Published: June 4th 2011June 4th 2011
Earlier today, i walked through the market (soko). Now I have done this many times before, however, I walked around the entire market this time, instead of just a small part of it. I originally went to find sunglasses (the one item of mine that managed to not survive East Africa) and I quickly found those, and just decided to keep walking. I may have described the market before, but in case I have not, I will again. You can find ANYTHING you need there, and its all open air. Food (vegetables and fruit mainly) are laid out on blankets on the sidewalk, stacked in buckets or in the case of rice and bean products, found in HUGE mounds in the main food market. All the food is local and fresh, and I catch whifs of many different fruits and veggies as I walk through. I also found a cool little dress shop. All the dresses were very vibrantly colored, I may have to buy some before I leave the country.
I wanted to share this experience because I realized something while I was out there. Often we go to a new place and then stay there for a semi long period of time, the sights, sounds and general atmosphere become common in your brain, and you forget how truly amazing they are. But as I walked today, I realized, holy hell! I'm walking through an African market!! For many years, I had dreamed of just plunking myself down in Africa and just walking to see what there was to see, and now that exact thing is happening. I always had visions of being in the middle of an African Market, and then suddenly I was! This realization immediately made me even more fascinated with the sights and smells around me, and I just drank it all in as I walked, try to see everything and everyone I was passing. Now my fascination for this area has not disappeared, just was merely pushed to the backburner a bit since I have been here for quite some time.
I was surrounded both by people in westernized clothes as well as women in traditional, flowy, colorful East African garements and kids and teens in school uniforms. The nice thing about these markets is that people don't accost you to buy their stuff (like the people I have seen do in the tourist traps in Mexico). At most, they yell 'karibu rafiki!' as I pass, which is basically saying 'welcome friend!' (to my shop) to which I reply, 'Asante!' and continue on my way. I will take pictures next time I go. I have before, but they are just of the buckets of vegetables and mounds of rice. There is so much more to see than that in the market. It's quite a hustle bustle place, yet has a very frienly atmosphere. Oh how I love Iringa.
New volunteers to arrive in an hour or so, and then off to Pawaga for 8 days!! so I wont be online much, if at all next week, but I am alive, don't you worry. Love and miss you all!