One of the trips I look forward to during my school holiday is the visit to Makola market, the biggest market in the Accra.
I sometimes wonder why I am enthused by the chaos and serious titillations of that crowded space. I guess in all this there is a great sense of order which drives the desire to search and shop.
The variety of goods and foods tease your eyes. The sights and sounds somewhat confusing, drives the need to be present and be part of the show. The calling of wares which has always been a characteristic of this place, energizes your quick walk along the pavement turned stalls, where one squeezes through throngs of people, mostly traders and hawkers. Sometimes they seem more than the people actually buying.
Ploughing with a list in hand and a focus on what exactly one visited for, is important as the diversions and attractions can easily disorientate you. Most things seem appealing, especially walking through the jagged spaces, and seeing rows of stalls displaying the same items. Where do you stop? Whose stall do you buy from? To draw your attention, the traders speak directly to you. You hear about six voices at the same time, six voices shouting their wares in different languages.
“Maame buy one for me!” coaxing in English.
“Baa hee eko,” demanding in Ga.
“To baako ma me wai,” pleading in Twi.
I walk briskly, not turning, looking straight ahead of me, sometimes I am not sure whether to look down to make sure the next step lands on a safe levelled spot or straight ahead in order to push through the crowd, fast. One hesitation and the callers think you are coming to them. Sometimes it feels like a slight harassment so on such occasions, I smile and beckon to show, ‘I don’t need any.’
Some of my friends think I am daring to venture to this quarter, but I am delighted as I am engulfed by the mishmash of smells. The aroma of oats and spicy dishes, stagnant water in some clogged gutters, fresh fish being scaled and other smells that stray by as you move. Each step gives a different feel, mushy especially after the rains and firm concrete pavements alternately. The colors and movement enchant you. Where do you look? The roads are packed with old buses transporting more people to fill the area. As for the colors, they are indescribable, hanging, piled, held and moving colors of goods and foods. Cars hoot to move the pedestrians off the road, music blasts from nearby music shops and the lone preachers share the word and blessing of the day.
The experience can be overwhelming but worth it. I count myself lucky to have made a friend on my previous visit. As I head to my destination, to purchase African fabric. I phone Abigail to meet me at a quiet spot. From there we head to her treasure trove to explore and shop.