Markets - Dwelling Spaces

Thursday, 1 March 2018


I have really enjoyed going round the markets here. Such a huge range of fresh produce and all sorts of other things piled up ready to sell. Haggling is a big feature of buying anything but my heart hasn’t really been in it. Huge juicy pineapples available for 40p and I bought 500g of salt that I’m hoping to get home ok, from a woman who was so pleased that I hadn’t haggled her down from 15p that she gave me lots more! Most of the fruit and vegetable sellers have one or two items to sell, so you walk through the onion area, then sweet potatoes, maize, carrots, spinach, ginger, garlic, mushrooms, peppers, avocados, pineapples, passion fruit, bananas  etc etc. Each seller has a  pile in front of them and they are nicely washed and arranged on a groundsheet. I asked whether people grew their own produce for market but it seems most buy from the farmers and then sell on. I can’t quite imagine what the farmers are being paid if the sellers are making a profit on the prices they sell on.... It feels hard not to buy things from every stand.

Wandering around an unsuspecting visitor has to be careful not to fall in drainage ditches which are all over the place. We’re on the edge of rainy season so have had a short period of heavy rain each day. This makes the red mud into sticky, slippery clay and I’ve had a few close shaves! Once again though the simplicity strikes you. When we haven’t been eating meals at churches we’ve enjoyed bread, tomatoes and avocado followed by pineapple, banana and watermelon with a handful of peanuts. Perhaps I would get bored in the longer term but at the moment it is so good to eat well and simply. I find myself valuing what we have so much more, and it is so good to know it hasn’t travelled more than 5 or 10 miles.

Simplicity is a Christian value, but not widely part of our tradition now, except in monastic life perhaps. But it is good to be reminded in Lent that fullness of life does not come by striving for things.

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