Panax Africaine

Here, merchandise finds you, even following you at times.

As I write this, there is a man walking around and selling meat outside in the neighborhood. “Kusel! Kusel!” he yells. Other days it is vegetables or clothes or milk.

Somedays it is convenient-my most recent pair of running shoes found me while I was out at bar-but most days, you ignore it.

Transportation is no exception and perhaps a more acute example: imagine being trapped on a 6-hour bus with a shouting salesman.

Their dedication is admirable, but I am of the opinion they should commence every session selling earplugs.

But then again, they often provide entertainment.

More often than not, they are selling a “cure-all”-Malaria? Erectile dysfunction? Upset stomach? Look no further than <INSERT MEDICINE NAME HERE>.

(I believe there is a word for “cure-all” that looks like pancreas, but, at the moment, it escapes me, which is fitting since many of these cures may as well be made from a pancreas, but I digress.)

PANAX AFRICAINE is no exception. As you can see from the handout pictured below, it cures everything from diabetes to snake bite, from hypertension to amenorrhea, from STIs to rashes. Pretty much all your average illnesses, in that sense, Panax is not exceptional, but it gets a blog mention because of its devoted salesman.


As always, these salesmen appear when it is too late to run. (You must listen to them.) He stopped in the middle of the train car and began to speak, exalt in fact, the wonders of PANAX, while passing out fliers detailing all of its unbelievable benefits. This continued for some time.

Eventually, he moved to how PANAX works-mix in tea or bouillie, rub it on the skin and you can even consume it plain!

He then poured some of the milky, gooey, brown substance on his palm, paused, took a deep breath and then licked it off and swallowed it. (Voilà!)

But that was not all, free samples were then offered. (Because everyone likes free stuff!)

The woman next to him held out her hand, licked it off, and swallowed it and…to the amusement of all the nearby passengers, grimaced in disgust from the taste.

The guy next to her, curious as to if it really was that bad, held out his hand-the same reaction, except then he could not keep it down, within seconds his stomach had rejected the PANAX and he reflexively vomited it onto the floor.

By this point everyone was laughing, and, even more incredibly, the salesman was still selling. He didn’t bat an eye at the puke and kept offering samples. Of course, after all that, no one in my section of the train would accept a sample and so he eventually moved to the other side of the care, where grimaces and laughter also soon erupted.

And yet, he still kept selling. Moving from car to car throughout the night, peddling the PANAX to the people.





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