Friday, May 18, 2012

Today after meeting and eating with the MUBS students, we headed to Owino Market.  The best way to describe the market is crowded!  We had to be careful of people pick-pocketing us.  Everyone was staring at us and wanted to talk to us to try and get us to buy their products.  I expected the market to be crowded, but not as bad as it was.  It was stressful trying to push through all of the people and very overwhelming!  The exposed food had an indescribable smell!  Overall, the market was very unsanitary (open meat sitting next to random organs, tomatoes, other food, shoes, etc)!  I cannot come up with any American market as an comparison to Owino Market, students, can you?  How did your expectations differ from what the market actually was? 
-Micah Garton

13 comments:

  1. No, i can't compare this market to anything I've been to before... at least in the United States. When I was younger and went to Cambodia, it was just like Owina, but it was worse. There was two times as many people with smells of "fresh" seafood and fish and other meats. I didn't really have high expectations or any at all. It was a new experience with people calling me Chinese and grabbing my arm. I felt bad though when I almost knocked down clothes from this one lady's stand. Woops.

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  2. I cannot think of any market that is was like in America. The smell was so strange and it was more crowded than any market I have ever seen. I thought the sections in the market would be farther away from each other so things like the meat weren't so close to the clothes. It was basically a giant maze and I'm so happy we had the MUBS students there to lead us!

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  3. I have to agree! There is definitely no market in America like the Owino market in Uganda. I expected something much smaller and more spaced out. I went in with the thought that I would purchase things, but after going through, things were definitely way too crowded and crazy for that! It was a very hot day and going through the market seemed to take forever. We were moving fast and dodging both traffic and people! Overall, it was such an interesting experience.

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  4. The market was definitely not like anything I have ever experienced in America. The closest thing I can think of is one of the outdoor markets I walked around in while in Spain. The reason I think they're similar is because of the wide variety of food that was being sold and all of the cuts of meat. However, the Owino market was definitely much more crowded and stressful. I also didn't anticipate to see people literally sleeping in their little cubbies. I thought it would have been a little more organized and not quite so stressful. It definitely opened my eyes to a whole new culture!

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  5. I was expecting the market to be much more open and spread out than it was. I think my expectations of the amount of people crowded in there were approximately accurate, but I never would have imagined the market pathways being such narrow spaces! I would have been completely lost and overwhelmed (and probably knocked in the head by people carrying things) if it wasn't for the MUBS students watching out for me and guiding me through.

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  7. The only thing i could compare it to is in israel they have a market like it crazy and crowded with all different items to buy. However the roads were paved and not littered with trash thus it wasn't as smelly or clostaphopic as the market in uganda. I expected it to be crowded and have all eyes on us. However i didn't expect them to call us muzungu or any name. Also i was surprised by how many children were there. some were selling items others just playing. many of them were school age and i wonder why they weren't in school during the time. Overall it was an eye opening experience

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  8. Markets and marketplaces play an integral role in most societies. How did you own consumer socialization help or hinder your ability to interact in Owino? Since this market is less formal (i.e., less structured), how did this impact the expectations of the merchants about you? Do you think you were being unfairly targeted (because you look different) or perhaps being charged more? How does this experience cause you to reflect on situations at home such as when a minority consumer enters a upscale shop and is treated poorly?

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  9. I couldn't believe my eyes when I got to the market! For the longest time I thought we had already arrived at the market when in fact we had not even arrived. Once we got there I was gripping my purse so tightly because not only did I have all my money but I also had my passport on me. I didn't expect to see so many businesses right next to each other and seeing nearly the same product being sold at each. I thought the street sides would be further apart than they were and also I didnt expect to see food laying out on tarps on the floor. The smell was so overwhelming that I was ready to turn around once we hit the fish and meat station. I would never exchange this experience for anything even though it wasnt the most comfortable environment.

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  10. This experience was definitely a culture shock for being one of the first experiences in the country and also had an effect on how i now feel about some of the food i try here. I agree completely with Mary, i thought it was going to be very similar to markets i have seen In spain and other european countries or mexico, but i was wrong. This market was a lot more narrow, crowded, people carrying things on their heads all around you, and a lot more unsanitary feeling. The meat was similar to how it was in Spain markets but seemed to have more insects here as well as more garbage piles near it. It was unbelievable to me that the lettuce was just sitting on the dirt and about 2 feet behind it was piles of garbage. I didn't feel like i was treated much different though. I thought i would be screamed at and pulled a lot more than i was, the MUBS students i was walking with were pulled at by the vendors almost as much as we were. However with out the MUBS students i would have been completely lost. I am very glad they were with us.

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  11. In West Des Moines, we have a Farmer's Market every Thursday night during the summer, but it does not compare to the experience at the Owino Market. Since it was our first, true Ugandan experience it made me a little bit nervous for the rest of the trip. I don't know that I had any expectations going into the visit nor do I think I could have ever imagined what the market had in store. Thank goodness we had the MUBS students with us to take us through the maze of vendors!

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  12. It is so funny to think back to this day! I can still remember talking to the MUBS students and how scripted and dry it was. That and how overwhelming the market was. None of us could barter. Comparing the Michael Peterson who bought a soccer jersey at Owino to the Michael Peterson who was yelling at shopowners at the Craft Market before we left will show huge strides of improvement. It is the perfect example of how much the cultutre effected us all throughout the trip.

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  13. Sean I completely agree. Its funny to think how uptight we all were and sooo cautious about saying something offensive or out of place that we forgot to be ourselves. Thankfully, Owino market was the perfect place to get us all to loosen up a bit and get to know one another. Nothing like a nice uncomfortable situation to break the ice.

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