Today I went downtown Karisa to pick up Eidd stuff for my children. After strolling for a while through the congested streets, finally, I ended up at Soko Mjinga aka Suuq Mugdi. Walking with a business lady I was to seal a business transaction, we evaded men pushing heavily loaded wheelbarrows, mkokotenis, ladies in Wahhabi attires, men in Kanzu, and rambunctious kids on their mid-term break.
The market is a haven for Garoobs selling various types of clothing, noisy hawkers from down Kenya, pickpockets, men in Qaadiro stages, reggae ragamuffins, ilbax-shaarres, braggadocios, youngsters devastated by the agonizing buufis, business magnates, decayed slatterns, mentally retarded youth, toothless baagamuundos, learned men and women and people of scary features.
Suuq Mugdi is the Wall Street of this historic town that is populated mainly by people of Somali decent. The general infrastructure resembles a makeshift camp (iska deg), the streets are horrifically narrow and nauseating especially the rainy season, while the entire scene is evocative of an IDP camp.
Regardless of its shape and appearance, it is a daily meeting place for the beautiful and the beastly human and of course, unbeknown to many, beneath the infrastructure, a resting place for saintly men who departed for the Afterlife before the markets' initial foundation. It is a Cafe Internazionale where when ten people meet for a conversation, nine talk and only one listens. It is a paradise for those who love to chatter like Orang Utans (upright man).
Almost all the products sold here have been imported. The only eye-catching Somali-made products are uunsi, alindi or al-Hindi ladies wear and idin or idan for burning frankincense. Everything else is foreign with Chinese products taking the lead. But wait, Kenya made products are plentiful here. In case you want to sharpen your Somali sword or spear such that the end product meticulously appears sharper than the Wilkinson Sword and Nacet blade combined, purchase a Jua Kali made utensil, get hold of any kind of seeds or grab a kilo of buunsho for your starving donkey, Soko Mjinga has it all.
This place is where supply and demand meet. Adept at selling and bargaining, you will never be discouraged when buying from a Waryaa. The place, regardless of its austere simplicity, design and shape, is a monumental economic giant second only to Nairobi's Somali dominated Eastleigh.
Should you leave this place discouraged for failure to wrest control of what you desire most, let it even be a woman of your choice, I can bet you have not gone into the unexplored depths of this majestic but monstrous market that harbors products beyond human imagination.