Sunday, 1 February 2009
17.11.08 Market Place at Umuebi, Eziama
The god associated with this market is Ala on the market day of Nkwo corresponding with the same day of the Igbo week. The god, who precides over the market on this day, would punish you if you do not abide by the rules of the market place, which are that no one should fight in the market, steal, make no arrests or take photographs without their knowledge. The god in charge of the market can vary from day to day – there being 4 market days and 8 days to the Igbo week.
Native doctors and diviners tell their clients to go and get various ‘medicines’ consisting of roots, powders, soils, chalks, fish, and other sundries items from the market. The boy selling these items, Mr Kelechi Ekeh learnt it as a trade, but does not know the full use of them. He acts like a chemist or shop, as the native doctors just tell him to get in certain items.
Some of these are as follows:
1 Fish ‘MKPAKA’ – used for pain relief, especially for the legs, and also for pregnant women in labour, to hasten delivery. (look like a circle of dried catfish around a stick)
2 Gun powder – used for shooting gun at funerals to communicate this fact to the community (metallic grains)
3 BTS –for stomach ache. Used by dropping it into water or spirit and drinking it.
4 Hair dye – turns hair black – grind it in water and turns black (looks like white crystals)
5 Dry leaves ‘ACHARA’ – drink it and mix it with roots and spirit to cure stomach ache (bunch of long, maroon tinted stems)
6 Roots (OJOBO spice) ‘UHIOKIRIHIO’ – herbal to keep the water fresh (flavours the water) – heaped up pieces of bark and roots stick like fibres. ‘Ofor’ stick used mostly for the stomach.
7 ‘NZU’ (White chalk) calabash chalk used in Mbari and for use in scoring the funds/money given to the church eg. checking how many contributions they make per year. Also used by diviners to score 4 lines on the ground before divination, and put at the corners of his eyes for clairvoyant properties ‘the shining’ – see photos of diviner.
8 Red mud – for staining – mixed with other things to create medicines for the legs and can mix with fish.
9 ‘ORI’ shea butter – used as balm for dislocation (lubricant or fat)
10 Beans ‘EKWURU’ used for rheumatism and mixed with spirit and rub on (carbonic) – black similar shape to broad beans)
11 Eye liner – kohl, which cleanses the eyes of babies. (Silver containers).
12 AGGRY GERMAN – mix with water and drink – used for stomach (in glass bottles)
13 Garlic – used for the heart and liver
14 Ginger – pepper soap but also for throat infection (root)
15 ‘AKAOGWU’ used for Malaria and mixed with a spirit to drink (bundle of beige stems tied together)
16 UDA – used for a nursing mother and detoxing the womb – aroma good and used in cooking too. (small string of black beans)
17 Palm Wine used for encouraging milk in the breasts when breast feeding – ‘it is the yeast in it’.
18 Lump of what looks like a ball of dry grey clay but is roots pounded together – used for cough medicine.
19 ‘URIANYA’ - Used for eye infections and ground.
20 ALUM – used to wash snails to get rid of the slime (white cubes in clingfilm – look like moth balls stuff)
21 ‘ODO’ - used by the diviner (see previous notes) Orange crumbly stuff – used to heal ear piercing so that it will not bleed. Attracts favours where you rub it.
'George' cloth is for sale in the market too, and it is a cloth that the Igbo use on special occasions, and used at death signals that all burial rites have been done. This is a coloured, checked cloth made of cotton.