Thursday, September 03, 2009

Things you learn in the fabric market

4 times a year there is a travelling market that comes to Niamey. The majority of it’s wares are fabric of all different kinds, pre-made African outfits and guady carpets and laminated plaque koranic verses or chintzy plastic household items. I like to go since you can find inexpensive pre-made outfits that have the matching top and long skirt that we wear most days. By cheap I mean about $23 for the complete top and skirt that is also lined.

I will post a picture from a previous time I was at the market since I didn’t take any pictures today. I know…hard to believe ;) I don’t actually carry my camera around here much!

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A few observations. It is Ramadan right now, so no one was eating or drinking in public. Since you aren’t even supposed to swallow your spit during Ramadan you seriously had to watch where you walked. I almost got spit on twice. We were driving behind a cab and we saw one of the men in the backseat of the cab turn around and spit….into the back window area of the cab. EWWW!

As well, beggars were out in full force since this is a time where Muslims tend to give more money. We only made it a few stores before some of the children found us, asking for money,and when I told them I was sorry but I didn’t give out presents of money to celebrate Ramadan, they got mad and said some things that were rude and I am glad I didn’t understand. (The lady I was with got mad at them for what they said to me and shooed them away so I assumed it wasn’t nice!) Every few stalls there was a new beggar to greet, speak with a bit, and politely turn down.

I stopped at one booth and was looking at some of the fabric from Cote D’Ivoire and the lady there showed me a table and she said “these are all the secret things of women!”. I looked and saw little tiny bottles filled with powder, bottles with oil, multiple types of packages of grain/powder stuff, bottles half filled with what looked like mustard, and little rolled balls of brown gummy stuff all sitting on that table. (pictured below)

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I told the lady I would have no clue what to do with any of things! She picked up one little bottle of powder and said to me “You put this in water, you drink it, and it makes your loins go good. It will make your husband so happy he will cry!” LOL! Are you laughing with me here? The idea of drinking a completely unknown powder that would affect my loins didn’t appeal to me. haha. I laugh at how culturally they won’t talk about health issues, they won’t discuss breastfeeding in public, they don’t mention death and show no emotion when a child dies, and they won’t tell you they are pregnant until it is crazy obvious even when we tell them we have prenatal vitamins to give them to help them have a healthy pregnancy. But when it comes to your loins and sex in general, it is definitely fair game. Mostly just with the women mind you, but they still get awfully personal immediately!

So every time I go to the markets, I learn something new. Sometimes it is something I enjoy learning…other times…not so much!!

 

Hope you all enjoy your Walmart..shopping sure is different here!

 

Chantelle

1 comment :

Anonymous said...

L O L - another new experience...what a journey... heather