Niamey Grand Market

I think this photo is from the Niamey Grand Market in Niger, Africa.

People at the Niamey Grand Market

We lived in Nigeria (my Dad was a Chemical Engineering professor) and took a trip during winter vacation through Nigeria, Niger, Burkina Faso, Togo and Benin. I am nearly certain the photo is in Niger and very likely Niamey but it is possible it is elsewhere.

My mom and brother are in the photo, which is likely taken by my father (or maybe by me). In this part of the trip we were quite far off the beaten path. The only foreigners we noticed were a National Geographic film crew at the market.

My brother and I enjoyed the trip at times but also got tired of things and the attention we would get. We would often be surrounded and pointed and even poked at sometimes. Nothing that really was a big deal but as kids it sometimes got to be annoying.

We even would stop the car in the middle of the Sahel to eat lunch and were surrounded within 20 minutes when there didn’t seem to be hardly anyone around. I imagine this just happened occasionally but was memorable after we wanted to escape being the the center of attention and couldn’t even get away in seemingly nearly deserted areas.

Of course, now I treasure what an experience it was even more than I did at the time. At another time at this market (I think, or at another market) my Mom was negotiating from some mats made of straw and leather. It was difficult as we didn’t speak any common language but beyond that they didn’t use “arabic numerals” (or that was maybe a negotiating tactic – most places did use arabic numerals this was the only time we ran into that problem).

Eventually it worked out when my Mom just put out the cash directly. This isn’t a great for various reasons (not the least of which people will grab it and hold on – making it hard for you to walk away). So this was a last resort but she did it this time.

Later on that same trip we were out of money and Mom and Dad wanted some statues (outside Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso) and we bartered for blue jeans and other things that I can’t remember. We had the art from that trip around our house the rest of my childhood (and it is still there).

Related: Cheetahs in KenyaGiza Pyramids in EgyptDad and me on a beach in Malaysia

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