'Tana'

Here are a few facts and numbers in order to help everyone understand the situation here:

-average mid-range salary: 140 000Ar (about 100 CAD) per month
-average low-end salary: 40 000 (about 27CAD) per month
-price for 1kg of Rice: 4000Ar
-price of gas: 2500Ar/L (about 1.60CAD/L)
-calling card for my new cell phone: 5000Ar for about 12 text messages home

Needless to say that people are poor and can't afford anything.

Anyhow, today after dropping off the first of my 700 papers for my visa i went to the Market place which is right in the center of the city on l'Avenue de l'ind├ępendance. The market is bassically little stands and booths which are strucutred as to provide little alleyways no larger than 3 feet to walk through.

You can find everything and anything here from Q-tips (some of which are used) to digital cameras. The smell is very intense with spices of all sorts and meat stands where you're not sure if they're selling meat or flies! A man tried to sell me a garden hose. He was very insistant and followed me for about 15 mins. Something about me must scream out gardener..... I really should leave my straw hat and rake at home next time!

There are children everywhere, some begging, others playing.... I was told not to give anyone money so i did the next best thing and bought candy to give out (yes i know i'm very white....if there was a desk with a chair i would have put my foot up and leaned on it like Peter in Family Guy.....sorry that was very random).

Anyhow, the sales lady told me it was 3000Ar for the candy. Clearly this was a tourist price but what was i going to do argue over 2extra dollars? So i promoted the stereotype of the rich white tourist who can afford to pay one tenth of these people's monthly salary for a handfull of candy! I gave out candy and even took a picture of me giving a little girl candy (again yes it's very white tourist of me but what can i I am a white tourist.... although after 37.5secs of sun today i'm more pink than white!)

I won't lie I know that giving out a few candies will not help anyone or change anything but it did make me feel good.

I will be in the city for a few more days, probably till next Tuesday so i will have more frequent internet access for those who care to write to me. Also i have a cell phone which you can text me at or even call: +032 6263148 or +32 with no 0 i'm not sure remember the 8 hour difference.

I can't post pictures here but i'll try later this week.

Thank you to everyone for following my blog and posting comments, I love you guys!

(Ange do you know if Many is reading it?)

Comments

  1. Used Q-tips, eh? So that's where the guy who lived in my appartment used to shop.

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  2. Hey Andreea, I love your hair!! The pics are great but I agree with Seb, we need some of you in there. The kids are asking for you and I am trying to explain why you left and what you are doing but they don't get it. So if you post some pics of you it will be easier for them to understand. A picture is worth a thousand words so they say. I'm happy things are going well and that it is safe. I look forward to your stories. Sending you all our love.

    Natalie and the gang

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  3. Hi babe,
    Yes! She's reading it! And she's confirmed it to me via phone 2 seconds ago! lol =)
    I love reading your posts and knowing that you're safe and happy.
    MAaaaaahhhhhh fuzzy glove dove
    muah~ will email you asap since you have more access to the net these days and I'll try calling you this week before I leave Sunday morning =)
    PS: stay away from the used qtips. Tout fait with our ocd.

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