“I love myself, that’s what makes me happy.” I had to ask Evelyn Nnam  what motivated her to be so sweet to everyone. I often see her selling Street Sense when I leave work in the afternoons. She faithfully sells everyday at the corner of 13th and  G streets NW in the afternoon, and 13th and F streets in the morning. Evelyn became homeless in 2000 but prefers not to dwell on it. “I want to move forward in life.” She tried working in housekeeping but found it too stressful for the amount of money it paid. She came to Street Sense when a close friend pushed her to do more. “When life was tough for me, she recommended I start somewhere.” Determined to focus on her education for lasting improvement in life, Nnam enrolled in an adult education program. A month after starting school, she also became a Street Sense vendor. Evelyn has been selling the newspaper for four years now. She has completed two years of her schooling but had to take a break when money became tight. “I am doing Street Sense to pay for my education.”

She likes selling the paper and has found friends in some of the other vendors. “Street Sense is a part of me — it’s my business, that’s what I call it: MY business.” Though born in Nigeria, Evelyn is a Washingtonian to the core. She came to the District with her family when she was very young and has lived here all her life. “I love D.C., I love to move around the city,” Nnam said. “And I love talking to my customers.” She wants to remain in the city. In 2010, Nnam was able to find an apartment for her and her 11-year-old daughter, Victory. They split the apartment with a friend. She said, “Street Sense has helped me to stand on my feet.” Nnam says she now can afford to buy food and get nice clothes for her daughter. Evelyn wants the best for her daughter. “She is in school now, and I wish that she will go to university and get her own degree,” Nnam said. “She is good in school.” One of their favorite pastimes is to sit and play cards together. ”What I love of my daughter is that she is so sweet to me and loves to keep me company.”

“I want to progress in life; I want this new year to be progress.” Evelyn hopes to move forward in the positive direction her life is headed, and when asked if she had anything she would like to share with the world, it was, “thank you.”

“I want to say thank you to the people, to thank all the customers that buy Street Sense.”

Fun Facts:

Favorite food: Pepperoni and Cheese Pizza, Chicken and Rice

Favorite activity: Reading – Evelyn likes to read fiction stories to improve her knowledge of language