Monday, August 12, 2013

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Market

We may speak different languages, eat different food, and practice different religions but across the globe there is one thing that is the same: the Wednesday and Saturday market.

Life all over this planet comes alive on Wednesdays and Saturdays as people flock to town centers in search of all things tangible. From bananas and corn to t-shirts and livestock, the market is life at its best. 

Whether I am traveling or at home, the market place is my favorite stomping ground, and not just because of all of the local delectibles, but because it offers up some of the best people watching on this planet. Want to learn about a culture? Head to the market, buy a local baked good, and just watch. 

This past week while walking the Saturday market in Nanyuki, Kenya, I learned the real meaning of "heavy duty". From a distance I saw a crowd gathering around two men, whom were both above average in height and muscle mass, that were yelling and jumping up and down. Was this a political rally? or some kind of dance troupe? I questioned. Curious about all the action that lay before me I walked forward. As I approached the crowd of energetic market goers I discovered that no, these men were not running for polical office or enthusiastically reciting biblical verses, no, these men were just selling heavy duty plastic tubs. Now where I grew up, in the good ole' US of A, heavy duty just means the product will potentially last longer but that it is by no means a guaruntee.  However here in Kenya, "heavy duty" really means that you can bang it, slam it and even stomp on it and it will not break; here in kenya "heavy duty" actually means indestructible and to prove this there is no need for an infomercial. There is no need for "as seen on TV", nope, there is no need for any of that fake, manipulated crap because here in Kenya advertising is truth. Don't believe it? Just head to the market because they will personally prove it to you. 

And so as I stood amongst the crowd, that grew by the minute, I watched two men sell plastic tubs like I have never seen before. Within minutes I was convinced that not only were these plastic tubs "heavy duty" but that I, too, needed one for jumping up and down on or perhaps just to wash my clothes.

Markets have that effect on you. They suck you in and next thing you know your basket is full of items that you might not necessarily need. Whether it a kilo of mangos or a heavy duty plastic tub, the excitement of the market is definitely a place worth spending your time and money.

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