A lovely saleswoman

Leokadija Lescika lives in Liepa, about 120 kilometres from the capital, Riga. The scenically beautiful region, in the middle of the Gauja National Park, is marked by ageing, migration and a lack of jobs for young people. Six days a week, the 67-year-old and her driver, Andris Klesa, cover more than a hundred shops. In the small villages and the many individual farmsteads, the rolling “corner shop” is often eagerly awaited. The nearest shop is often twenty kilometres away. Without a car, shopping means an arduous day’s journey by bus and train. Even as a child, Leokadija dreamed of standing behind the shop counter one day. When Latvia became independent, Leokadija lost her job for the first time. At that time, she worked in a state-owned grocery shop. In one of the economic crises of the 1990s, the beloved shop assistant was lost for the second time. In 2001, Leokadija, highly supported by her two children, started her own “Aunt Emma Shop”. For her customers, who are often old and live alone in small settlements or on farms, the weekly visit of the rickety Mercedes bus is a “godsend”. For the neighbours, who often live far away from each other, the rolling sales counter once a week also offers the opportunity for gossip and an important social exchange. Every day, Leokadija Lescika and her driver, Andris Klesa, pray that their rolling shop will keep running. We accompanied Leokadija Lescika and Andris Klesa for a week on their tours through the Latvian province. We explained how Leokadija held her own “corner shop” after the trauma of losing her job twice. We shed light on the logistical hard work, the tiring journeys over gravel roads, and the stress of the constant stop and go.

First broadcast: November 20, 2020 19:30 ARTE
Broadcast NDR television: March 20, 2021, 12:45 – 13:15