Thursday, 15 December 2016

General strike- Next installment

Dec 6
As the morning progressed, I headed down to †he market. A few taxis heading up the hill, lots of motorbikes and a steady stream of pedestrians going both ways.
The fellow with a table near the taxi stand had a chunk of meat on his table, the smell indicated it wasn’t fresh in spite of the hour. Must have been left over from yesterday. Crossing the bridge I averted my eyes from the creek, it’s choked with debris, plastic waste, discarded clothing and all the leftovers from the market. There is nothing quite like the smell of… you get the picture.
In the open part of the market where the trucks drop off oranges, melons and papayas folks were busy distributing the wholesale into retail, wheelbarrows and handcarts piled with produce. I was jostled by the crowds of women (mostly) out getting their daily supplies. From my usual vendors I got lemons, tomatoes and papayas. They seemed unworried, the tomato lady was busy negotiating for 6 baskets of tomatoes, the lemon lady always looks worried and the melon sellers never stop trying to get me to buy.
My usual trudge back uphill was marked  first by an inability to cross over due to a preponderance of motorbikes and then the sight of Elke on the balcony waving to me. She had preceded me out the door taking a bike to Oscar shop where things not available in the market (occasionally) can be obtained. Actually just about everything is available in the market, one just needs to know where to look and I wasn’t relishing the thought of traipsing through the rabbit warren. Normally an enjoyable experience on a dry day, the women constantly call out to me. Those who we are familiar with ask after “Madame” or “Ma”. It’s often cooler in there  as well and folks are friendly whereas walking the street edge can be percarious as traffic honks it's way through the crowds of vendors and shoppers competing for space.
Back home we are set for the next few days, we won’t go hungry. Our friend and associate  Beatrice stopped in to collect the drying ginger from the back room. She’s interested in some of our furniture. We’re both willing to write it off in our need to leave but it’s wonderful to get something for it . Others have expressed interest, looks like it’ll all be out of here, which is also a concern; I don't want to walk away from a partially furnished apartment , leaving it for others to deal with. It will all be absorbed into our community. Items of clothing given to friends, household articles taken to the Eco-village or the guest house.
The waiting around is the worst, not knowing when or if, much less concerned about being involved in some ridiculous political disagreement or altercation. The occasional percussive report, scenes of people running plus stories of injury and worse are not something I want to get used to.
My privilege is showing. I’m quite aware I have the option to both come here and then leave should things become too difficult or uncomfortable. My upbringing and background presupposes an expectation of basic human rights, guaranteed access to appropriate healthcare, nutrition, water and waste management. I have taken these things for granted. Along with trusting the police to protect me and having faith in the benevolence of government. I suppose I could say this is another awakening from complacency.

No comments:

Post a Comment