Wednesday, November 25, 2009

More about the Market!

I scan the crowd around me for any sign of Denise but she has disappeared somewhere in the sea of people.

As the mass thickens I give up looking for her and instead decide to search for the potatoes and onions I need. It's much easier for her to find me, I think to myself, my white skin is hard to miss, so I shoulder the canvas bag I'm carrying and start looking for the vegetables.

After bartering for the potatoes and onions I resume my search for Denise.

Today Denise and I are really here to buy supplies to get a small business going for her mother. Denise's mother hopes to return to Jeremie next week Friday, but Denise is worried that her mom won't have a way to support herself properly when she goes back. Although her husband is still alive, he is older then her, too old to work, so her mom basically relies on handouts from other family members and friends there. In the past two months since living with
Anoud and Denise she's gained weight and looks a lot healthier then when I first met her. In the hopes of keeping her healthy and eating well, we are helping her start a small business selling spaghetti noodles, brown sugar, juice packages, salami, oil, rice, matches, soap, laundry soap, and chlorine packets. Denise had made up the list of items she thought would be good to sell and we offered to pay for the items to get her started.

This is not the first time Denise and I have shopped together and since she can get better prices if she is not seen with me we had decided to separate. The plan was, I would give Denise money, she would buy the items on the list and we would meet up periodically to check up on each other.

The only problem now is that I haven't seen her for awhile, and it's really difficult to just stand and wait in the market. People nudge me as vendors call out to me trying to get me to look at their wares. After some ladies selling beauty and hygiene items insistently call and beckon me, I finally go up to them and explain I only have enough money to buy onions and potatoes for myself and my husband didn't give me enough money to buy beauty items. They laugh uproariously, it's always a good thing to be funny at the market and I quickly make friends with them. Apparently they had seen Denise and I together in the beginning and not seeing her around now they take me under their wing and find me a shady spot to stand. I feel a little like a three year old lost in the grocery store with all these mother hens clucking around me, making sure I'm okay and I can't help but wish for a minute that I could darken my skin. Although the crowd is thick here, it's just impossible to hide and blend in, and I guess even adults can only take so much pointing, and staring at. At this point I'm a little envious of
Jayden,who could just burst into tears and have his mother pick him up and hug him!

After a little while Denise finds me, really, I'm hard to miss, and we decide to agree on a meeting place. I check the items she bought and then ask her how much more money she needs. After giving her the money we separate again and agree to meet in about 15 minutes. Since standing around draws way to much attention, I decide to explore the market a little more. Holding my point and shoot camera discreetly at waist level I take pictures of whatever I can.

I see chicken parts, including their feet!

I've been told the feet taste like a rubber lollipop, but I'm not quite ready to try it.

I also see stacked up fresh fish,

and some dried fish as well.

I can't help but feel sorry for this poor duck.

and even sorrier for these two goats.

I decide I definitely need some more toughening up before I could eat my lunch while looking at that!

I pass the ladies selling coal and wonder for a moment if I could disguise myself by blackening my skin with coal.

It's tempting, but better not, so I quickly walk on. Before long, I reach the used clothing section of the market and spend a little time looking there.

I then make my way to the second floor of the market and walk into this!

I hadn't seen this part of the market before and since I teach sewing classes this excites me!

What makes me even happier is this!

Zippers, lace, buttons, just the stuff I can use! After snapping some more pictures I make my way back to the meeting place, where one of the vendors, a friend of Denise's is storing everything she buys under her table.

Minutes later Denise returns there as well and I help her carry all the bags. I feel myself sweating as we slowly make our way up the steep incline back to the main road! It feels like I'm carrying a hundred pounds worth of stuff, and my back, neck and arms scream in protest. Half way up the hill, some people around us offer to carry our stuff if we pay them, but we've gotten this far now and neither of us are ready to give up. Am I ever thankful when we find the car, especially when we can't find it and first and we start to think it's been stolen!

When we are finally back home, we show Denise's mom everything we bought! She is thrilled!

I really hope that this will work and that she is able to keep her business going. Denise's mom has become special to me and it will be hard to see her leave after being here for over two months. I never like saying goodbyes.


  1. Ewww....goat meat! How often do you go to the market per week?

    xoxo Henny penny :)

  2. Hey Henny! I don't go every week. Usually a couple times a month, depending on what I need to get.

  3. Hey Will!
    As you might know my dad & I sell haberdasheries at the market. If there are things you could use, I can bring them next summer. We have a huge warehouse, full of things you might need for your sewing classes. So... if there are things that are not available or too expensive... just let me know what you could use by that time!
    Love, Mary

  4. Hey Mary! I will have a better idea of what I can use closer to the time when you come. I will definitely let you know! Thanks!

  5. Those goats are NASTY looking! Poor little things! We should totally try the chicken feet though, i'm sure i mean i'm sure it'd be delicious... ;-)
    By the way, i think that's so awesome that you're helping out Denise's mom in that way. You're such a blessing!