Ogbe Ijoh market was right on the beach beside the Atlantic Ocean…or whatever the name of that body of water is…in other places, it would be said that the market is on the beach, but not in my Warri.
The market was on a large stretch of sand, so the Warri man…or woman…gave it an appropriate name; it was known as Sand Sand market.
I kid you not.
We had sand sand market in Warri, and it was where you got the best, straight-from-the-ocean seafood. The other place where seafood was in abundance was Pesu market, quite far from my end of town so, we did not go there often, but it was a good place to get some kinds of fish used for preparing some Ijaw or Urhobo delicacy.
Then there was McIver market. Or was it spelt Makaiva? I don’t know, and I doubt if the market women cared about the spelling. I never could tell the difference between Pesu and McIver…still can’t actually.
Ibo market was right in front of the St. Andrew’s Anglican Cathedral which was “our church”. And where I would marry decades later. The area around Ibo market could easily be referred to as the CBD of Warri in those days. The post office was in the same neighbourhood, alongside some other important government establishments that my memory is pushing away. I think P&T offices (Nitel) was in the same area.
Ibo market was where you bought fabrics for school uniforms, trousers, shirts and other “oyinbo” stuff like leather shoes, bags, etc etc. By its name, you knew immediately it had a high population of Ibo traders. It was not a particularly big market, in fact, it was more a combination of street shops, but it was a bustling place. And it served its purpose.
Everything in Warri served a purpose; the markets moreso. To an outsider, Warri was a disorganized and disorderly place, but not true. Warri was one of the most organized cities I ever lived in. You just needed to understand the organogram.
Warri! One of your girls dey remember you!
Elsie Dennis-Oghenekaro is a successful Author, columnist, Traveling Consultant & a Warri person. She’s based in Abuja Nigeria with her lovely family.
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