By Ian Froude
The Tamale market
We entered the market through a narrow alleyway, bumping shoulders with those passing us as they left the market. The smell of diesel, raw cow, and cooking groundnuts filled the dry air. We were greeted by Ghanaian women dressed in colourful prints sitting in their stalls behind large piles of shoes and clothing on display, and others sitting behind big bowls of uncooked rice they had for sale.
The atmosphere hectic. People constantly moving.
“Dasiba” we greet, ‘good morning.’
“Naaa,” ‘fine,’ they reply cheerfully as we walk through the narrow laneways with concrete, gravel and sometimes garbage under our feet.
We meet one women selling uncooked rice grown just an hour from the market, just north of Tamale here in Northern Ghana. It is 2 cedis per bowl, about $1.50 Canadian. We walk much further through the market past stalls selling beautiful cloths from around the world, or piles of soap, pens, pencils, and notebooks. I buy a notebook and two pens, 2.2 cedis, $1.75.
During Christmas many Canadians send shoeboxes to Ghana and many other places in Africa. Walking through this market makes me ask the same question that I have asked a dozen times again. Why send soap, pencils and a notebook to a village in Ghana when it is available right here? When the people of Ghana can buy it from their fellow citizens and support the local economy.
We walk further under the shade of steel roofs projecting out from the stalls into the pathway giving periodic protection from the very hot late morning sun, our backs and arms wet with sweat from the 35 degree heat. Periodically a blast of wind kicks up a storm of dust which has everyone covering their eyes, and unfortunately because everyone is soaked with sweat, it turns everyone brown as the dust sticks to their skin and hair.
This was part of my day exploring the Tamale Market, one of which brought back lots of memories from my time here five years ago.