Kumasi Shopping

Central Market

Eric dove into a shop and came out on the top with us in tow for a great view of the market.

We finally took the plunge and went downtown to experience the legendary Kejetia Market, a shopping phenomenon referred to locally as the Central Market. We’d been in Kumasi for for six weeks and felt it was time we saw, smelled and felt the market for ourselves. Lauren was going one last time before she leaves the country this week, so we joined her. Naturally we hired our friend Eric to drive us there and act as point person as we wove our way through the narrow, crowded streets.

This market is massive. It covers twenty-five acres and hosts ten thousand vendors. Following Lauren’s lead, we chose to focus on textiles and beads.

Eric took the point postion, breaking the way through the throng. We followed him trustingly through tightly packed aisles laden with produce, stationery, dried cows hooves and other meat, beans and flour.

This is the best image of what looked to be carefully sculpted cones of lard that I was able to get. Taking picturess is a bit like trying to photograph the shore while shooting rapids. Many of the vendors were not happy to see me point the camera and most of the time we were so packed in that snapping she shutter would only have yielded a snippet of someone skin or clothing. The whole experience is akin to riding a roller coaster but much more fragrant. We soon became immune to the feel of other people’s arms brushing against our skin although I did get dizzy at one point from over stimulation.

When we arrived at the desired destinations we bought fabric and bracelets. I took the opportunity to speak with Hannah, the fabric vendor about the recent fire. She said it cost a lot of vendors their inventory and that people leave their fires going and forget to put them out. After we left her stall with a fine piece of adinkra cloth and some orange patterned batiked cotton, I was more aware of the many fires burning within the market.

I spotted two crispy dough balls at one of those fires which I was hoping were yam balls and bought them for 50 pesewas (25 cents.)

Oh man. They were not yam balls but donuts. Bob refused to eat at the market for sanitary reasons so I shared my dough balls with housemate Justin although I ended up eating one and a half myself.

Its been a long time since I ate a doughnut and these were of the delicious, greasy variety! It took me some time to wipe the oil off my face with the back of my hand while plowing through the wall-to-wall crowds. The smile, however is still lingering.

Just for fun, heres a pretty nice video which captures the essence of Kumasi’s Central Market.

By Camille Armantrout

Camille lives with her soul mate Bob in the back woods of central North Carolina where she hikes, gardens, cooks, and writes.