Ah, yes. The Galmi market. There really aren't the words. I was able to take a few shots, but not good ones as the best places for photos were so crowded I couldn't actually shoot anything. This has been a challenge for me to put my camera away this trip. I'll be going east to Maradi on the first of September, and hope to do a bit more shooting while I'm there. I think it's because this is where I'll be for a long time . . . I'm not here to document . . . I'm here to prepare. It's a whole different way of approaching the place. This is new for me. I'm used to using my camera as an expression of how I see the world. But here, while I'm still an outsider, I'm not going to be. I'm here to get a small taste of what my life is going to be like. I cannot shoot that. I don't know how.
But anyway, you didn't come here to read my ramblings . . . let me tell you (as best I can) about the market at Galmi. We arrived late in the day (close to 5) as things were shutting down. The ground was paved with rubbish that had been so compacted by pedestrian traffic I believe the plastic water bottles were paper thin. But that's the only paving around, once you exit the tar road (the one I call "Main Street" as it is the tar road that runs east from Niamey along the width of the country). I imagine it looks much like a mosh pit just after the rain.
The market was still crowded at closing time . . . and Auntie Cindy tells me that there are actually more people earlier in the day. Galmi is a town of nearly 5,000 but they come in from the neighboring towns and villages on Wednesday, Galmi Market Day. There are vendors selling EVERYTHING!!! Pots, pans, fruits, vegetables, spices, nuts, water basins, varying size (and color) plastic "tea pots" that aren't used for tea (let's put it this way, toilet paper is a western thing), portable electronics, fabric, ready-made clothes, used western style clothing (some of the t-shirts are FANTASTICLY FUNNY in this context), prayer mats, Qur'an study tablets, oh, and did I mention meat?? That's right . . . they chop it up right there for you (it's a good thing I can't post odors on a blog or I'd let you have a whiff . . . complete with flies and all). Don't get me wrong, I've seen this before in India and China, but there was just something about it today. This is about how hot and humid it was when I was in India during the monsoon . . . and it's just going to get hotter here . . . but the meat will be in the same place then!
Enough about the meat. Lets talk about the people. There were so many interesting and beautiful people in the market! The women donned all the colors on the spectrum -- and BRIGHT and BOLD patterns (okay, I have to admit something. We came to the market so that I could pick out fabric to have an outfit made. But I couldn't bring myself to get anything as they are all so LOUD!! I know I will wear these patterns when I'm here, but they don't have anything in solid black . . . or in solids!! If it's not a print, it's tiedye!! OY! My wardrobe is going to change!!! But not yet).
Okay, I'm sure by now you're tired of my words. Here are some photos I did manage to take. Enjoy.
Up first: A few houses, The CoOp, and The Airstrip.
Three favorite spots for all those living on the SIM Galmi compound.
Yes, those are goats tied to the top of the taxi.
And now a few random shots of the village: