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Sunday, November 13, 2011

Market Day


The Markets
Every Wednesday and Saturday is market day in Motta, and the population swells by hundreds as country folk flock to a large dusty open space surrounded by local buildings in the centre of town to buy and sell and I daresay to catch up on the local gossip. Walking there along the road crammed with mules pulling loaded carts and donkeys piled high with sacks of  grain or firewood and lots of women struggling along with huge loads in hand made baskets on their backs is a great distraction from the frustrations  and disappoiontments and stresses of work, and I soon feel a sense of excitement and fascination with the foreigness of it all. People with like products set up their stalls, or spread their wares out on a sack on the ground near each other but in a disorganized sort of way, and there they sit all day in the hot sun, occasionaly under a makeshift awning or umbrellas, crowded together, no doubt hoping  to sell off their produce sooner than later and head off home early. If its  been raining of course theres slippery mud and puddles everywhere.The Saturday market is the bigger one, the crowds are shoulder to shoulder, its standing room only as you thread your way through looking for the best onions or coffee beans or tomatoes, cabbage, green peppers, beetroot, ginger, spices, salt, herbs, corn, beans, eggs and live chooks, handcraft, oranges, sugar cane, bananas,  and all sorts of other produce some of which I do not recognize. There are also people selling cooking oil, kerosene, old and new clothes, traditional cotton garments, sashes, empty containers, barley, and rice, bundles of firewood, dried cow dung for fuel, and at the periphery rows of tailors making alterations and patching up clothes on old treadle sewing machines. Nearby people with hot coal clothes Irons are waiting to press new pleats into your skirt or smarten up your best trousers. Like this kind of market everywhere it is dynamic, full of colour and smells and noise, and great to pick your way through

Shit for Sale
Most of the people here are very poor and its quite pathetic to see someone sitting in the dust in the blazing heat trying to sell a few miserable vegetables or some empty cans or plastic bottles. At the edges of the market like carparks round a supermarket, are collections in various places of mules with attached carts,  and clusters of donkeys, scores perhaps even a hundred or two altogether, usually immobilized by being tied to each other or to a post or by having their two front legs bound together.

Initially I went with Yemataw or Moges , but now  Ive been several times on my own to buy fresh vegetables. I can count to ten now so can usually work out the price being asked, and as there doesn’t seem to be any kind of bargaining, and prices generally seem fixed, its quite simple to look about for someone selling nice looking produce and grab  a kg of potatoes or a cabbage, or some bananas. I try to time my trips on Wednesdays and Saturdays to fit in with a stop at the Wubet  on the way back for lunch of  beer and an egg sandwich, and then back towards the hospital I call in at Jamals shop for a top-up card for the Internet and things like  macaroni, sugar, peanut butter and bottled water. So far I havent been called urgently back to the hospital from the midst of my shopping expeditions but I suppose inevitably one day I will be, but I'm not looking forward to a 2km dash in the heat with a load of veges in my back back. And eggs!

3 comments:

  1. Yeh, I was so happy when i read this and smiling. Well, well done, mum, grandma & David. Just beautiful to read.

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