Saturday, December 18, 2010

Market Day

Colorful, plastic tarps cover the mostly dry and very dusty ground. These tarps conveniently mark the spot where one vendor starts and the next one ends. The narrow and surprisingly irregular footpaths that remain often produce an inadvertent scuff to the merchandise as shoppers shimmy past one another. As a result, the path is unavoidably littered with stray fruits and vegetables that recently escaped their assigned positions.

Irishes (potatoes), carrots, avocados, and other similarly stackable vegetables are displayed in small pyramids with their best side up. Tangerines, oranges, and lemons—with their green pock-marked skin—are confined to barrels lest their piles collapse thus scattering the rolling fruits. Watermelon, jackfruit, and pineapple are sliced open to reveal their luscious, ripe coloring.

Dressed in long colorful skirts and equally colorful head wraps, women sit in the center of their mats with their legs stretched out in front of them displaying their bare, heavily worn feet. No pretty polish or cute sandals for these toes. The merchants and their merchandise mixed atop the tarp means, well…that it’s always a good idea to wash the food thoroughly before eating it. Occasional umbrellas shielded the whole jumble from the blazing midday sun.

The fruits and vegetables purchased from this market do not look like the perfect grocery store fruits and vegetables found in American supermarkets. Dirt still covers these once buried treasures. Their skins are heavily blemished, their shapes are irregular, and their colors are questionable. Yet the flavors are rich and deeply satisfying.

God doesn’t judge the same way men do (John 7:24).