The big markets on Thursdays and Saturdays in Laska, the Monday markets in Donki and Bonaara, and the numerous other smaller markets that take place on the other days of the week all over Baskeet are important economic and social events for many Baskeet people. Trading is, however, not restricted to markets – it is carried out almost anywhere, anytime and with any products imaginable. Baskeet people of all ages, including young children, participate in trading. Some products are commonly sold by children: maize and sorghum stalks (sold as firewood on the Laska roundabout every morning), roasted peanuts (packed in little self-made plastic bags of one or two birr and sold in the streets of Laska), grass (sold as bedding for coffee tables, as natural “carpets” on holidays, or as fodder), and leaves.
Children carrying leaves on their heads are a frequent sight in Laska in the morning and in the evening. After the harvest, children living outside of Laska take the leaves of sweet potatoes (dona) to the town to sell them for a few birr to cattle-owning townspeople as fodder. Grass is scarce all over Baskeet and especially scarce in and around Laska; therefore, the townspeople buy leaves to supplement their cattle’s diet.
I met the boy on the picture above when I was on the way to an interview in a neighbourhood to the north of Laska. He was on the way to school (see the exercise books in his hand) and wanted to sell the sweet potato leaves in town before class. On his head he has placed a support ring (kiira) made from an enset leaf and on top of this he has put his large leave bundle.
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