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The Market at Lilongwe

To the Market to Buy the Dinner, Malawi 28 January 1996
Our eighteenth day in Malawi, this follows-on from The Aid Train. We explore Lilongwe market and buy dinner, but chicken-out of lake flies and termites.
Penny and John need a rest today. It is Sunday. Hilary and I take the fire engine and go to the market.
Lilongwe market is in a walled area and is more Brixton-like than other markets we’ve seen, including what seems to be a club with a large video screen inside. The club is called, for some inexplicable reason, Welcome to Vietnam.
Outside the club, vendors are selling kebabs, chips a-plenty, and salads! Real salads! Tomato salad and coleslaw, all freshly-made. The chips too are fresh, fried using real potatoes.
We pick our way through the muddy alleys of the clothes market, people yelling buy and shouting out the prices. Piles of brightly-coloured knickers, piles of trousers, dresses and unidentified clothes dumped everywhere. Past the bucket-makers. Past the tailors.
We buy fruit and vegetables from the little piles arranged by the vendors. We accidentally kick over a pile of potatoes – how embarrassing! The owner of the potatoes is a bit unhappy about this, but all his colleagues find it funny.
We are cooking dinner tonight, a dinner of guacamole, stuffed aubergines, and a dessert of mango in custard on a biscuit base. The biscuits that we had bought in a supermarket were stale – apparently they always are.
We have told Penny that we shall be cooking lake flies and termites. She believes us and picks over her aubergine stuffing very carefully. Termites are certainly for sale in the market, not so sure about lake flies, but it’s possible, so our story was credible.
Penny and John have never eaten lake flies or termites and Penny for one wants to make sure it stays that way. But neither have the eaten crocodile meat. Tomorrow, we said, we shall cook crocodile meat. Penny is a bit apprehensive but we agree it shall be done.
The story continues with Leftovers to the Dogs.


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