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faces at maramba

The Maramba market sprawls over several acres of dirt near the town of Livingstone. It's a maze of hundreds of stalls lashed together from tree limbs and sheets of plastic, a metropolis of buying and selling: mounds of leaf tobacco, dried fish from Lake Kariba, buckets of bright red oxides used as dyes, charcoal in huge blocks, and row upon row of second-hand clothes-- resold by locals after donation by aid organizations. Zambia is one of the poorest nations in the world, where the average national income is less that $200, but here local entrepreneurs are making do. We greet people with a local phrase "muli bwanji?" which means how are you, and they light up with smiles and reply "bweeno," fine.
maramba tv repair

Our guide Arthur buys us a fruit from a Baobab tree, which immediately sucks the moisture from our tongues. The fruit is white and dry, with the consistency of freeze dried ice cream and the flavor of sour grass. When we finish, we spit out the black seed and find ourselves thristy. We come up with the perfect business plan, give away baobab pulp and sell beer next door.

maramba market

A large man with a colorful hat is sitting at a table covered with watch parts. He picks up a watch and unscrews something nearly too small for us to see. At the next table three men are soldering circuit boards from a TV which looks at least 25 years old. At another table men are repairing bicycles with an arc welder. (No one wears welders glasses to protect their vision here. Paul uses the eye damage suffered by these welders as example of the effects of invisible ultraviolet light on their eyes, just like what happens if you look at the sun during a partial eclipse.) These people are making new objects out of the raw materials from broken objects, and salvaging everything they can. Nothing is thrown away, because new appliances or materials are almost impossible to obtain.

maramba market


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