Thursday, October 18, 2007

Feria de Artesania - Lima

Thanks to the help of some very generous friends, last week I was able to take two weavers from my site to attend an Artisen Fair held in Lima at the US Embassy and organized by the Peace Corps Small Business program. One of the women had never been to Lima and all week long everyone kept joking that we were going to lose her in the big city.

On Oct. 10th Alicia, Isolina and I departed on the night bus from Chiclayo, loaded down with over 50 weavings, business cards, labels on all of our product, photos and videos of weavings and weavers and our site. I mention these things because they were the work I did for most of the previous week and they turned out pretty nice. The weavers even liked them too.

The next day we arrived in Lima with enough time to get to the Peace Corps office, drop our bags, eat some breakfast and run to the embassy to attend several hours of training and lecture on various business related topics. Topics included very useful information on how to sell/how not to sell, what a group needs to think about when preparing for their market; other information presented seemed perhaps geared towards a group with a bit more experience under their woven belts. But Alicia and Isolina were happy with all of it - except for perhaps the lunch that was served which they thought tasted like donkey (it was beef).

We stayed at a hostal in Miraflores with all the other volunteers and counterparts (12 women in my room!), ate dinner at a Middle Eastern restaurant (falafal in Peru - it´s a miracle). Foregoing th opportunity to live it up that night, the 3 of us decided to go to bed (and freeze all night - Lima is soooo cold) and be ready for a big day.

The feria the next day was a great opportunity for us to evaluate what other groups sell, how they display their products, how our prices compare. We chatted and networked with other groups who have more months and years of experience. We strengthened our future market too. An association of artisens in Ferriñafe, not far from our site, is interested in selling our hammocks at their store (yay!). We learned of another store near Trujillo that we could sell on consignment. So even though we only sold 9 items, we made many contacts and learned where we will be next year if we continue working hard.

After a long day at the feria, we had a few hours to kill before our night bus back to Chiclayo. We headed over to Jockey Plaza, a huge American-style mall, to stroll around. As we finished making our way around the bottom floor, I suggested we head upstairs. As we boarded the escalator, Isolina began to scream - fortunately not too loudly. She had never been on an escalator! Of course, where she lives there isn´t even electricity and the biggest city in the region, Chiclayo, doesn´t have any that I know of, so why should she know escalators. I quickly explained to her how we were going to get off the escalator at the top and she followed my instructions and did just fine. We laughed for a long time after that. When we reached the far end of the 2nd floor, we decended to the first floor, now mastering not only the up escalator but also the down escalator. Who knew that I would have such diverse teaching opportunities as a Peace Corps Volunteer.

I will load some pictures later. A PC employee took a bunch of photos at the feria and I´m hoping he will email them to me soon. I gave Dan the camera those days to take pictures of some improved cook stoves in the sierra of Lambayeque. It didn´t make sense to bring the camera when the US Embassy doesn´t allow cameras in their building!


Blogger elaine said...

can i buy one of their hammocks? my cousin just rented a place near me with a HUGE PRIVATE TERRACE!!!

1:28 PM  
Blogger elaine said...

p.s. are you taking visitors???

1:38 PM  
Blogger Cynthia & Dan said...

Hi Elaine!

You can definately buy one of their hammocks. I have some in stock and can send you pictures of them if you are not in the area. Of course if you are in Peru, you can visit. We love visitors!

The hammocks cost s/. 90 ($29.99) and mailing will cost more than that if done from Peru (approx s/.80-100 per kilo and a hammock is approx 2 kilos). Another option is for me to find someone who is traveling back to the US who is willing to carry it with them and then mail it when the are on US soil - much cheaper I suspect.

Let me know which you prefer!

5:48 AM  

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