Adam and I have actually become quite fond of our little trips to the market, originally necessitated by our lack of staff, but now one of our favorite parts of the day.
We know the people along the road, and they call our names and wish us good days.
Also, even with our staff back from their forest trips, it takes ten times as long to send our go-to guy anywhere.
I’m guessing it’s because he usually goes to a bunch of other places to chat and hang out with his friends whenever we send him out.
So, mornings when we haven’t planned ahead and pre-bought the day’s food, we walk very early in the morning, 8am-ish, over to the market about a mile away. The sun hasn’t yet come out in full force, and it’s nice and sometimes even cool!
Yesterday, one of the hottest days in recent memory, we thankfully didn’t need to go to the market, but as 5pm crept up on us and our favorite Bread Girl had yet to come to the house, we took matters into our own hands and walked down to the market to get some bread.
I don’t think we’ve ever been to the market as late as 5:30pm, and after yesterday, I don’t think we will again!
Firstly, it was a lot more crowded, but most of the people there didn’t know us already like our early-morning crew so we got a lot of crazy calls of “MONDELE!” (Lingala for ‘whitey’) and people begging us for money and sugar and food really really persistently.
We were thankfully “saved” somewhat by this deaf beggar at the market, who shooed away other beggars with this EXTREMELY high pitched cooing sound -- I don’t even know if I can adequately describe it but if you can imagine Mickey Mouse as a mean policeman, it might come close.
But people were, for the most part, happy and there was music playing from a nearby shopkeeper’s stand. A woman next to me started dancing in a traditional Congolese way (which as I described to my mother as basically standing with your arms outstretched and alternately bending each of your knees to sort of jiggle your butt) ---
so I started to dance with her!
Oh my GOD the ruckus, as everyone in the market clamored over one another to get a look at me dancing and there was an eruption of sound and frenzy -- and, while Adam just thought it was “really cool” I’ll admit to being a bit terrified! It was like being in the center of a happy riot, and suddenly we were surrounding at every angle and every elevation by faces, and eyes, all fixed on us.
It was complete chaos, and “Momma”, an easygoing woman who sells us rice every morning, had to swing a large stick just to part the crowd of hundreds so we could get out of the market.
Ooo la la!