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Sunday in Bulawayo,
Let's Head To The Market!

Here in Bulawayo, EVERYTHING-I mean everything- is closed on Sundays, except the good ol' street market. Abeja just got to Bulawayo late last night and wanted to see what this town is like. So we went walking through the empty Sunday streets of Bulawayo. I could tell she wasn't too impressed-UNTIL we got to the market!

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Friendly vendors make the market a very pleasant place
The Bulawayo market is not the largest market place, especially after seeing all the sprawling, lively, enormous markets in Latin America. However, the calm, tree-shaded streets and the kind, friendly vendors make the market a very pleasant place. The first section you come across is the crafts. All over Zimbabwe incredibly skilled artists set their beautiful work out on the sidewalks hoping to sell enough to afford dinner that night. It is so unbelievable to see such intricate, delicate sculptures and carvings for sale for so cheap. You could buy a beautiful marble sculpture of a mother and child for less than 3 US dollars! Many of the artisans will give you their crafts in exchange for some fair trade, since the Zimbabwe dollar is currently so low (one Zim dollar is worth less than 3 US cents!). Old clothes from the U.S., music from abroad, watches, sunglasses- just about anything you've got that you no longer need-can be traded for something new and beautiful.

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After the craft section is Bulawayo's alternative to flower shops
After the craft section is Bulawayo's alternative to flower shops
After passing through the craft section, the second half of the block is Bulawayo's alternative to flower shops. All day long florists sit in the shade making beautiful arrangements and baskets of colorful flowers. My mom owned a flower shop when I was in high school in D.C., and I remember how much time flower arrangements took. We only made them after they were ordered and paid for. But here in Bulawayo, people are so desperate to earn money that they make arrangement after arrangement and line them on the street, hoping that someone will see one and decide to buy it. I can't imagine how many of these beautiful arrangements probably die in the sun without ever getting sold.

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Our new friend Madzidzwa Gomba
Our new friend Madzidzwa Gomba

When you turn the corner from the flowers, you enter our favorite part of any market-the food! Here again, the markets in Zimbabwe aren't as inviting as the markets in Latin America, which were always full of exotic, new fruits and savory smelling local delicacies. In Zimbabwe, the markets stick to your usual fruits and vegetables, and unprepared dried goods that you in turn have to take home to make into a local delicacy your self. The problem is, neither Abeja nor I knows how to make any of the local delicacies, we didn't even know what most of the dried stuff was- let alone what to do with it! Luckily for us, the nice vendors at the market, amused at our curiosity and ignorance, explained to us what everything was.

Our new friend Madzidzwa Gomba has a beautiful stand, chock full of different dried beans, grains and leaves that look unlike anything Abeja and I have ever seen. Abeja and I are excited to buy most of the new things we come across and take them home to experiment until we get a sack of dried, black fuzzy things that we aren't sure about. We pick up a few, examine them closer and still have no idea what they are. No they aren't pieces of grain or beans- maybe dried leaves or herbs? Nope, Madzidzwa laughs as she explains that we are actually holding worms! Dried worms from the Mupani tree! We drop them immediately and decide to pass on buying that local delicacy. She insists that they are very good when cooked and an incredible high source of protein, but we still decline. Being a vegetarian can be a great excuse sometimes!


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