I am pretty sure I will make it a habit to go to the market every Saturday or at least every other Saturday for a few reasons. Here are a few of those reasons:
#1) The people watching is prime
#2) Everything is so cheap there (for the most part, and you of course have to barter for the price to come down from the “white people” price)
#3) You are always guaranteed a good story such as this one…
Kate The Great and The Lovely Trunk
By: Heather O’Hara
Once upon a market visit my friend Kate spotted a trunk she wanted to buy. A little background information on my friend Kate, she makes Martha Stewart look like a kindergartner finger-painting on the first day of school. Bottom line Kate can take anything and make it beautiful, lovely, and house-worthy for decorating. She ain’t to shabby on the sewing machine either. Okay back to the story…Kate saw this trunk two weeks ago on our first adventure to the market together. This week she was determined to find the man who was selling them again. We walked all over the market then headed up the main road to find him. Alas we found Mr. Trunk-seller. Kate had said to me “I refuse to pay more than 30 Ghana Cedi for the trunk.” Well when we asked him the price what did he say “Fixed price, the trunk is 30 Ghana Cedi.”
Christmas came early kids! Kate was thrilled (She is tough as they come and did try to barter lower, however the price was fixed we learned).
This following is a picture of Kate’s thrilled in the moment reaction to the trunk:
Kate was convinced she would and could carry the trunk on her head back to the tro tro station, like the African women do. She then proceeded to ask her new trunk friend to load the trunk up on her head (to which he looked at us like we were crazy):
And off we went galavanting through the streets of Accra. A few things happened, the Africans were shocked that the “white” girls were carrying things on their heads to which they yelled things like “ahhhhh” “ohhhhh” “Heeeyyyy Abrohnie (which means white person)” and other such things. The best part was when I yelled to Kate that she needed to be like the woman in front of her who was carrying a child on her back, a bowl on her head stacked 3 ft high of stuff, all while doing it one handed. Kate simply yelled back to me “I can’t carry this one handed no way.”
Then…just like in the Olympic relay races…the great exchange happened…
Kate The Great was wearing down…her arms were tiring…the trunk was proving to weigh heavy on her (literally)
I told her to go ahead and give it to me since I had a much larger wingspan (No offense but my dear friend is like 2 feet shorter than me and about 50 lbs wet with rocks in her pockets). I told her it would be much easier for me to carry like I was bear hugging the thing than it would be for her. That plan worked for a while until even carrying the trunk that way got annoying, so I did what any great African does. I threw the thing up on my head and plowed through the city streets, market alleys, and onward to the tro-tro station (I use that term loosely it is a dusty road where they all circle up and cause a traffic jam, all while shouting where they are driving folks to).
Below are a few shots Kate got of me taking a turn at carrying the trunk:
The men were not sure what to do with me at that point because there was about one foot of space outside the tent to go through or it was duck under the tent and carry on. So we carried on and went under the tent, trunk and all. Meanwhile all the men are shouting “where are you going, where are you going.” I honestly think they were thinking “Let’s at least help the crazy white lady out by directing her to the right tro-tro because Lord knows she will not make it much further with this trunk on her head.” However even with their “helpful” directions we still had to ask around and walk a few more blocks because the tro-tro station was “under construction” so therefore every tro driver was displaced to back roads and alley ways.
Sidenote: At one point an African man yelled to me: Ehhhhhh Abrohnie….MACHO! haha classic! Little does he know I have to carry a license for those guns.
All in all it was a good day! They didn’t even charge us for a space for the trunk on the tro-tro (how generous of them, that or they felt horrible watching us all try to pile in with our other 14 ghanaian friends who were riding in the same tro-tro). Oh and Kate also got a little footstool to go with her trunk. We all got some fruits, veggies, fabric, and other great finds as well! Here are some other sights from our market trip:
My favorite the PINEAPPLE! for 1.50 Cedi (which is about 75 cents), I get a fresh pineapple, cut up, and put into a baggy for me to enjoy.
Some views from our walk
My friend Emily and I on the tro-tro together! It’s early in the year, but I can tell Emily and I are going to have some great adventures together as well (plus she rocks the aviators well along with me, and we all know I am instant friends with fellow aviator wearing folks).
This my friends is a GIANT BOWL OF PEANUT BUTTER! For the first time ever we saw women at the market with homemade peanut butter. My roomie Laura bought some and at first it tasted good, but then it developed a market taste to it. A market taste can be any combination of raw meat, dried fish, veggies, fruit, body odors, and many other things. I personally will stick to the JIF I smuggled in my suitcase. When that runs out, then we will need to talk business.
Overall it was a successful market trip. I love the market. I love the experience, the sights, the sounds, the looks you get for even dare stepping foot there, the bargains (we all know I love a good deal), and the fun stories that come from every tro-tro ride there and back.
Thanks for reading, my apologies for this one being longer than most.
Love & Prayers from Ghana!