Road (Courtesy Photo)
Jumana serving tea on her old stall on the King Abdul Aziz Road (Courtesy Photo)

Madinah’s defiant female tea vendor has gained a Saudi Prince’s support after the police tried to close down her roadside stall.

Jumana Makki, who had started to brew hot drinks in order to support her daughters in their university studies, took to Twitter to appeal for assistance when the authorities seized her tea stand last week.

Prince Sultan bin Salman, the head of the Commission for Tourism and National Heritage, came to her aid, requesting the provision of a temporary kiosk for her in the Peace Festival, and a more permanent location in the King Fahd Gardens.

The Commission’s official account shared the following:

Sultan bin Salman has allocated a temporary place for the #TeaSeller at the Festival of Peace and provided another permanent spot for her in the heritage district in the King Fahd Garden in Madinah.

Jumana expressed her gratitude in a post to her 1,500 Twitter followers:

In the tweet she thanks Prince Faisal bin Salman (the governor of Madinah) and Prince Sultan bin Salman “for their participation in the halting of the difficulties that I was passing through.” She writes that they were, and continue to be “a great help for me and my daughters.”

It seems that Jumana’s transition to her new site has gone smoothly as a reporter, Ali al-Ghofaili, shared a video of her hard at work in a fully-equipped kiosk. It is undoubtedly a vast improvement on the small table she was previously using to make tea and coffee using firewood!

It has come to pass: Um Nayaf has moved. The tea seller on the road from Jeddah to Madinah. May God make me able to do what I have promised: "And in heaven is your sustenance, as we are promised."

Jumana has had to battle protestations that her job is not respectable for a woman. Nonetheless, many have expressed support for her work on social media:

May God bring you success and be satisfied with you. You deserve more than this!

She even gained high-profile encouragement from Princess Basmah:

The profession of #TeaSeller is honest. It is simply necessary to guarantee the general health of Madinah. In the past our grandmothers would sell tea and coffee to members of the tribe for a golden coin.

As for Jumana, she says: "I do not see anything wrong in doing this as long as I am looking for an income that will enable me to live with honor and dignity, especially [since] I am making good money from the business."

RA

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