Article #26 in the YCC Kids Club Ghana Student Life Stories Project
My First Time at Sogakope Market
By Jennifer, Age 13
I was young, seven years of age, the first time my mother brought me with her to the market. When we arrived, I saw so many things for sale: tomatoes, notebooks, pens, rice, beans, pencils, shoes, bags, yams, mangos, clothes, fabrics for dresses, fish, and more!
In Sogakope, the big outdoor market is held every four days, and people sell from wooden structures with metal roofs, or from stands on the earth.
“Ehfoa?” said my friend Vivian in Ewe from behind a meat seller’s stand: “Are you fine?”
“Eh, me foa!” I replied, happy to have seen someone I knew: “Yes, I am fine!”
People were shouting and selling, selling and shouting! Some walked by with big bowls and boxes of wares balanced on their heads. Some people were sleeping under or on top of their stalls. People were everywhere! The sun beat down and made us sweat. Dust rose up from the ground and mixed with the scent of fish.
My mother bought some food like cassava, plantain, fish, pepper, and salt. I could smell the spices in my nose as we passed a spice stall. My mother described the price of each item: the cassava cost two Ghana Cedis for three, the pepper 50 pesewas, and the salt 20 pesewas.
“The fish costs three Ghana Cedis,” said the fish seller.
“No,” said my mother, “You shall decrease the price.”
After some arguing, the seller agreed to lower her price! I felt proud at that moment that my mother could save us money.
As the sun set, we walked back to our home. My mother gathered together the ingredients we had bought together in the market and she cooked our family banku with okra soup. The taste was so sweet in my throat as I ate it! I finally understood the work that went into the whole meal.
Now, I frequently go to the market on my own to buy supplies for my family. However, I will never forget that first time when my mother showed me how to shop and bargain for food in the market!
Lillie’s Note: There are no supermarkets in Sogakope, so outdoor town markets are where most Volta Region dwellers do their shopping. Many prices are bargained for rather than set.
For a foreigner used to a glossy indoor store and price labels, this outdoor market method can be exhausting and intimidating! But it is also an exhilarating, sensory experience.
Please do leave a comment for Jennifer, stating your geographical location!
The author, Lillie Marshall, is 6-foot-tall National Board Certified Teacher of English, fitness fan, and mother of two who has been a public school educator since 2003. She launched Around the World “L” Travel and Life Blog in 2009, and over 3.7 million readers have now visited this site. Lillie also runs TeachingTraveling.com and DrawingsOf.com. Subscribe to her monthly newsletter, and follow @WorldLillie on social media!