As I come to the end of my two years here in Guyana I can’t help but think of some of the things I’ll miss. As much as this place drove me crazy, it wiggled it’s way and will always have a special place in my heart. I have come to enjoy (well I must since it’s how every Saturday goes; or maybe I’m just a creature of habit but either way I like it) my Saturday mornings. For some reason, no matter how late I stay up on Friday, I usually wake up early between 5-5:30 on Saturday. It could be the dogs barking, the oh so annoying parrots making noise, one of my neighbors blaring music, the heat, the bright morning sun or for no particular reason at all (or any combination of one or all of those!) that I am wide awake. I start my morning off by getting one load of wash soaking then grab my market bag and head out. So my market trip should really only take me 15-20 minutes (a 5 min. walk there, 5-10 min. to walk along and buy my goods and a 5 min. walk home) but in the two years I’ve been going to market, it never has. And really when I think about it, I don’t mind at all that it takes me longer… even when it took me almost an hour once.
My normal market adventure starts with me leaving and right before I can even hit the main road I always have to stop and talk to at least two people. One morning while walking out I passed an older lady, we exchanged our mornin’ and where are you going… oh the market me too. We decided to walk together and that was seriously the slowest walk I’ve ever walked ( I could have walked the opposite direction and still reached before she did) but when I thought about it after I realized what else would I be doing with my time, I might as well right. Walking along the main road I pass a handful of people who you either say morning to, a little wave or you give a head nod. I don’t know how I know which one to use but I always seem to end up doing the appropriate one. There’s usually a bus that will pass with someone yelling out the window, hey beautiful, white girl, white meat or anything else they can think of and of course there’s going to be someone sipping from across the road. There’s been times when it will suddenly start to pour and I have to take cover with a neighbor under some random shed or times when it’s so hot you have to pull out your umbrella and sweat rag after only a few feet.
Once I reach the part of the road where the market actually is, the fun starts. As you walk by the vendors will yell out white girl what ya shoppin’ for today or auntie what ya buyin’ or they’ll just call out whatever they’re selling. Bora, shallots, cabbage, hot peppers auntie hot peppers… I think one of my favorite things I’ve heard called out was by a small boy who said, bora, bora white girl to help keep your color.
It was creative and I probably would have bought some bora from him had I not just bought a bunch from a few sellers down. While moseying along you have to be quick on your toes to avoid cars passing, people stopping right in front of you, a bicycle or umbrella that’s hanging out or fish guts that are flying off knives as they chop up fish. During shopping I get tapped on the shoulder from various people who’s names I may or may not remember and sometimes don’t even know. I’ll usually have to stop and say hello to at least ten people sometimes more. Auntie Sis, Auntie Janet, Vanessa’s mommy, someone who say’s they know me but I have no idea who they are, an older lady who likes to give me things but I can’t for the life of me remember her name (she’ll pass by and tell me she has something for me and that I must stop by her house on the way home. When I do she likes to give me random clothes her family has sent- a pair of maternity shorts, jeans, ridiculous white pants and a piece of pink floral fabric to make my own blouse), my neighbor who lives down the road but I only know her as Dave’s sister’s mother-in-law, Mala, Vicky’s dad, Kishan the dj/fish seller, Richard and Freddie’s mom, Uncles James, Amrita, Amit and baby Shushme, the lady who attends my clinic and always ask me why the medicine is making her face numb, Nacka (like knock-a), Sophie’s dad who I’ve said hello to everyday for the past two years and still can’t remember his name, Serochnie, Rocky, Sherry and her dad, the bus conductor guy, Fyzool and/or his brother Fyzal, the little girl who’s been missing her two front teeth for a long time with her grandmother, the cone shop lady or her daughter Sarah, and many other random people.
Going to market really is an unique experience whether it’s the kids calling and waving out the window, the police sipping at you, being offered “taxi rides” on some guys bike or the colorful conversations that occur . I never truly know what will happen or who I’ll run into and I’m really going to miss that about my Saturday mornings.