Hot 'pili-pili' peppers, beef from a dusty wooden table, ten different types of vegetables and fruit, clay pots, but also slippers, cosmetics, clothes... All that can be found at the local market in Kivumu, which takes place every Thursday on the big field at the entrance to the village. Even local hairdressers, shoemakers, and tailors have found their place there. And recently the supply was expanded with another tradesman's idea - renting car batteries for charging cell-phone batteries!
When you approach the crowd that sell and buy there, from afar the market appears to be the biggest chaos you can imagine. But, it has its order. If you mingle with the people who lay out their merchandise on the ground, you will realize that, although there are no selling stands, and the spots are up for grabs, it all makes a lot of sense. The first row is reserved for hairdressers. Their hair-cutting machines are plugged into the car batteries. They're always busy, because a nice haircut is important to everyone.
In the second row you'll find women selling all sorts of vegetables - from beans, tomatoes, onions, to zucchini, and salad. Everything you can think of! The row behind that one abounds with all sorts of fruit, like bananas, mango, papaya, pineapple, passion fruit... A bit further up you can find the local shoemakers. They will fix even the most worn out slippers. Thanks to their craftsmanship, and also thanks to the worn out shoes of the villagers, they always have a lot of work.
Sweet potato and dozens of types of dried beans have rows of their own, because they are the predominant merchandise at the market. After that, you'll 'encounter' a sale exhibition of clay pots, but also second hand clothes for all ages.
Considering that meat is something that is rarely on the menu here, on the top of the clearing you can find the proudest stall. Fresh meat is sold there. On Thursday mornings in Kivumu you can see one of the villagers cutting up a cow. It means that he decided to be the one to occupy the proudest stall that week, and to become the main figure of the market day.
The newest arrival on the market, the car battery for charging cell-phones, has finally given us the answer to the question of how villagers managed to charge their phones having no electricity at their disposal... And this is just one example of the contrasts you come across in Kivumu, Rwanda, and Africa. People are hungry, they live in shabby houses, they don't have work, but they do have - cell-phones.
Translated by: fra Branimir Mlakić
Edited by: Valerie Kae Ken