Over the past several weeks I’ve been fortunate to travel around a bit.  It’s been great.  With the Tour here we went all around central Kenya. 

There is a big push around the world for people to buy fair trade or buy locally or buy organic.  Let me tell you that you can do all of those things right where you are most often.  While many places are not labeled fair trade when you buy something that someone made with their own hands or produce that they grew in their own yard you are supporting the ‘little people’ if you will.

That’s what we do often.  Each of the last two weekends I have spent time in various markets buying things.  (Some of you will benefit from that shopping, aren’t you excited!)  Everything I purchased was non-edible but made or found (beads) locally. 

The Maasai is a tribe mostly in southern Kenya and northern Tanzania.  They typically wear red, usually in the form of a Maasai shuku, or blanket.  They also wear a lot of beadwork.  I have mentioned them before as there seem to be many that still wear traditional clothing as opposed to other tribes that wear more traditional clothing for festivals only.  The Maasai also have a huge market that moves from place to place depending on the day of the week.  Every Tuesday it’s one place, every Saturday another and so on. 

In May I announced that I was leaving MN to move to Africa and spent a lot of time with people before I left.  I had supper one day with a friend of mine from grad school.  Shami is Kenyan from Mombasa on the coast.  I asked her if she could only name three things that I should see before I left Kenya, what would they be and I have made it one so far – the Maasai market.  It’s great.  We went this past Saturday (downtown) and felt very comfortable, not harassed as is sometimes the case at any kind of market, and got good, fair prices. 

There is much shopping done at markets and it is expected that you will haggle.  Usually you start at half of what is offered by the vendor, sometimes one-third.  It’s sometimes fun and sometimes worth it to me to just go to the mall. 

I also went to the local market with my host mother, Ruth, this past weekend.  I had some fabric from Mali that I wanted to have made into an African outfit.  It was fun.  The tailor is a friend of Ruth’s and gave a great price!  I hope that I like her work since I have two more sets of fabric from Mali and want some cushions made (I think).  Flora is her name is she is located just across the yard from John, another friend of the family.  John is a carpenter who is making my new bed for me.  He’s also delivering it and carrying it up to the fourth floor.  Yea!

Well, there are photos on the right about market shopping.  None of them are the Maasai market, but you’ll get the idea.  It really is like shopping at a giant outdoor flea market.  Sometimes there are stalls or shops and sometimes it all on tarps on the ground (which is easiest for the Maasai mkt since they are located someplace different each day). 

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