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we had a tribes and nations morning at church last saturday. this is a great fair trade project run by a couple who used to be CMS missionaries in tanzania, and who saw that we can directly influence the lives of people in third world countries by making certain decisions about what we buy in the west. from their site:

Mignonne saw possibilities for change in the Tanzanian village she visited twice weekly: “I got the mothers’ group a sewing machine, material and thread. They taught themselves to sew by unpicking and examining a garment! Thus began a micro industry – their enthusiasm was fantastic and vision boundless.”

“When we gave one man flower and vegetable seeds, he gathered old milk containers, planted and grew them. Soon he had a small nursery, and was known as the village expert! He had never seen results from his own initiative before this!” explained Grant.

After much hard thought and prayer, Tribes and Nations was born. Based on fair trade principles, we seek to be a market bridge between income generating projects and the global community.

We are delighted to see co-operation between the producers we source from and the ‘west’ in terms of design, style and colours. We have been humbled by the quality of their products.

We desire the global community to know ‘the poor’ don’t always want a handout. The vast majority want to stand equally with us, shoulder to shoulder, earning an income that allows them to move forward.

they source stuff from all over the place, and i’m especially impressed by their coffee (from east timor) and chocolate – really yummy good quality stuff, reasonably priced, and something i’m likely to buy on a regular basis (as opposed to, say, the beautiful silk scarves). the coffee and chocolate is also available in some coles supermarkets – if you buy fair trade stuff wherever you can, it’s more likely to be stocked. apparently the fair trade movement is very big in places like the UK where there are all sorts of free trade foodstuffs available at the big shopping chains like tesco’s – mignonne said we were about 5 years behind in australia; it’s about time we caught up.

you can also buy fair trade coffee from toby’s estate.

on saturday we were also treated to a performance by the a capella choir that rehearses at our church during the week. they sang some gorgeous african and palestinian songs about peace, as well as beautiful arrangements of ‘four seasons in one day’ and ‘throw your arms around me’. it just sounded like so much fun, and they seemed like a lovely group of people. so i have just sent an email off to the director to see if i can join. i’ve been feeling quite creatively stunted lately, and especially as my love of choral singing was rekindled during the requiem experience, i know i just have to get out there and do things and not be hampered by my feelings of insecurity and fear of the unknown.

we’ll see what happens.