Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Grocery Shopping

This blog post is for my mom, who always wants to see more pictures.  :)

There is no way to describe the outdoor Arua food market.  You really just have to see it, and even the pictures don't capture the massive size of the market and the chaos of trying to walk through and purchase something.

This is the 'mundu' (white person) table.  It's always my first stop because they sell cucumbers, carrots, zucchini, lettuce, spinach, green peppers, radishes (occasionally), and other foods that Ugandans don't eat.  I even found Swiss chard once!

This is the beans and rice section.  I don't buy anything here.  My wonderful family has sent numerous packets of brown rice and I only eat beans at school (I don't cook them at home).

This is tomato row.  There is also a cabbage row, sweet potato row, onion row, etc.  I walk through and look for the best bunches of tomatoes (that aren't bruised or moldy).  I like to go to different vendors every time - spread the wealth a little.

I tried to capture the crowd of vendors and buyers, but it's still hard to see.  And mind you, that this only one part of one level of the market.  The Arua market has three levels that are enormous.

There's even a section for housewares.  All of the housewares vendors are grouped together and they all sell the same things. 

Here is a fruit vendor with passion fruit, papayas, pineapples, lemons, oranges, and tomatoes.  Avocados and mangoes are seasonal.

The outdoor market is only for fresh produce (and meat).  *I did not take any pictures of the butchers.  I didn't want pictures of dead animals on my blog.  Just imagine a cow/pig carcass hanging from a hook attached to the roof of the butcher stall, completely skinned and organs removed.  Just meat and bones hanging, while the flies swarm around it.  I won't even begin to describe the smell as I walk past.

For things like soda, coffee, cookies, ketchup, milk, chocolate, etc. I go to the supermarket. And you can only buy apples at supermarkets, not the outdoor market.  Maybe because apples are imported and not grown locally.  So think of a gas station convenient store - Ugandan supermarkets are just slightly bigger.  Arua has 4 good supermarkets:  the West Nile Supermarket is the cheapest; the Arua Supermarket has the best apples; the Chinese Supermarket is the most expensive; and the Ugandan Supermarket has Laughing Cow cheese (most of the time).

Do you have a better picture of my grocery shopping errands now?  I ride to town twice a week to do this.


  1. Hi Laura, Thanks for including all the wonderful pictures in your shopping blog! I had no idea the Arua market was so big! I googled it once and could see a large metal roof labeled as "open air market," but your pictures are so much more informative. I was amused by the "white person table" and the housewares booth reminded me of the flea market we used to go to at the old Wheeling Drive-In (do you remember?) The convenience-type store had more selection than I expected. I never send packaged food that requires milk to be added because I didn't know if you could get it. Maybe your next human interest blog entry could be about the clothing markets -- you know, the Old Navy of Uganda. Thanks again for all the pictures -- it Is interesting to see more of your life in Uganda.
    Love, Mom

  2. Hi Laura! I love seeing these pictures too and hearing about your grocery adventures. I can now picture you walking in the market shopping for your food! Very interesting. I wasn't expecting the store to look they way it did...I was picturing something else. Anyway....thanks for the pics and blog! Keep em coming! I'm at home sick in bed. :( Not sure what I have...just not feeling well. Hope I don't have the flu. I hate not being able to hold my little man! It's torturous. Thought I would share a little bit about what's going on with me at the moment as I read your blog. Take care.

  3. Laughing cow cheese!YUM! I loved seeing these pics too...helps so much to envision you on your shopping missions! Looks like plenty of everything! Everything is pretty squished together in housewares!Hard to pick I bet! wonderful laura...the supermarkets look really nice:) I am happy for you girl! Kathy, glad to see u posting! Dreamt about you last night...you were trying to tell me something! Must have been, get on Laura"s blog!!!!hahaha You don't post quite as often and I forget to check sometimes:(My bad.Laura...marvelous pics...love u and thanks for sharing!Stay healthy and safe,,,hugs Love, Aunt Linda

  4. Hey Laura...your grocery store looks kind of like the old Newman grocery store! Maybe a little spiffier! lol Cute Laura!