Scenes from a day in Bolgatanga.

A weekly malfunction of the moto is becoming all to predictable. Recently the stand cracked and would not hold the moto upright when parked, in addition the stand hit on the road at the smallest bump. Today the rear brakes suddenly ceased to unction. They have gotten to know us well at the repair shop, which is also the same shop where we purchased the moto, used, a month ago. The repair shop is at the bottom of a steep road embankment about 15 feet long and cannot easily be ridden up or down, I guess this helps to prevent theft of the twenty motorcycles under repair that lay in the dirt, under a tree, at the bottom of the embankment. The owner of the shop comes up to the road to see what is wrong and then drives the moto down to the shop himself. The ground at the shop is covered with oil and discarded parts, the same goes for the men working there. A tree limb is ringed with a dozen tires. A nearby “stream” is a thick, mucky gray-green. Fortunately repairs are cheap, $3 and forty minutes later the stand is welded back on and we are off to get fruit in the market. The cost to replace the rear brake shoe was a mere $2.50.

The market is truly a shopping experience, Crowded with open air market shops, customers of all ages are on foot, motorcycle, and bicycle. Wandering livestock, from fowl to full grown cows. add interest and obstacles. You do need to watch where you step! The noise, crowds and seeming chaos are intimidating to the novice, but for those of us who enjoy grocery shopping, it is an experience to look forward to. On this day I was hoping to find raisins, known simply as “dried fruits” in the market. I started in a shop where I bought them 2 years ago. This shop is now selling little individual packets, about enough for a bowl of oatmeal, hand wrapped in plastic at a price equivalent to 50 cents. Much as I like raisins on my oatmeal, the thought of contaminated hands, think typhoid/cholera/hepatitis, is enough send me looking elsewhere. Fortunately a little girl at the shop says she knows of a shop nearby where they have large packages of raisins. Indeed, the shop has factory sealed, imported raisins for $4/half pound. Exorbitantly expensive, but probably the only packaged raisins for many, many miles. The purchase is made and the little girl given “dash” (a tip).

After a purchase of local bananas, which are absolutely delicious and dirt cheap, we slowly weave our way out of the market past women selling beans, rice, and millet from large basins. As we stroll by, a sheep takes a bite of millet flour from one of the basins, prompting the market woman to leap to her feet brandishing a large stick. The sheep and the woman lunge through the crowd, and after a minute she manages to get close enough to give the sheep several hefty whacks. Such good entertainment causes the shoppers to stop and watch, with both laughter and cheering as the chase concludes.