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Jennifer’s Article: First Time at Market as a Girl in Ghana

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!

Jennifer, the student author of this piece.
Jennifer, the student author of this piece.

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.

A market in Sogakope, Ghana.
A market in Sogakope, Ghana.

“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!

A man balancing a bag on his head in a Ghanaian market.
A man balancing a bag on his head in a Ghanaian 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!


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Leo P.

Tuesday 17th of November 2015

Jennifer is totally different from American children. When her mom was arguing with someone. She didn't get embarrassed like some American children might. She took lessons from that.

steph zizi

Sunday 19th of December 2010

I remember the first time I've been to a market, it was so crowded there that I got lost. But I found my way back.

Malaysia S.

Monday 6th of December 2010

I think its really great that you got to learn at a young age how to bargain that's a very important skill *laughs*. I'd love to see an out door market like that. All the markets that I have seen are indoors and there is definitely always a set price. :)

Tori Fortune

Wednesday 17th of November 2010

Wow, the market in Ghana is so,so,so much different than the markets here, but they sell some of the same things like fish and pepper! This was such a nice description it makes me want to go to Ghana and see the markets.

My mother would probably do the same as yours, bargaining! She is like that too. She will always bargain and never buy things that aren't on sale (haha). Our mothers seem alike! Anyways, nice story Jennifer!

-Tori Fortune from Boston


Monday 25th of October 2010

Im starting to like this market then my mall.

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