Market Day Quandaries

Today I am thinking of going to the market. I haven’t gone in months.

When I first got to site, I went every market day, 3 times a week. Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday I would go with my plastic bag down the dusty road, through all the people and the shops to the place tucked back in the deep part of town. I’d follow the same path, stop for coffee at the same place. I’d greet the same people, and sometimes new ones. I’d buy carrots, tomatoes or onions, garlic, ginger, sometimes beans, once in awhile beets or potatoes. I’d always leave with a sack full of things and walk back through the crowded streets.
Women on the ground selling fruit from tarps would sometimes tempt me to stop and add something.

At home, I would experiment with cooking elaborate meals of stews and chili, or different stir fries.

After awhile I became exhausted of it. My appetite decreased, both for the food and the stimulation of all the people. I resorted to eating oatmeal and bananas, scrambled eggs… anything simple and available nearby.

Even now, I wonder if I’ll really go to market. It sounds daunting. At some point the novelty of being a novelty wears off. When you’re here long enough, you just want to live your own life, not under the guise that everyone projects of you. It can make you jaded, cynical I think. You begin to brush off a simple greeting, your mind so focused on being done and getting home. You question every hello as a possible request for money or sexual harassment. And deep down that part of you that really likes people, that loves to connect and socialize, gets stifled. It becomes lost and suppressed under your barrier of protection. I feel it. I feel it all the time. When I recognize it, I pull the barrier down, just a little. I smile at people. I take my time to crouch down and greet the kids. I look them in the eyes and ask how they are, what their name is. Then I repeat it back to them, as best I can, to show that I understand. They giggle at the sound of their name in my voice. Their laughter relaxes me, and I continue on a little lighter.

I realize that moments like those are passed every day. I just have to take the time. It’s about getting out of my head and letting others in. The requests for money, the lewd comments from guys who are high on khat… those will never go away. But I shouldn’t let them steal away all the moments of happiness that lurk inside the cracks.

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3 responses to “Market Day Quandaries

  1. I too find at times the bores of a routine, and you have the right idea to change thing up, going to the market, the greeting of a passer by or a child. I will from time to time get into a good book or venture off to a gathering and hold a story time for locals, then there is always meditation with God the Father, or if that not your cup just a simple Knot tying on a length string or rope. When was the last time you played pick up jack ( or rocks) jump rope with the kids near by, but of course just some Ideas and I’m sure you have done alot of these thing already. but in reading your story I could not help but feel like you are getting bore with your day to day activity so I was just offering ideas that came to my mind. I enjoy your Writing in alot of way I feel as if I’m there with you, and at times I truly wish I was. Please forgive me for being intrusive.

    • Hey.. thanks for following along. It’s not that I’m bored, or even down. It’s just that the stress of living in the spotlight can sometimes wear me down. And when that happens, I just try my best to seek out the things that make me smile.

  2. Hang in there, lady. Before you know it you’ll be home and probably wishing you could go to the market. You’re so brave for doing this in the first place. Anyhow, I always enjoy reading your posts. Sending good thoughts your way. :]

    XOXO

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