Makola Market

Matt and I ventured into the endless bustle of Makola Market in downtown Accra yesterday.  Piled next to each other along the sides of the streets are stands specializing in single items: suitcases; polo shirts; biscuits; radios; bras; vegetables; giant, edible land snails; sleeping mats; blenders; ladies’ purses; baby girls’ dresses; hot water heaters; sunglasses.  Piled in front of the stands are people sitting on the ground offering whatever they can carry on their head that day, which is sometimes quite a lot!  There are toothpastes, small packets of Blue Band margerine, stuffed animals, hairbrushes, bars of soap, Ghanaian flags, homemade baked goods, cloth, vegetables, and clothes donated by the Salvation Army.

Makola Market

Makola Market from above

It never ceases to amaze me how seamlessly the women and men here can effortlessly walk balancing items that easily amount to 20 or 30 pounds atop their heads; navigating Makola Market posed no obstacle to them.  We joined streams of constantly moving people as they maneuvered around crumbled parts of the street, drainage ditches, and one another. We heard the frequent, harsh, high-pitched beeps to which all Nokia phones here seem to be preset for text messages. We experienced smells that varied as much as the items for sale.  We got used to being beckoned with “abroni abroni!” with mixed sentiments of a desire to sell us things and a fascination with the only white people in the market. Children and teens, often with their own wares atop their heads, would run up to shake our hands and run away giggling.  We laughed with one woman who grabbed at my dress and unexpectedly ended up untying my bow (fortunately decorative rather than functional).

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It never ceases to amaze me how effortlessly the women and men here can walk while balancing items that easily amount to 20 or 30 pounds atop their heads; navigating Makola Market posed no obstacle to them.  We joined streams of constantly moving people as they maneuvered around crumbled parts of the street, drainage ditches, van drivers backing up, and one another. We experienced smells as diverse as the items for sale. We heard the frequent, harsh, high-pitched beeps to which all Nokia phones here seem to be preset for text messages. We got used to being beckoned with “abroni abroni!” with mixed sentiments of a desire to sell us things and a fascination with the only white people in the market. Children and teens, often with their own wares atop their heads, would run up to shake our hands and run away giggling.  We laughed with one woman who grabbed at my dress and unexpectedly ended up untying my bow (fortunately decorative rather than functional).

Each new intersection presented equally chaotic paths; though those familiar with the market claim that there is an order to its arrangement.  We will see if we can deduce any of that today, as we now venture back with an aim – to find supplies for hanging bed nets!

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This entry was posted in Accra, Africa, food, Ghana, market. Bookmark the permalink.

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