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How I Found My Name in the Second Largest Market in West Africa

How I Found My Name in the Second Largest Market in West Africa

A small dirt path to walk on with children, women with object balanced on their head, trash, and acrid meat smells as obstacles. As a snake winding through a rocky stream I charge through the market, keeping one eye out for the group member in front of me like I am hunting a white mouse. Stalls upon stalls stack the path creating a cave tall enough to block out the sky. The colors, smells, and vast amount of goods overwhelm me. I zone all of it out and focus on not getting trampled, lost, or knocked over. Meat, jewelry, and kitchen wear fly by in a blur and we get our bearings at the fabric section. We joke about needing a posted map with a “you are here” marker. I browse the three rows of fabrics, each row nearly a block or so long. I talk to friendly vendors. I ask to take a photo of a girl and she smiles, takes my picture with a small silver phone. We smile and laugh at the photos. She shows her mom who tells her to show it to the next-door vendor, perhaps her father. She says her name is “adoi” and asks me mine. I reply and she says no she wants my Ghanaian name. I haven’t looked up my day yet (Ghanaians are named by the day of the week they are born on, having a handful to choose from for each day). She insists on giving me one. “You are Yaaa” I smile, pleased as ever. “That’s perfect!” I said goodbye with a handshake moving into a smooth snap. I walk away telling Bee that Adoi had just given me the name I used to call myself when I was little. No one understands why, but at the age of three when prompted with a question of my name I would reply “me Yaaa Yaaa.”

 

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