As the boy and I familiarize ourselves with the city we walk the dusty streets peering into small, tin roofed shops lining the way; electronics, hardware, car parts, pharmacies, food stuffs, all displaying their assortment of goods on shelves or hanging from the ceiling by rope.
Many of the “grocery stores” we frequent boast at least one big deep freezer. Yet electricity is not consistent enough to keep food or drinks frozen and generators are expensive to run constantly. Therefore most freezers function as refrigerators or storage chests.
In the heart of the vegetable market tomatoes, onions, eggplant, cucumbers, okra, various greens and other fresh produce sit on display in piles atop wooden counters in open stalls. Fifty kilo sacks of beans, grains, macaroni, fresh spices in their natural form, and hibiscus petals for tea line the market rows, each sack open to display the contents to prospective buyers. Each item is weighed on an old-fashioned scale to determine the price. Most of the time shopkeepers will add a little extra scoop or additional produce as a gift.
Browsing the shelves of the “kawaja” (foreigner) friendly shops produces some interesting finds. These are the places to find chocolates (like Snickers!), olive oil, soy sauce, tuna fish, and Nutella.
- 1 egg = 2.5 SSP = $0.60
- 1 kilo flour = 10 SSP = $2.50
- 1 Snickers bar = 5 SSP = $1.25
- 1 Apple = 4 SSP = $1.00
- 1 Cucumber = 3 SSP = $0.75
- 1 Can Tuna fish = 10 SSP = $2.50
- 1 Coke = 6 SSP = $1.50
If we’re lucky we might stumble upon a pineapple or guavas. One teammate even found fresh grapes. However, much of the produce has a long, hot, bumpy drive to our markets, coming all the way from Uganda or Kenya making it less than fresh by the time it reaches us.
Typical of all countries but two, South Sudan has a healthy supply of Coke!