Lessons from Shopping- One

People who know me know that I dislike shopping very strongly. Any kind of shopping. Clothes, household goods, groceries. I’d rather clean a toilet than go to the grocery store. (Although I might have to rethink that here.) If I have the four food groups, coffee, cream, sugar, and toilet paper, I’m set. Most people won’t even shop with me anymore, so annoying am I from the second I walk in.

I can’t stand the political side of shopping either. I can’t buy anything made in the Mariana Islands or buy from a store with unfair hiring practices. (They might all have that, but as long as I don’t read about it…) It goes on and on but you get the point. And I can’t stand how there is so very much to buy where I live- do we really need a sweater with skeletons that you can only wear on Halloween?

I’ve been told repeatedly that I will have many transformative experiences here, and I will and have, but let’s start with shopping. Where I am startled or awed, please take it as no disrespect for Dodoma shopping, because there is absolutely none intended. There are no giant shopping outlets, where one can purchase anything needed at one place, and thank God for that! The people who do the work, reap the profits.


That’s my new dress from fabric I picked. It fits perfectly because I was measured! The fabric lady got paid and the tailor got paid and I think the whole thing cost about $20.

Dodoma has what seems to be thousands of small vendors who sell one specific thing or a few related things. (I wrote before about the big market I went to a while ago. If you missed that, you should probably go back and read all the blogs you missed. And like them.) Certain food items, cloth, clothing, shoes, medicine, school supplies, parts for bicycles, soda, meat, produce vendors who sell only the largest papayas I’ve ever seen. If you have a long list, you’ll need to go to several places to find all you want. Which you won’t. I went to a Stationer the other day to buy a binder for work and was hoping to find a couple of sympathy cards as well. She did have some cards so it wasn’t a totally inane request. After an awkward acting out of my request, she said she didn’t have any cards of that description but she knew someone who did, and she took me there. Where I acted out a death and then a need for a card, again. She sold me three because that’s how many I need right now. So happy was I to have them, I didn’t look at them. None has been sent yet because, once again, I made some assumptions and I’m not sure which of my friends will be more or less offended by the sentiments inside. I may just have to go back to the first place and go ahead and get the Valentine’s Day cards she had.

I mentioned Saba Saba the other day, the sort of Dodoma Goodwill. I’m a big fan of Goodwill and get many of my clothes at home from there, so I was pretty excited. I went with two of my ex-pat friends who are familiar with this process. My friend, Maria, even made me a special wallet for this type of shopping experience.


She made it from a regular juice container.

juice container

The idea is, you put a smallish amount of money in the hand-made wallet so no one can see the true amount of money you have in your actual wallet.  Luckily, she and Cody are both quite good at negotiating past what even the shopkeepers will call the white people price.   Maybe here at Saba Saba, I wouldn’t mind so much except for this: I found an Ann Taylor dress, circa ’04, that I really wanted. (I think I  took a very similar dress to the Goodwill in Charlottesville right before I came here.) The gentleman wanted the equivalent of $13 for it! Where I come from, you’d get $3.50 for that dress. So Maria negotiated him down to about $8 usd, but then I had to “borrow” money from her because I didn’t have that much in my fake wallet and I couldn’t very well pull out my real wallet at that point.

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10 Responses to Lessons from Shopping- One

  1. Charlcie Fielding says:

    God bless you. Love to read all these. I pray for you everyday!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lauren Salminen says:

    Love your dress! The fabric is perfect, although I was really hoping to see the one with Obama on it. Don’t you think you need a skirt made of that? I want to see a post of your Ann Taylor dress. How did that get to the Saba Saba in Dodoma, is what I want to know.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Maggie O'C says:

    Judy, you look beautiful and I love that dress. I’m with Lauren, how did an Ann Taylor dress make it over there. I can attest to you not liking shopping although I don’t know about your pickiness with shopping…. Scrapple anyone? xoxoxox

    Liked by 1 person

    • jccrosby2014 says:

      I’m laughing right now, which is good! You may not know this because you and Bings were at the nail place, but right after the scrapple purchase, that’s when C and I had to go for a beverage.


  4. Ducie Minich says:

    I Love your blogs. Crazy funny & great informative information. Keep em coming. Love, Ducie

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Angie Jones says:

    It sounds like you are having a great time!! I’m so glad you found a “goodwill” store! Still missing you!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Nick says:

    Good to see you are maintaining your good humor, seeing all the craziness in life. I am enjoying your blog. I am sure the locals are enjoying getting to know you. You definitely will reinforce the lighter side of being an American in their evaluations. Take care and keep the blogs coming.


  7. mimi crosby says:

    All I want to say is when you were a child and teenager you loved to shop!! What happened?♥♥♥


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