We were lucky enough to have some free time during our 2 weeks, and many of us took advantage of some of that free time to look around and shop at the local markets. We went to 2 different markets as well as shopped at the New Horizon school, where items made by students are sold.
We’d heard stories ahead of time about how mobbed the markets can be – lots of people and vendors who follow you around, trying to sell their goods, even after you’ve politely declined. We lucked out at the first market we went to, which was out by Grace Life school and up a mountain that provided us with gorgeous views. We pulled into the parking lot and saw the market was practically deserted, except for the vendors. We hopped out and headed to the nearest seller. It wasn’t nearly as overwhelming as I’d expected, and made for a pleasant first Ghanaian shopping experience. Some of the sellers were working on their crafts, and we met some children who were sanding handcarved giraffes. Everything was beautiful and you could tell the crafters took pride in their work. This market also provided a quiet, low stress environment to practice my haggling skills. In Ghana, when you find something you want to buy, the seller states a price, and then you come back with what you want to pay. The back and forth continues until both buyer and seller agrees on a price. At first I was nervous about the process, but it was actually pretty fun.
A few days later we headed to the Accra market. Talk about overstimulation from the moment you step out of the tro-tro! A crowd met us, all wanting to talk to us and show us their wares. I had to be polite but firm in telling them no, and that we’d reach their shop as we walked around. The vendors at this market were noticeably more aggressive, often following us around from shop to shop, putting items in our hands and trying to get us to return to their goods. The haggling continued at the Accra market, although I was more tired on this day and at times didn’t negotiate as much as I would have otherwise. You definitely need energy to shop at the bustling markets!
One afternoon we also made a stop at the store located at the New Horizon school. Going in, I knew I wanted to buy something to support the school, but I was shocked when I saw what items were offered for sale. There were some beautiful woven baskets, intricate dolls, pretty jewelry, and gorgeous batik fabric. You could tell they were all carefully crafted and high quality items. I fell in love with all of the fabrics, but settled on a pretty red with white pattern that I can’t wait to turn into throw pillow covers. This store, and the fact that the students are taught the skills to make such products, was just one more reason why I loved New Horizon school.