To Market, to Market…

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No, not “to buy a fat pig.” For religious reasons, the Fulbe do not eat pork. Yesterday we set off to the market to visit friends and pass out these newly printed 2012 Scripture calendars:

David carried Annika while Amelie enjoyed the view from my back. The girls really like being tied to my back when we go out, because they can pull their arms inside the carrier and put their heads down so people can’t easily touch them. I tucked a stack of calendars under my arm so people would take interest in them and off we went. (I discovered that people take great interest in partially hidden items. If they can see into my shopping bag, just a little, then they ask me what I bought. If they think I am trying to hide something, it becomes intriguing.)

First, we greeted our milk man, then our good friend in the “hardware” aisle, and on we went to find a new friend, Al, who had tried to help David find screws.  Last week, sitting in a small, dark market stall, huddled over a basket of used screws looking for the size David needed, Al noted that David was speaking Pular. “Can you read Pular too?” Al asked.

“Yes,” David replied.

The young man reached over and unlocked the small drawer of his wooden desk. “Can you read this?” He pulled out an old, dirt-smudged copy of Genesis.

“Where did you get that?” David questioned, surprised by the book the man held in his hand.

“Oh, I worked very hard to find this book. I had to search a really long time,” Al replied, “It’s the only one I have.”

As he opened the slightly tattered pages, David noted Al’s name written on the outside cover, the inside cover and the back cover. Clearly, that this was a prized possession that wasn’t meant to leave his shop.

“When you finish this one,” David said, “I will give you the second part of this book.”

When we arrived at Al’s stall yesterday, we gave him a calendar and David handed him a copy of Exodus. Al’s surprise was evident. He wondered why we would not only give him a calendar for free but the second portion of the Old Testament for free, too. Before we left, the guys set a date and time to visit, read, and talk about these books some more.

With Annika leading the way, off we rambled through the open air market with life to give, free for the taking…

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