Sometimes I like to wander through our vegetable market on Saturdays. It brings a funny piece of mind being amongst all of that fresh fruit and veg. I didn’t love markets before coming to Zambia, and I still don’t love clothing and/or random stuff markets, but I love the way I feel around a veg market.
The women working the stands have displayed everything with such care and attention. They stack four tomatoes, one on top of the other, in perfect balance hoping that the red balls appeal to the buyers eye more that way. They have bagged perfect servings of green beans into many small bags so that all you need to do is grab and go. Fast food never looked this good. Today I bought, all fresh, a pineapple, green beans, four giant green peppers, a cucumber and one lemon all for under $2.00. With a deal like that it is hard to leave the space not feeling pretty good about yourself.
It is as if everyone is just working to take really good care of you. The woman worked hard to provide the best fruits and vegetable available to keep you healthy and happy. For a cheaper price and a better quality than the local supermarkets can provide. You, the buyer, want to provide for the women in the same way. Buyers are taking their time and going out of their way to get the best bang for their buck. It is like the coolest cheapest Farmers’ Market you can imagine.
Today, however, my favorite thing about my weekly veg shopping did not happen at or in the veg market. It happened just outside.
I was walking home with my fresh produce in my hands feeling pretty good about the breeze that was blowing and the pink sunset that was rolling in when it happened. An older gentleman was sitting, stagnant, in his Zambian equivalent of a wheel chair trying to read the latest Jehovah Witness mailer; it appeared as if he was mostly just flipping through, looking at the pictures. A child of maybe 12 or 13 years politely greeting the older man as the boy was walking by. The man looked up and then bravely asked the young boy if he could read. The boy replied that he could and was getting ready to continue walking when the persistent old man asked again, “Can you read English?” It turned out this older man’s new friend did. Immediately the younger boy asked what he wanted to know.
I was out of ear shot after this but my heart was thoroughly warmed knowing that bravery and kindness like that still exist. J