Monday, June 7, 2010

Day 28 - Kumasi Market, Central Market, or Kejetia Market... Whatever you call it, its one huge market (Mole Trip Day 4)

Cool looking church in downtown Kumasi
Welcome to the Kumasi Market (aka as the "Central Market" or "Kejetia Market"). It has been said that this is the largest market in West Africa and I believe it. According to our guide book, there are more than 10,000 different vendors selling here. It is huge. We wandered around for almost an hour and a half are probably didn't see more than 20% of it, if that.

The market has different levels. The market is next to a hill so part of the market has been built up on the hill. There are several different levels of the market which is pretty cool, however I am sure that they are not built to code :)

In Ghana, the market is where you go to purchase anything that you need (unless you are uber-rich and can afford to shop at the few department stores in the larger cities). In the market, you can purchase anything from rice to radios, clothing to fish. Most market, as was Kumasi, as semi-organized with most of the like merchants set up near each other. You wonder how they make money when they are 4 or 5 dozen people (at least) selling the same items

One of the most interesting parts of the market is the meat section (brings back memories of my days at Bowman's)

Dried Fish

More fish

and even more fish

While a lot of the market is open, there are certain parts of the market (especially the sections that are selling non food items) that are set up more like the photo above.

It can't be tight walking through these sections

At least from every other vendor that you pass, someone will yell out "Obroni" and we just turn and wave. The first few times that I heard it, I thought it was derogatory. Now it just seems normal and I don't feel like it is derogatory at all. 

We finally found the bead section of the market after wandering for almost an hour. Luckily after asking several people, they took us down to the section where they sell beads. Unfortunately, we didn't find anything that we hadn't already seen in the Koforidua bead market.

Part of the market is build around some old railroad tracks. It was cool to walk along the tracks and have vendors on both sides of the tracks. This is how I envisioned African markets to be.

Walking through the market

View from the top of the market

Imagine trying to drive through this

Downtown street in Kumasi. They call these divided roads "dual carriage" roads. There are usually vendors set up in the middle of the road selling their wares. 

So it was near this very spot where an awesome experience happened. I had purchased a phone card earlier in the day, but hadn't yet loaded it onto my phone. We were standing here taking pictures, when someone walked up and handed my a phone card. Apparently I had dropped it some ways back, and they had been trying to yell at me to come back. Turning around, I saw the lady who had found the card. It was obvious that she was very poor. She could have very easily kept the card and sold it to make a nice profit (doing so she would have made more money from that that she will make over the next several days). While it had been my experience that most people just want my money, this woman showed me the true spirit of charity and honor. Thanks!!!!!

We got back around 6:00 tonight. After 4 days, 1300+ kilometers, and very few showers, we were still talking to each other. Thanks for the fun trip!!!!!


Melissa said...

wow! that is what i pictured the markets to look like too. i am loving the facial hair :) that is so awesome that you saw elephants. it seems like its so commonplace there to have monkeys running around. i thought them stealing was only in the movies. i guess not

katie k said...

The market is incredible! I can't believe how big it is. I wish I were there to see it in person with you. :)