The Belly Button Window Details

About Belly Button Window

The Semi-Regular Newsletter


Ghana, February 25, 2005

African Home Delivery

Here the market comes to you easier than you to it

Need spices?
Bamako Trader
How 'bout toys?
Beachside Trader
Its Accra, Ghana, and you need sponges, or pans, or some other domestic item. You could spend half the day at the market, looking for just the right item, or you could be much more efficient, and let it come to you. Here, like the rest of Africa in general, the market comes to you as easily as you go to it.

On every street, at all hours of the day, people are walking around with all manner of domestic items, traveling salesmen looking for a sale. Up and down the street they go, thankfully rather quiet, showing their wares to all they pass.

Men's shirts? That's every two hours. Mops and buckets? Twice in the morning and once at night. Cobbler? Once an hour at least. Phone cards? Every thirty seconds!

Now these traveling salesmen do have an interesting way to present their wares. Like babushkas in Russia, they hold their items in front of them, but then they also balance their inventor on their head. Men and women, with all those pots, shirts, even pyramids of bananas and onions, all piled high on their heads.

I'm always amazed they can balance so much, so artfully. Of course, after a while I noticed that quite a few things fell. Not often, but they did. Yet the poise that balancing ten kilograms of cassava on their head pays off in more than just a sale.

Young girls walk like models, even when free of loads, from all that good posture. Me, I felt downright hunchbacked in comparison.

Enter your email for Belly Button Window updates:


Is the doughnut of cloth used between the inventory tray and the head? Do the women have infants on their swaying hips or slung on their backs while balancing head loads? Thanks for the interesting observations and photos.

I have to first bring it to your attention that RICH countries like Britain and America REFUSED to do fair trade with Africa.They resorted to giving the poor continent LOANS.Just think about this.A loan to a 'poor' continent;That's how they call it.Anyhow,we all know that when you get a loan,you have to pay the interest. Now tell me,a loan to a poor person and you want interest be it small or big,but it is interest!
That's why Africans had to CREATE jobs so as to get the income.
But take a look at those guys selling that stuff. You might find that some of them have land,built houses nomatter what type of a house provided he doesn't pay rent,which is a challenge to me a person who is living in a modern house has a job but pay bloody rent.
Better off than me.

Wayan,you have to remember that these guy's prices are lower than those in shops;that's the first advantage.
Secondly,they deliver those things to customers who are unable to go to towns due to some reasons or transport or maybe save time.
Thirdly,I might be having bread only for breakfast without a banana to accompany.Then the guy becomes very helpful at that moment.
In most cases,these guys sell their goods honestly.But go to the market,those funny ladies that have seen many disappointing centuries tease you like hell.They first look at the way you are dressed up or maybe you've parked a car somewhere,then it's the price that you gona meet.
She becomes rude to you so that you become ashamed and buy something twise the original price.
Trust me I end up telling them that it is not my fault t6hat they chose that kind of job.I just get my money using the 'bird'.
With that,they just chill and their coleages just laugh at them.
All in all,it is self employment in Africa,and those guys are successive.
Never mind about the hardships,they are used to everything.
That's why slaves had to come to the west not to work in offices.
But where there is peace,love,hope and warmth,everything is possible.
They have peace of mind.

The comments on this post are now closed.