When I went to my first Market in Ghana tailing along Debbie Hayward and Kwame (SIT Staff) I was amazed. First though I must warn you get ready to be 1. Have a salesmen ask you a thousand times to buy their product 2. Be prepared to be grabbed or blocked because of their persistence and 3. Get ready to be followed by salesman pretty much everywhere you go. The markets don’t only those sales that like to be close, but the people too, but the people don’t do it on purpose. When walking throughout a market in Ghana judge imagine you are walking through a giant ball pit with narrow exits that leads to other ball pits. While I was struggling to get by I caught several wonderful smells. We passé by a small onion stand and they smelt so fresh they would make your eyes water without even having to cut or peel the onion. Then next was a pepper, every kind of pepper in this giant bowls filled your nostrils with so many scents, from the spicy red pepper to more of a black peppercorn and other I did not really know that well. Ghanaians love their spicy dishes (you learn that the hard way, I did at least). As our small group of three traveled deeper into this bumper to bumper human traffic the smell of fish all the sudden hit me like a wave. It was fresh alright and really strong. As I walked through I looked to my left and right and saw all the fish on these stalls. I even saw living snails; fairly big ones (pretty much lost my appetite after that point). Then we headed and grabbed some ice-cream, there was no stick how do you expect to eat this? (My current thought). Then I realized it was a little pouch of ice-cream. You would bite a corner out and push from the bottom up so that you can get every, kind of life those tooth paste things. The ice-cream tasted better though.
Our second market trip was more of a shopping for gifts and stuff market. When we got there right away a few guys came to ask us to buy something. They get to know you and then come in for the kill. As much as you try YOU CAN’T ESCAPE IT!! The crafts there were quite interesting, but as I went there that lovely ball pit I realized I needed a breather. So I stepped out into open space and took a breather then I heard “MIKE!!!” it was a salesmen, make that two. I was done for. Then Tyler and Geoff Burgess came to my rescue. When it comes to those situations, sometimes they will ask you to take a look at their products, I mean it doesn’t hurt and who knows you might like it. Be careful though, they will overcharge you for being a tourist. One example is they will start out for charging some an item maybe 50 Cedis (Ghana Currency= U.S $25.00) basically split everything in half. Anyways, when you hear this price, you well want to bring it down. Teso Kakran (lower price) does the trick a lot and if not a lot of Ghanaians speak English. Just for fun though eye sen (how much?) is what you ask when you are curious about the price. A market experience is an eye opener and a lot to handle for first timers such as myself, but what you discover in these markets in compare from the freshest of foods to the most beautiful art work.
By Mike Esposito