Since I mostly review books, it hasn't really come up that I am a big believer in the fair trade market, and support it as much as I can. Where I grew up there was a Ten Thousand Villages store, my whole family loved to browse through the store, and admire the talent of the artists whose wares were displayed. As an artist myself (painting, sketching) I have a deep appreciation and love for beautiful things, so I need to express my deep love of this stole. The picture doesn't do it justice, the colors are vibrant yet soft, the pattern is subtle, yet stands out enough to bring the stole colors together. More than that though, is the quality, I've purchased handmade items through other stores/companies that bring them in from other countries, and it always seems like a hit or miss on whether the item will last or continue to look nice. I have never had that with a Ten Thousand Villages purchase!
I need to confess though, I didn't share my chocolate bar with anyone, I ate the whole thing myself!
I appreciate Ten Thousand Villages for more though than just providing a way for us to purchase unique and foreign items, I appreciate that they cultivate a culture of respect, honor, and togetherness. Upon reading about the artists that worked on the stoles, I was very touched by the stories of artists of coming to the aid of neighboring artists effected by floods. I believe when we empower people, we don't only help provide a way for them to make a living, we also provide a way for them to show love and compassion for others.
"CRC has succeeded in developing a sense of connectedness that has allowed artisan groups to work together in partnership during times of need. In 2002, when a serious flood overwhelmed workshops in West Bengal, leatherworkers gathered food, matches, soap and clothing. They then hired a boat and delivered the emergency supplies to their partners in the flood zone."
I'd like to encourage all my readers to look into http://www.tenthousandvillages.ca This Christmas season, and give a gift that means so much more than a simple item of clothing, or a beautiful carving. Give a gift that sends a message of support and compassion!
Also I'd like to express my deep appreciation and thankfulness to Graf Martin and Ten Thousand Villages for this beautiful and thoughtful gift, each time I see it I'm reminded of the joy I felt upon opening my mail and seeing this surprise!