What can you find in your local Duka in Africa?

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What a cool experience to go to the supermarket in East Africa and find a Masai warrior, in full attire queued up beside you, usually buying a bag of sugar or some milk, this happens often, especially in towns where there is a big Masai population!

Most locals however, don’t use the big supermarkets, usually preferring to buy from their local ‘Duka’ or ‘Kibanda’ which is a tiny shop often found everywhere even the most remote villages. There are many of these little shops, constructed either from bricks, corrugated iron, wood or even grass thatch. Inside you will find someone selling everything that you may possibly need.

They sell fresh produce straight from the garden, whatever is in season: bananas, mangoes, oranges, tomatoes, coriander, onions, spinach and cabbage.

A good way to recognise one of these little shops is they often have a large poster advertising mobile phone credit of some type stuck on the outside. Inside is an Aladdin’s Cave of merchandise.

There are miniature packets of everything that you need to buy, usually enough for one serving, these packets are on long strips and then you just tear off the number you need, you may find:  sachets of Tea, Blue Band Margarine, Royco Seasoning, Omo Laundry Soap, Matchboxes, Sweets, Biscuits, mobile phone credit and small packets of mineral rocks for the expectant ladies to chew on. Hung from the ceiling there will be homemade brooms made from grasses, wooden spoons and sisal rope.

In some of the slightly bigger shops you can buy rice, beans, maize, dried fish, sugar and pulses straight from the sacks. Fresh bread is delivered daily and cakes. There may be packets of maize meal, wheat flour and tetra packs of UHT milk and small bottles of drinking water.

If you are lucky there could also be a soda (usually warm) especially Coca-Cola and Fanta Orange, if you want to drink your soda at a later date it will be poured into a plastic bag for you to carry home as the bottle is worth as much as the liquid inside!  Cigarettes are sold either as a packet or individually depending on your budget. Often there will be small bags or tins of charcoal, enough for one day.

Does this bring back memories of local brand names you found whilst on safari?  I think that I have found Blue Band and Omo across the whole continent of Africa.  Visit www.unilever.com to bring back memories of travels across the continent of Africa.

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