Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Insight into the Industry

Back in early December 2011, when we had just arrived in Suriname, many PC volunteers brought crafts made in their communites into Foto for a cultural event put on by the Ambassador's wives club.  It was a really good opportunity for Jill (and Mike, too) to see what types of products were being made, how much they were being sold for, and to talk with the volunteers more specifically about their role in all of it.

(the event was really well attended)

(and showcased everything from exotic dragon dances...)

(...to Canadians drinking beer.)

(some of the crafts brought in by Peace Corps volunteers)

(Jill picking up some handcraft insight)

We also had the chance to attend a store opening in Bakaaboto, a tourist destination, but mostly for domestic tourists (usually from Paramaribo who have disposable income).  This store opening was made possible by BFN, the organization Jill is working with, and is similar in some regards to the store that Jill helps out with in Tutubuka.

(the newly constructed shop at Bakaaboto)

(Bakaaboto put on a show for the store opening, with a drumming, dancing, and lots of good food)

(all this before the grand opening lecture....errr...I mean, speech. Note that the speech was given in Sranan Tango, which is a different language then Saramaccan.  This was one of Mike's first glimpses of the large divide that exists between the Surinamese and the Saramaccans)

(this lady knew how to get through it)

The store opening was interesting to see, but a bit difficult to see the interaction between the city dwellers and the Saramaccans.  It was more fun to see the shop in operation when we had a chance to return to Bakaaboto a couple of months later.  It was still well-stocked, had a very nice display of the products, and they save a portion of the sales into a group savings fund.  They are doing great so far!

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