The Mercato in Addis Ababa is said to be Africa’s largest open market. Need anything? Anything at all? You can find it here. However, going to the mercato is, for anyone, a mission. To move around you will need to contend with loads of people, trucks, cars, pick-pockets, mud, building rubble, hawkers, donkeys and people asking to be your guide. Not to mention the hundreds of little alleyways for you to get lost in.
While Mercato might be synonymous with all of that, for the time I have been spending there it has been simply magical.
I have never met so many friendly and cheerful people in Addis Ababa as I have in my time in Mercato. They didn’t want anything, they didn’t hassle us and they actually asked to have their photos taken.
Going back to Mercato, the people I have met and photographed remembered me – for the positive relationship we built, however brief, over a photograph. This experience has buoyed my enthusiasm to go out and photograph more in Addis, a notoriously camera-shy city.