My mom begged me to go there and i hesitated for a while ,well because I was not physically and psychologically prepared to step into that place today.Well she insisted and how could I turn her down. When I started the journey it was smooth of course or was it because shades in the house were hindering a big yellow ball up there from cooking me raw, I couldn't really tell.The sun became dangerously hot as I left the house. Someone must have gotten it upset and I could feel my temperature rising. I got on a bike,and we sped off,the fresh air slapping my face, my hair constantly dancing with each acceleration which was amazing,though at some point I had to blink away dust particles.
After the short moment of bliss, we arrived at the warzone.I was greeted with the buzzing noise, from traders and buyers, blaring music used to draw the attention of buyers. Different canopies that bore bright colors were used as shades and mini kiosks as well. I took In a deep breath and scanned through the list I had made. Whew! I had a long list of things to buy and well I had to get them according a particular order.Toiletries first ,followed by foodstuff.Getting the T thingies were easy ,no much crowd around.(Get in ,get out kind of business.) Soon foodstuff were the only things not marked on my list.with so much determination I strutted into "free zone". Whoever named this particular segment of the market "free zone" was gravely mistaken, It should be called a warzone.
First I was greeted with a resounding 'uzo!! Uzo!!' meaning to warm me of an approaching truck pusher or wheelbarrow pusher. They were quite efficient in transporting goods short distances in the market. While dodging the man with his fully loaded wheel barrows ,I almost collided with an elderly woman. "That was a close one" I muttered as I clearly escaped a deadly comeuppance of not being swift in the market. Familiar scents greeted my nostrils as I progressed deeper into the market. Fresh vegetables, fruits and there were stenches probably from rotten foods too but I evaded them all. The vegetable leaves were displayed whilst being properly shaded to avoid being shrunk by the sun, the pumpkin leaves, referred to as Ugu" in igbo, waterleaf, etc
Soon I was deep into the market. My toes were stepped on more times than I could count and waiting for an apology was like dreaming of Aliko Dangote relinquishing his wealth to you.Everyone one was in too much of a hurry to get to wherever they were going, rendering an apology would definitely cause too much of a delay.
And the" ouch !ouch! oohm! "I let out were totally useless.My poor feet were probably bruised who could blame them for wandering into the biggest market in the state. I stepped on few toes myself,shaded some people as I continued with my task but I'd always throw out a 'sorry o!'
because I was taught to,some nodded at me probably meaning apology accepted while others never even paid attention to it.
At some point I had to squeeze myself out of two endowed women who had decided to create a barricade on the road with their waist,while picking out fresh pepper. After all everyone was free to stay as they pleased in the "free zone". I was sweating the moment I made it pass them.
Sometimes I found myself being pushed to the location I was going poor stamina!. I was often distracted by arguing traders who used very poor grammar, some who ran away from their shops to avoid paying tax, those who would resort to insulting customers for pricing a commodity below the selling price. I had learnt the hard way never to use any kind of intellectual prowess to try to convince certain traders about things. "Why waste your time looking for the perfume black orchids in the market when you can just get it in seconds when you pronounce it as orchad with the stress on the" CH". Bouquet was pronounced as bounkwet and business still went on.The market was situated in a commercial city called Aba where Education was still fighting for grounds over business.
Finally I was done buying.
I felt like a victorious knight coming back from war.All the items had been crossed on my list and the bag was filled.I kept my mind focused as barely wiggled out to where I was going to take a bike home,with my bag clutched to my side like a magnet.
The stories where women bought things in the market and came back empty handed,was not one i was willing to share any time soon.My face was cooked,my feet a bit sore,my hands red from incessant tugging and dragging by traders to buy from them.
Some called me nice names like Apunanwu ,Asa capitalizing on my fair complexion. Others took offense at my 'don't touch me move' and called me awful things . I was compared to a vulture by one man, while the other one called me a prostitute because I was putting on a sleeveless top. I didn't call him names even though I was tempted to, my mind would always speak in mum's words.
"You're a well trained girl ,always behave like one" besides exchanging words with a trader in a market didn't really suit me.
Well after the hurdle, I was out of the market and headed home.
I had to refrain from using English while buying to avoid getting cheated. I threw in a few Aba slangs for some to know that I was an indigene and I knew 'what's up'.And you can't guy nwa Aba na.Sometimes I displayed my teeth even though I wasn't amused by the dry jokes some male traders spewed , it made them happy and the selling price went down drastically"Sweet feminine charms"
I treated my self to 'ihe ahia ,I deserved that bit at least .A chilled bottle of sprite', a beautiful reward for my stress. Afterwards, I got on the bike and left.
Ariaria is my home,Ariaria market is one beautiful place .