Twice displaced by pandemic, disabled Pattaya drinks seller keeps fighting

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Twenty-seven-year-old Sunanta Phusuwannarong and her 30-year-old husband, both limited by their physical conditions, eke out a living selling milk tea, orange juice and fingerroot water from a wheelchair in Soi Nernplabwan.

Twice displaced by coronavirus shutdowns, a disabled Pattaya woman continues to fight for survival by selling tea and juice from her wheelchair.

Sunanta Phusuwannarong, 27, was spotted rolling down Soi Nernplabwan with an ice chest full of milk tea, orange juices and fingerroot water, all for sale for 20 baht a serving.



Before the coronavirus pandemic, Sunanta would sell her drinks at a Pattaya market. But market closures and a steep drop-off in customers last year prompted her to take her business to Pattaya Beach.

Sunanta sold drinks from her chair there until the beach was closed again this year. So, she moved to Soi Nernplabwan.


Sunanta Phusuwannarong said before the pandemic, she sold her beverages from a Pattaya market. But the market closed, so she and her husband set out to find mobile customers.

Kitja Tungwong, her 30-year-old husband, worked for a rescue foundation in Ban Bung District but suffered a debilitating head injury and can no longer work. So she’s earning for both of them.

Sunanta is a proud woman, however, and won’t accept handouts. If someone gives her a free meal and water, she “pays” for it by giving back milk tea. Sunanta said she thinks other people have it much worse than her and doesn’t want to take food that can go to them.

Sunanta said she tells people not to give up. Although times are hard, everyone has to keep fighting.

Their 20-baht drinks help keep them alive and provide them with dignity and self-worth.



Kitja Tungwong (black shirt, standing right), Sunanta’s 30-year-old husband, worked for a rescue foundation in Ban Bung District but suffered a debilitating head injury and can no longer work.