One of my favorite movie characters is Melman from the movie “Madagascar.” Melman is a giraffe that constantly trips over things with his legs sprawling everywhere. When I go to the market in Ghana, I become Melman.
First you need a clear picture of Makola Market. I am not talking about a mall or even a flea market environment. Picture six square miles with thousands of stalls, most just a table set up in the middle or side of the road. If it is in the middle of the road and a car decides to drive down the road, you move your table quickly.
There are many tall buildings with barely 6 feet between them. In that six feet people have stalls on both sides leaving about 12-18 inches to walk between. Makeshift roofs cover the stalls making it dark. You can wander down lane after lane and never see daylight getting lost in the maze of people and goods.
Four million people live in Accra and most of them are in Makola market. Then there is me! Today it was 90 degrees. I’m a Florida girl so this temperature is not a big issue unless you are packed in the market like sardines. Not only is there what feels like millions of people but many are carrying large cartons and boards on their heads. Now I am about 5’9” which is 4 or 5 inches taller than most carriers in the market. This puts their boards at just about eye level to me. I’ve been wacked in the head more than once.
With my Melman like moves, I just imagine my friends seeing a headline in the Sarasota Herald Tribune stating “Local woman dies in freak accident in Ghana.”
“Yesterday, Debi Frock, a missionary from Sarasota, tripped and fell into a table filled with soap, sending 200 bars tumbling onto the crowded street. Market goers went sprawling into stall after stall of goods causing mass confusion and panic. Mrs. Frock was found several hours later under thousands of fallen mangoes.”
Today, I survived, but marketing is a serious business.