Marketing in Impfondo
After I saw this post about grocery shopping in Djibouti, I knew I needed to do one about shopping in Impfondo. It's a little different than shopping in the US... OK, make that A LOT different.
1. Car... what car?
It is possible to drive the 1.5 miles to the market, but not really necessary. I prefer to take my bike- with or without the cart, depending on how much I think I will buy on that trip.
Walking is always an option, too. When you walk, you have a chance to see more of the people and neighborhood on the way.... and they have a chance to see you and talk to you.
2. Cash only.
There are no checks or credit cards, only cash. But there is an ATM you can use to get cash from your bank. Just remember that it is going to be a community event- no privacy.
|The line at the ATM is watching the person at the front of the line use the ATM. It is common to offer advice to the person using the machine.|
3. Open air market
Supermarket? There's no such thing. Instead there is an open air market with some stores that are a single room attached to a row of similar stores. They carry a small selection of canned goods and other household items. There are usually the same things in most of the stores.
There are also stands and tables all throughout the market. This means that when it rains, the market closes down until the rain is over. Then it is necessary to wade through the mud puddles as you navigate the market.
There's not any uniformity in the appearance of stores- or in their height. Stephen was too tall for many sections of the market, and even at 5'2", I often had to duck.
Many things are not sold in packaging, and you can buy the amount you need. You only need one egg? That's fine, because you buy them individually.
Things like dried beans are sold by the scoop. Fruit and vegetables can be bought individually or by the small stack. Unless you brought your own sack or container, your purchases will be wrapped in newspaper or banana leaves.