To market, to market

7 March 2012

Today was market day. I always go to the market with Mama Dora on Wednesdays and Saturday, when they have the big market a few villages away. I really enjoy it. One of us pays the bus fare for both of us one way, and the other person pays it the other way. Her presence prevents people from trying to charge me a special price, ahem, and she sometimes explains to people that I don’t like being called ‘mzungu‘ which means white person, that they could just call me ‘dada’ (sister) or something. I’m pretty sure today she told someone I could just as well call them ‘Tanzanian’. I’m also pretty sure someone came back with something like, ‘well a tomato looks like a tomato so we call it a tomato’ which I guess is a legitimate point, but anyway. The butcher we go to is nice; he’s kind – no cheeky tone to his voice when he talks to me, like some people have, just plain friendly. The women in the market have their wares spread out in little piles on the ground on a cloth or tarp.

My haul from the market.

There are many people selling the same things – it’s a big market because there are a lot of sellers, not necessarily because there is much variety. There are clothes and shoes and cooking instruments as well as food. Some people bring umbrellas to shade them from the sun, and some people are set up under tarps held taught with rope. Mama Dora is very particular when selecting her fruits and vegetables, and if I pick out some she doesn’t think are good enough, she makes me put them back and picks some out for me herself. She carries her things on her head in a basket, which she balances without using her hands. We have a soda at a little cafe before going home. The women greet each other often in KiChagga, the local language. You hear it used for greetings occasionally in other places, but at the market it’s particularly common for some reason. I only know how to say one greeting and ‘thank you’ but people get a real kick out of it.

So, that’s market day. Below is a picture of my favorite food of the ones I can cook, rice with meat and vegetables (Chinese greens).


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