Sunday, August 9, 2009

Political unrest in Honduras and unfortunate economic situation in Kenya affecting our Suppliers

By Glenn & Rebecca Fadner

July was another busy month with both retail and wholesale shows. We had a few "drenchings" (in both Fair Haven and Geneseo), quick turn-arounds between shows, and as much time in hotels as at home! We're glad that the pace is a bit "lighter" in August, which will give us an opportunity to catch up a bit with things that have gotten set to the side (including yard work).

On a more somber note, I want to update you on how two of our artisans are being impacted by current events.

Honduras: Hopefully you have been following (at least to SOME level) the political crisis unfolding in Honduras. I can't tell you how the crisis in Tegucigalpa is affecting people "on the street" in the Gulf Coast city of Trujillo, but anytime there is political unrest in a country where tourism is a significant part of the economy, there's bound to be a decrease in tourist traffic. (This is a link to an annoucement by the US embassy discouraging travel to Honduras).

So even if things start picking up in the global economy, we can expect that it will be quite some time before tourist dollars start flowing freely in Trujillo. That makes our supplier Maria, and the others at the Made In Honduras co-operative, significantly dependant on what we (and others) sell outside the country.

Kenya: Just this week I received an email from Eunice Kasisi, who makes our "marbled" and bamboo jewelry. (Click this link for more about Eunice.) Things are very difficult in Kenya. On top of the political crisis there in 2008, the global recession, and the seventh year of drought, it appears that people in both government and business have been "manipulating" the price of food staples like maize for their own profit.

Food has become outrageously expensive for the poor of Kenya, with the result that there is nothing left over for other necessities of life. Eunice is the caregiver for her brother's two children since he passed away. Last week they were "chased from school" because she couldn't pay the school fees. (There are fees even for "public" school in Kenya.) She was asking if we have any business for her, and I had to tell her that at this point, we simply don't need any additional jewelry.

We're not telling you these stories to discourage you or to stir up feelings of guilt. That's not what we're about. But we DO want to encourage you to consider KVI and other Fair Trade businesses when you do need to make a purchase. And encourage your friends to visit us and other Fair Trade e-tailers. All of us thank you!

We wish all of you a great month!

Honduran immigrants speak about recent events in Honduras surrounding President Zelaya.


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