sitting in the hot sun, working on my permanent farmer’s tan, sweating up a storm… i look out at the thousands of faces in the market and think, ‘this is the life.’ not forever, but for now, for sure.
the dantokpa market is the busiest in cotonou. it’s not a place the yovo frequent. but today i went with pelagie and juliette to shop for fabric. i bought 6 meters of two different wax colored cloths. i picked one and juliette chose the other. i wish i could take pictures of the market so you could see what i see, but carrying a camera is asking to be mugged. i could sit for hours and people watch, though. i did sit on a stool for about half an hour to do just that. i bought “fan milk” (frozen yogurt in a pouch) for $0.20 and sucked on the cold vanilla flavor while feasting my eyes on the sites and colors.
after the market, i went to juliette’s house. like most people here, juliette lives in a concession, which are little rooms off a central open space, sharing water and bathrooms. they’re like miniature villages. augustinne, living in the same concession, makes clothes. she took my measurements and my fabric. i’ll have two new african outfits in a week’s time. while visiting chez juliette and augustinne, i was offered lunch. i can never get used to taking food from people who have so little, but they see it as a blessing, so i accept… it’s a good thing i like food so much! the kids living in the concession thought it was so funny to see a yovo in their house. they were shocked when i sat on the floor, but pelagie explained, “she is a missionary, she will accept anything.” i laughed and said, “c’est vrai! it’s true!”
the kids wanted to touch my skin, my nails, my hair. i smiled as one of them counted to see if i too had 5 toes on each foot. i mean really, what could be better? these are the moments i have to hold in my heart when i feel discouraged.