african dress night

The skirts that were created from the fabric we purchased at the market.

Our mission today was simple: find fabric to make ourselves a skirt. In order to do that, we had to go into the Bo market. I should explain our desire for fabric: the women here look stunningly beautiful. They were bright, vibrant colored pieces of cloth every day, as skirts, dresses and headscarves. We look a bit shabby in comparison. Needless to say, we were all eager to wear our own Sierra Leonian cloth.

As soon as we arrived at the market we were immersed in chaos. It is a mix of crowds of people, loud noise, and pungent smells. The market is made up by a mix of small open-air stands. But none of them are devoted to one thing, for example, one can find bracelets, flip-flops and gum at the same place. There are dozens just like it. The market is anything but neat and grid-like. It is a jumble of stalls and displays. We wound our way in between stalls, one after another. Finally, we arrived at our destination: the fabric stand. We walked inside and on all three walls and from floor to ceiling were fabric.

We “oohed” and “ahhed” over every swatch. There were some in every color and every pattern imaginable. Some were floral patterned and some had snakes and starfish. Others were bright and cheery or dark and understated. We exclaimed over every new pattern or color. We chose our favorites; we compared them and asked each others’ opinions. Thinking back now, we must have been quite a sight.Regardless, our mission was complete.We exited the shop twenty minutes later with our new purchases at hand.

Then, Joseph (our leader) led us through a second part of the market. We dutifully followed him past candy stands, shoe displays, and tire shops until we entered a covered area of the market. The scent of fresh fish hit me first. As I looked on either side of me I could see down aisles of tables covered in fish of different sizes and colors. We went past tables full of chicken and crab. Then we saw piles of small green, yellow, and red peppers. There was a woman selling different colored spices out of small brown sacks spread across a table. There were vegetables and some fruits. We walked past a small door, through which was hanging an entire lamb. This was no Safeway.

After making one last walk through the market, we finally got into the car and drove back to the MTC. And that is the story of how these little piggies went to market.

Submitted by Sarah Lynch

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