Thursday, January 9, 2014

More observations in the market, with the locals and my friend, Gaddafi

Some more information about what I discovered and felt in the market after some more reflection.... 
Teeny Tiny fabric stall at Makola Market that was hot and cramped and full of amazing prints.. Hi to our fearless leader Anita Perr  making an excellent purchase

*****This was the stall that gave me a price of 45 cedes which is a fair price for fabric (appx. 20$), while the other stalls were giving me the price of 75 cedes, 90 cedes and 65 cedis... It was because Abigal, our Ghanian NYU guide negotiated the price. The general overcharging of White people (Obronis) or foreigners was frustrating and caused heated verbal interactions on many occasions.... (YOU MUST BARGAIN FOR EVERYTHING IN GHANA BESIDES IN BRICK AND MORTER ESTABLISHED RESTAURANTS AND SHOPS)*****

Two men I became friendly with that taught drumming and made paintings said that there is one person in a wheelchair at the market and when I asked how he functioned in the market and got around they told me that they help him, sometimes lift him but they also said that he has ways of getting over doorways and raised areas in the market by turning his wheelchair, which I thought was cool. In order to work in the market you have to hustle, which is something I touched on in my previous blog and also it seems that all of the shop keepers have a crew that they roll with and sell with---- so I think if people have a network of individuals helping them then it is easier to survive, but ultimately if you are not carrying your weight and contributing to earning $$--- then I think you would not be worth helping.

Friendly Ghanians Henry and Peter teaching me drumming..of course selling me 5 after 

The idea of charity and service is different here because it is so hard to make ends meat that I would think helping out a brother would not take precedence. 

One man, Gaddafi who I met was very willing and glad to speak with me and a couple girls I was exploring with. We spoke with him for a while, and he told us his story. He lost his leg due to polio but decided to be an example rather than resort to begging on the street, even though that would be easier. He said that he believed that he was there to inspire the youth and serve as a example of someone who is strong… and he is very strong. He works hard in the market and he actually did not try to use his disability to guilt us into buying good from him, which I was actually surprised about because I developed a bad taste in my mouth from EVERYONE trying to get me to buy things I did not want or need. Gaddafi had an inspiring story and a strong presence… I really took to him and found myself invested in his journey. He wanted a prosthetic leg very badly and he is working to get one but finds the logistics of working with doctors challenging. He gave me his email and his password in order to research an email correspondence with an American association offering to bring him to the United States and give him the prosthetic he so badly desires. I was happy to offer any assistance I could and am starting to sift through his emails and piece together his story.
Gaddafi with the ladies 

UPDATE…..: It seems to me that Gaddafi actually did not lose his leg from Polio--- he had polio as a child and this caused the deformity in his legs but it was a surgery gone wrong that caused him to have an amputation and this was only a couple years ago. It seems that there are only 3 doctors in Ghana who are able to do the type of surgery that Gaddafi got and the surgery went badly, he got an infection and did not get the proper medical care and ultimately had to have his leg amputated above the knee….

Gaddafi after surgery with the infection that caused him to lose his leg (lack of proper medical attention) 
He is a fighter though and I hope he will continue to inspire the youth and the country as to how capable those with disabilities are and he will remain an example of hard work and perserverence because he is very, very capable smart and an all around cool dude!! 

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