Shopping Trips happen on Fridays usually, but I thought you might like a peek at our nearest city.
It's really more a town than city, but it's closer to a city than a village so it'll do.
Our day starts early. The three hour drive is long. On the bright side: We get to see the sun rise.
And so, we start off down the road. Chickens and goats are included in the fun.
So are potholes. In many places the road nearly vanishes. It's like driving in a war zone.
We usually arrive in Mansa around 9:30 a.m and after a quick trip to the public restrooms (which we have to pay for), we begin running errands.
First up is the bank and you know from past posts how much fun that is. In case you have forgotten, go here or here to refresh your memory.
Then we pay bills. Each bill has to be paid in person and there is nearly always a line and then you have to wait for the receipt--many times it is handwritten. Last week it took me thirty minutes to pay the electric bill.
After bills we visit the small shops: hardware, the milling company (for maize bran which we feed to the animals), the animal feed store, the auto parts store, drop off papers to be photocopied, etc.
This is our grocery store. The only grocery store. When they went on strike last week it was a little scary. We have to schedule our shopping days to coincide with when they stock the shelves. They stock on Thursdays so we have to shop on Friday because by Monday the shelves are beginning to empty again.
This is the whole parking lot and a view of the other shops in the complex. The shop on the end is where we buy little scratch cards to add credit to our phones.
Meet Morgan. Morgan is my grocery helper. He pushes the cart around and takes the vegetables to be weighed and labeled with a price tag. He also loads everything back into the car. Many times he knows where we can find things that we're looking for in another local market.
We first started working with Morgan a few years ago. Tom hired him to help during one of my U.S trips. At first I was horrified. It felt very colonial. We couldn't even push our own cart?!? But then because I didn't want to fire the poor boy, I kept him on and gradually became accustomed to his help. The shopping carts are poor quality and don't push well. Now that we have grown so much, we actually fill 1 large cart and two small ones. It's nice to have someone to drop off a cart and go for a fresh one.
Grocery shopping all done. We use reusable bags which keeps our groceries from rolling all over the back of the car. It is good for the environment too.
Here is the car all loaded up. Aside from the groceries that were in the picture above, there is also 3 bags of animal feed, a crate of soda, and dog food, Now, picture 3 teenagers crammed in there.
Amazingly, this all only lasts us a week and we have to do this same trip all over again.
Go visit Unknown Mami and see cities and events from all over the world.
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