One of my buddies works in a photo studio in Tala’s market. I hang out there after work sometimes and all sorts of people come by for various reasons, mostly to get pictures taken. Crazy people, drunk people, desperate people, etc. A few weeks ago someone asked if they could take a picture with me. It’s not the first time someone’s asked me, so I said yes.
Welcome To My World
Few of you have any clue how I live. Other than the “for just a fifty cents a day, you can sponsor…” commercials which used to air on TV, most people in the United States don’t know anything about what goes on in Africa. There aren’t any of those kids with flies in their eyes, swollen tummies, etc in Tala… I think you have to go to the slums of Nairobi to find those (Kibera, Mathare, Kariobangi). In order to both quench your appetite for information and to educate those of you who are clueless (or have terrible imaginations), here’s a little bit about where I’ve been staying for the past two years…
I live in a town called Tala. It’s not so much a town as a big market where people from surrounding villages come to conduct business. There aren’t many people who actually live in Tala (maybe 5,000?), but there are always people in transit through it, especially on market days. Most of the people in Tala come from one of the surrounding towns or villages (Nguluni, Kangundo, Kathiani, Sengani, Matungulu, Katine, Kinyui, Mitaboni, Kikambuani, etc!). We have two “market” days (Tuesday and Friday) and the place is packed on those days. You can find anything in Tala on a market day: cows, cabbage, honey, brooms, bows/arrows, rope, spare tires, speakers, drugs, prostitutes… anything.
The King of Tala’s Market
This goat is the king of Tala’s market (or at least he walks around like he owns the place). I’m not sure how old it is, but I’ve been seeing him for nearly two years now. That means it has lasted through at least two Christmas and two Easter feasts. A colleague of mine swears the goat has an owner, and I guess he’s probably right, but what gives? If it has an owner, it’s oblivious of the fact; this goat is does what it wants when it wants to! I took these pictures yesterday as I was walking home with my buddy Sammy (the jamaa (“dude”) in the shorts). I even saw it again tonight. I tried to take a picture of it last week but my phone’s battery had died. Good thing too, because my buddy was calling me a tourist, haha!
One afternoon I took a back route home from the market and I saw a girl relaxing on a blanket and smoking some weed; there was nobody else around, but the goat was proudly standing just a few feet away from her. I just cracked up. Another time I walked past a church crusade (singing, dancing, evangelizing) on a Sunday in Tala’s market, and it was standing right behind the crowd of people, as if to remind onlookers of that age-old duality of good versus evil. Yet another time I was leaving the market a bit late and I saw it just chillin’ in the public transit terminus (a bit creepy because it was dark, the wind was blowing, and the market was nearly deserted). Besides, look at the horns on this thing!
We’re used to it by now, but it never ceases to crack me up. Crazy Tala!