Chapter 4

64 7 3

"Good morning ma" I greeted the elderly woman selling vegetables at a small corner of the market.

"Good morning my pikin" she replied quite enthusiastically, pointing to the artistically arranged bundles of vegetables, "which one you want?"

"How much you dey sell am?" I asked, revelling in my pidgin English,

"na hundred naira my pikin" "but as you be my first customer I go put jara for you".

" aah aah mama thank you ma" I replied appreciatively, "but as your first customer, na me suppose dash you money na". " oya give me two" I requested as I handed her a thousand naira note and motioned for her to keep the change.

She looked at me with eyes filled with gratitude and said, "my pikin, na God go bless you oo", " as I dey comot from house today, God tell me say im go surprise me and as you don surprise me today na so God go take surprise you". She went on with her benevolent prayers for about two minutes and I kept responding with choruses of amens. When she was done I asked her where I could get some periwinkles and left.

I love the market place for two things; it provides an interactive platform for social integration, secondly I get to be expressive in pidgin English, I know it sounds funny but I actually love the vibe the language brings with it. Having schooled in the UK for six years, I lost my "Nigerianess" so on returning to Nigeria I was determined to get it back and oyingbo market was one of such places I could achieve my goal.

It's almost 12pm and Saturdays are always crowded as the market is buzzing with people from all works of life, the noise emanating from all the grinding engines are almost deafening, you literally have to shout to be heard. It is still a mystery to me how these market women never develop hearing problems. My throat is sore from shouting at the top of my voice and my feet are soiled with dirt as I paddle through the crowded market to buy the last item on my list.

Oyingbo market is like every typical Nigerian market, well except for the newly constructed ultra modern lock up stores. Little children hawking "purewater", the somehow almost always diminutive men selling "otapiapia" and the occasional air fresheners, rows of shops selling literally the same things; "garri", rice, beans, palm oil just to mention but a few, market women shouting at you just to get your attention hoping you'll have to buy something from them, but what amazes me most about the market is the rate at which gossip flies around, I'm always amused as to how market women gossip; such a joy to behold. And the best part is that they can literally waste your time just because they're gossiping, I mean I would have been mad about it five years ago but now I just relax, sit back and enjoy.

" madam abeg come give me okporoko" I beckoned to an elderly woman who looked like she should be in her early 70's. "Why would someone so old still be selling at the market?" I thought to myself as she stood up with some difficulty, her frail skeletal system already starting to give way to her hefty body mass.

"How many you want?" She asked,

"two" I replied rummaging through my bag in search of money to pay her with. She handed me my okporoko, I collected them and placed them into a much larger bag I used for everything I had bought at the market while still searching for money to give her. "But this money was just here now!!" I thought, beginning to get agitated to the possibility of being embarrassed at the market place.

"No worry my pikin, I know say you nor get money".

" noooooo mama" I replied not paying attention to her. "this money dey my bag just now".

TwistedWhere stories live. Discover now