On our excursion to Kumasi this weekend, we visited the Kejetia market, one of the largest local outdoor markets in Ghana. At first I was expecting this market to be like one of the many craft markets that we visited, but I was very wrong in thinking this.
Due to the excessive traffic, we had to park the bus a few blocks away and walk to the market. We were all told that this market would be very busy and it would be filled with locals trying to get their shopping done, so it was important for us to stick together and stay out of the way. I didn’t realize just how busy this market was actually going to be.
When we got to the entrance of the market, I could tell that I underestimated the chaos that it held. The walkways in between vendors were incredibly narrow, yet there were still people walking both ways and squeezing by the people in our group trying to get on with their business. I didn’t realize how easy it would actually be to lose track of the line in front of me. We got many mixed reactions from locals, some incredibly friendly and asking where we were from and some not-so-friendly telling us to leave or go home. I am sure everyone we passed meant well; I can understand how our presence there might be a little confusing to many.
We were lucky enough to have Sunny leading us through this market. He is a local who knows his way in and out of this place. We walked all through the market and I was amazed at how much stuff was being sold here. There were fruits, vegetables, fish, meat, clothing, fabric, shoes, jewelry, household items, and probably much more that we didn’t get to see.
I was very overwhelmed the whole time I was there because there were so many colors, smells, and people that were all so unfamiliar. One of the most overwhelming areas that we walked through was the meat section. As soon as we walked up to this section, the smell of raw meat hit me in the face. The meat section of the market is filled with all kinds of meat that is just sitting out in the open waiting to be sold. When we entered the market I somehow lost the line in front of me and I had to run to catch up. I was so worried about losing my group that I almost ran straight into a man who was carrying two horse heads on his shoulders. I was honestly a little surprised that I didn’t get sick. This was so different than any experience I have ever encountered and I was so glad to exit the meat section and find my group to finish the walk through.
Although this market was very overwhelming, I think it was a great way to experience some of the culture in Ghana. I don’t know if I could do my weekly grocery shopping at this market, but for the people here it is just part of everyday life and I am truly amazed by that.