A brave Saudi woman is surviving and thriving in adverse circumstances.
Jumana Makki, a single mother to two boys and four girls, was going through a rough patch in life. She had applied for various jobs but didn't receive a favorable response.
Then, she had an idea. Makki "broached" the subject of selling tea on the streets with her daughters, and with complete conviction, decided to take a plunge.
She set up a tea stall on King Abdul Aziz Road in Madinah, where she brewed tea and an array of coffees on firewood.
Since Saudi Arabia is a deeply Islamic conservative society, Makki was frowned upon by her relatives, who thought such a job would tarnish her dignity as a woman. However, they eventually came around when they saw Makki working hard for her family.
"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 that I am making good money from the business," she told Al-Madinah newspaper.
But Makki's trials were far from over. One day, an employee of the Municipality of Madinah tried to remove her stall. He threw her personal belongings on the floor and yelled that she deserved to be imprisoned.
A source told The Saudi Gazette, the employee was enraged because Makki's stall "obstructed traffic with her table when an important person passed by."
Fortunately, Makki's story was published in a newspaper from where it managed to grab the attention of some important people.
Eventually, Saudi Commission of Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) intervened and decided to grant her a temporary spot in Al-Salam Festival, and a permanent spot on the King Abdul Aziz Road.
“The SCTH president said it is the commission’s duty to help hardworking citizens. Makki thanked Prince Sultan and the Saudi people for being compassionate by retweeting her story, which was trending internationally,” said a source.
"With the passage of time, my customers came to realize that I was serious in my work. Nobody is annoying me any more. I have nothing to worry about now," Makki said.