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You may want to find a certain type of store—like a drugstore.  Do you know how to ask for what you need?  The format for these exercises are based on these sentences, and the answer you receive will fill in the blank.

Suggestions for types of shops are given, but add to the list as you become more acquainted with how the marketplace works.

What is a _____________ called?

Suggestions: Drugstore, Herbal medicine shop, Cloth shop, Grocery store, Stationery store, Bookshop, Etc.

Some items may not be found where you would find them in your home country!

Where would you go to purchase ______________________________

Suggestions: A flashlight (torch)? Men’s socks? Bath soap? Candles? Perfume? Shaving supplies?Women’s intimate apparel? Etc.

Are any of these shops located together in a, say, cloth market?  If so, do these types of markets have a special name?  Find out the names of specialty markets in your immediate locale, in your main center.  Are any of these chains, with stores throughout the country?  Are any of them internationally known?


Review material you already have gained about products obtained through agriculture, gathering, hunting, fishing, crafts, etc.

How do goods from another area arrive in your village or town–by truck, by plane, by bicycle, etc.? How are goods and produce from your area transported to market? Is this done by the producer or by a middleman?

Which of these are sold or traded to other villagers or neighborhood residents? Which and what amounts are sold or traded outside the area? To those of the same ethnic group or to those of a different group? Are the products sold directly to consumers or sold to middlemen?

Which items come from other villagers and which from outsiders? Do traders bring wares to the neighborhood, or do people make their purchases in town?

Chart out the economic relationships existing between your village or town and:

(1)    traders – who are they and what do they buy or sell?

(2)    other villages and towns in the area – does another town have goods that are not available in yours? How far does one have to travel to the next town or city?

(3)    a major city – is transport readily available? Is the trip a hassle or a fun occasion? Is it for the purpose of selling or buying? Is the trip usually successful?

(4)    international export – are products manufactured or grown in your area sold internationally? Are products from another country readily available where you live? Are such products desired by the local people?

What range of prices would various types of items be sold for? What has been the rate of inflation over the past two years? Have wages kept up with the cost of living?

How are business transactions conducted? Is there a sex differentiation in terms of commerce or services rendered?

Are items sold or bought for cash or credit? Who are the moneylenders? What are the terms of such a loan (time, interest rate, guarantee, etc.)? Are there pawn shops? What is the rate of indebtedness in the village? What happens when debts are not or cannot be repaid?

From whom can one borrow tools or articles? Is an item returned to the owner or must he go for it when he needs it?

Do people hire themselves out for wages? In the village? Outside the village? Is there a steady migration of people from rural areas into town seeking work? From what areas or ethnic groups do they come? What kind of work, if any, can they obtain?

Are outsiders hired by villagers? To which ethnic groups do they belong, what work do they do, and what are they paid?


Do people own their homes or apartments? or are they renters? What is their responsibility to the owner? and the owner’s responsibility to them? How and when is the rent paid? What type of rental contract is drawn up? Does this need to be renewed after a certain period of time?

When a person moves into a house or apartment, what is furnished in the line of appliances or furniture? Where are such items available, and do they remain the property of the buyer when the property is vacated?

How are breach of contracts settled? How much notice needs to be given for an owner to ask a renter to move? or for the renter to tell the owner he is vacating? Is this always followed? What are the obligations of the one vacating and returning the property to the owner, as cleaning, repairing, etc.

How do people use the land around their dwelling? Is there room for a garden? If so, are flowers or vegetables planted? Is some of the space occupied by animals or chickens?

Are there restrictions as to how the space can be used? or how the dwelling can be decorated (paint, flower boxes, etc.) Is there a patio? What activities happen there?

Is there a space for storage of items like bicycles, children’s toys, lawn mowers, etc.? What arrangement is there for hanging laundry out to dry?


Do people own their homes? or are they renters? What is their responsibility to the owner? and the owner’s responsibility to them? How is the rent paid (by a portion of the crop harvested, or by a monetary payment)? Where is the residence located in relation to the fields?

What crops are planted? Draw up a calendar showing the events in the yearly agricultural cycle, noting time of field preparation, planting, weeding, and harvest for the various crops. How are crops stored? Which are grown for family consumption? which for cash crops?

Observe, participate (as possible) in and record how field work is done, tools used, labor patterns, etc. Take pictures if appropriate.

What kind of buildings are constructed in the fields? Do members of the family stay in their fields for part of the year? Who stays and for how long and why? How often are crops planted on the same piece of ground? Is there a rotation of crops? How do people decide where they will make their fields? How are boundary lines marked?

How valuable is land ownership? Is land passed from one generation to another? How can more land be acquired? Who holds the records of land ownership for the area? Who holds the title to land, and what do the title “papers” look like? How are infringements challenged and decided?

Can land be rented or leased? What portion of any produce must be given to the owner? Can land be purchased? Can the purchaser obtain a clear and permanent deed?


Dictionary definition: Arts and Crafts: the creative design of everyday objects

What creative objects and decorations have you observed? How are they used? What value do they seem to have (are they in a place of honor? worn on special occasions)? Who makes them? Are they made at certain times of the year? Are certain crafts associated with ritual practices? Are any crafts gender specific? Do any crafters cross the gender expectation and what do local people think of these people.

What decorative (as opposed to utilitarian) features are used in crafts to make them more attractive? What standards of beauty are there and how does this affect the value of the article? What artistic expressions are found? Are there patterns which are followed or is there room for free expression? Do these appear in special objects or at special occasions (e.g. house decoration, pottery, carving)?

Are the materials for these crafts available locally? If not, how are they obtained?

How are children taught various crafts? At what ages?

Is the activity necessary in order to have the item? or can the item be bought commercially as well? Are formerly hand-made items no longer made because of their availability commercially? What motivates a person to make an item by hand? Which items are more valued– those made commercially, or those made by hand?

Which crafts bring in supplementary income? Is the income pooled with other family funds or does it remain personal property?


Does your village, town, or city have a “downtown” area, that is, a main shopping center? Or are there big shopping centers scattered throughout? How far is it from where you live to one of these centers?

Is going to the mall or to a downtown area a special occasion? Do people dress more formally when they go? Do they go here for special reasons, like business or events, or do they sometimes go just to have a good time?

Are the shops under one roof? Situated on a main plaza? Located on a jumble of interconnected streets?

What kinds of shops are located in the center you have chosen? Are the same types of shops found in other centers, or does each center have a “specialty?” Is there more variety found downtown than in local shops?

Are any of these connected to a Western franchise? If so, how familiar does it look to you, and how much has been added in deference to the culture? Are the products of these international shops considered more prestigious than local items?

Are larger shops more frequented than the smaller neighborhood shops? How has the local economy been affected by the arrival of megashops?

Are there special venues for events located downtown, like the opera, musical programs, or plays? Would businesses have special events for their staff at downtown sites rather than at a local venue?



  • How far is the closest market or store where you can buy fruit and vegetables? meat? flour and sugar?
  • Find out how food items are sold—by the pound? by the dozen? by the kilo? by some other measure? Think of eggs, milk and other dairy products as well as meat, vegetables, and fruit. How are items packaged?
  • Are there supermarkets where everything is under one roof, or do you have to go to different stores for food items? Is there a farmers’ market with many vendors offering their produce or products? Is fresh produce sold in a different store than dry goods like flour and sugar?
  • Do you have to bring your own bags or are bags provided to carry your purchases home?
  • Are prices fixed or is there room to bargain? Does the type of shop determine this, as a kiosk on the street, an open shop, or a shop with an entry door? How is bargaining done?

For other items needed generally

Note: Going to a mall or to another central location for “fun” shopping will be covered in another assignment.

  • Do these same stores offer stationery items? textbooks? clothing? tablecloths? crockery? If not, where can you buy these types of things? How far are these stores? Are some of them locally run or are some run by a chain? Are the chain stores nationally run or from outside the country?
  • How are items packaged? Are some items sold separately and others packaged? Which ones?
  • Do stores selling the same thing tend to group together or are they scattered around the city? How many specialty stores, like department stores, hardware stores, or automotive stores are in your area? Do you have a choice or are your options limited?
  • Inquire as to what items can be bought at the hardware store in your area? the variety store? the department store? the medicine shop? the stationers? What are these shops called?
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