To Market, to Market…

One thing we’re getting used to is going to market every few days instead of doing big, infrequent shopping trips (we’ve been pretty used to shopping in bulk!). Marc has been running errands to get things set up at the house, taking care of miscellaneous business in town, and meeting with folks here and there, so whenever he goes out, I give him a small list. We’ve quickly realized that it is highly impractical for me to go to market with all eight of the children, given the long distance on little legs. As well, market is pretty busy and I think it would be a challenge to keep track of everyone and do the business at hand. So, if Marc is not available to get what is needed, “Auntie Jane” has stepped up to help out. She is  one of our neighbors and she has been more than helpful in showing us around, helping to fetch water, and…going to market for me.

Here’s today’s list:

caroti–carrots (1/2 kg)


pilipili–peppers (6)

siagi–butter (1/2 kg)

mayai–eggs (18)


nanasi–pineapple (2)

chungwa–oranges (6)

nyama na ng’ombe–beef (1 kg)

maziwa–milk (1 l)


I’m not sure about the availability of vinegar and molasses (molasses wasn’t listed in the Swahili/English dictionary–not a good sign); I will ask Jane when I see her. With everything that I have on-hand, I’m hoping this will be enough for at least 5 days (more if we’re lucky).

Measuring everything in metric units is something new for me, as is dollar-to-shilling conversions. It seems EXTRAVAGANT to spend upwards of $1,000 shillings with each trip to the market–but that’s only about $12. With transportation costs and a small amount to compensate Jane, we spend less than $20. I’m hoping that two market trips per week will be sufficient for our needs, and I’m sure we’ll do an occasional “town trip” for bulk items like flour, cornmeal, rice, and so on–so I’m hopeful that $200 or less will make up our monthly grocery budget here. At this point (having been here just over two weeks), it’s hard to tell if that is realistic–but I’m hopeful.

We should be planting soon, which will bring in our own fresh produce and reduce our costs even further!




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