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Published: April 14th 2011
I wish I could transport you to Owino Market in central Kampala so that you could experience the mayhem for yourself. So that you could walk down the 3ft wide alley ways, jumping over pot holes, balancing on planks as you creep over dirty puddles, and slipping and sliding in the mud that masquerades as the pavement. So that you have to squeeze, barge, and dodge your way past the thousands of traders, hawkers, caterers, and other shoppers, all seemingly walking in the opposite direction to you, leaving not an inch to breathe yet alone to stand. So that you can be overwhelmed by the sights you see - people shouting, people hustling, people cramming goods into every available inch, ramshackle stalls reaching to the skies, held together by prayers alone, piled high with thousands upon thousands of t-shirts, shirts, shoes, shorts, trousers, bags, caps, belts, socks, onions, potatoes, cooking pots, radios, rice, and anything else that has a price. So that your ears are filled with the deafening clatter of massed hammers beating metal to recycle old into new. So that you can smell the sewage filled river, the sweat of the traders, the damp of the rains on the rust and dirt, and thankfully, the smell of matoke and beans as people take their lunch. So that you can feel the heat of the sun beating down on the tin roof, or the heat of the fires used to keep the irons warm in the tailoring quarter. So that you can wind and weave, twist and turn, and get lost in the maze of alleyways and stalls, as you go round and round in circles for hour upon hour without a clue where you've been or where you're going.
And so that, after 3 tiring hours, you finally find that elusive t-shirt, in your size, in your colour, hidden deep under a pile of discarded ASDA, TESCO, and Nike shirts, and finally, reward in hand, you can try to find your way out to find some peace and quiet...
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