Monday, March 21, 2011

(Day 6) Shopping and visiting...

Today we finally got to go the Grande Marché, the large open market area of Lome. This was a favorite spot this past summer and I wanted to take Mom and Dad down the Rue de Artisan (Artisan Street) to see all the wood carving shops. Leo came with us and helped with translation and bargaining, but since he'd never really shopped for such items before he asked me, "What do you think? This a good price?" :)

Mom stopped to look at some fabric and a guy came up to us to show his hand painted cards. I'd actually been hoping to find him again because I loved his work and the cards make wonderful gifts or unique notes in the mail. He said, "Come sister, just take a look. I give you VERY good price, no?" but started out at 1000F each (about $2). I told him I had been to Togo before and I bought the same ones for 500F last time. He then tried 800F, I replied with 500F. He tried 600F, I held firm. And I got my cards for 500F each. :) I love bargaining! Even if it's a mix of his broken English and my almost non-existent French! 500F is a fair price, he's happy he sold some and I'm happy to support someone who does good work.

As I stood there bargaining, Leo was bargaining for Mom's fabric and from what I could understand of their conversation he was explaining that the lady could not charge us like a tourist; that I'd been to Togo before with Mercy Ships and he needed to give us a good price. :) Leo says that after the ship left in August (just a few days after I flew home) Mercy Ships was on TV for about a month--it's nice to be remembered for our service instead of bringing a bunch of tourists! Another young man came up and said, "I remember! You came to my shop with your two friends from Tezas. How are you doing?" Honestly, I barely remember the many young men who helped us bargain, translated for us, and carried our many purchases! A few of us would arrive to the market in a Mercy Ships Land Rover with one Togolese day volunteer to translate for us, but several people would come up and convince us to visit "their shop." I think they probably just represented many stall owners and got a little commission for helping the tourists buy things. :) Anyway, I remembered this guy a little bit and introduced him to my parents. It was a little weird that he remembered me from 8 months ago!

Then we went to the Artisan Village just a bit farther down on Rue de Novelle Marche (New Market Street). I'd bought a pair of custom-made sandals, some gifts for my family, and my silver Africa necklace charm here. We had great fun looking at all the little stalls and enjoying the relative peacefulness of this enclosed market. But sorry, fixed prices! Then a quick rest over "Fanta" (orange soda--my favorite brand during my years in Singapore) and "Coca" (the legit full-sugar coke).

Next stop was the Universitié de Lome to visit with students at their campus fellowship weekly meeting. Emmanuel was there, and the entire group was led by an English professor who was one of the translators at the conference. Our coming was only planned yesterday, but they still gave us a few moments to introduce ourselves and have dad speak for a bit. He always loves a chance to talk with students and impact the next generation; this time it was all about dreaming big and the difference between "Destination Dreams," "Material Dreams," and "Inspirational Dreams."

So, from the Campus Fellowship at Lomé University, Greetings in the name of Jesus!

all of us with Emmanuel and his English professor

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