Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Ten Thousand Villages vs. One Sappy Mom - Featured Series Day 3

© Tatiana Morozova Dreamstime.com

 Today is day three of a 14 day series on Fair Trade, leading up to Fair Trade Day on May 14th. For yesterday's post, Fair Tradeducation 101, please click here.

Today, I’m going to share with you, through a personal story, one other reason why I choose to purchase Fair Trade products - The Stories.

Because of the nature of the Fair Trade concept, there is typically a story behind the artists or farmers who produce these items. While you may never meet these individuals, you’ll always be able to tell someone else about their story, their village or the positive change your purchase made for them, their family or their village.

I shared this particular story a couple of years ago here, but it’s one that I just enjoy telling again and again:

The Story
One of my favorite places to shop during the holiday is Ten Thousand Villages, a Fair Trade retailer founded in 1946 with stores in the United States and across Canada. All Ten Thousand Villages stores are non-profit and are mostly staffed by volunteers.  

$98.00 Singing Bowl from Ten Thousand Villages
Three Christmas’s ago, while shopping with my son in Carytown (you've heard that before), we made our usual holiday stop in, to see what unique gifts we could find. While I was off looking at the music in the CD section, my son and one of the sales ladies working were plotting over in the musical instrument section, working out a game plan, unbeknown to me at the time. After several minutes had passed, he comes to me and asks me to come over to where his accomplice was waiting....I mean, where they were. He begins to show and demonstrate to me this big metal bowl that hums. I could tell by the look on his face that he just had to have it. He was in awe for some reason at the sound and an apparent sensation he was getting. It was Christmas, so I decided to ask the sales lady for the price.  At the tune of $98.00, I quickly said to my son, “not today buddy”, and suggested that he save some of his own allowance and return to purchase it later.

$48 Singing Bowl from Ten Thousand Villages
They weren’t ready to hear that; nor, were they ready to give up that easy. The wonderful sales lady (who turned out to be a volunteer) was on her job that day, because this is when she began her tugging at my heart. She started with the following…”These bowls are called singing bowls. They are solid brass and handmade in Tibet, used for meditation and sometimes prayer. Because they are handmade, each bowl has a different sound.” She then begins to demonstrate this, and hands another bowl to my son and continues…”this one, only cost $48.00” (remember... they had a head start on their game plan). She then gives me the larger bowl ($98), and continues…”Now if you hold this flat in your hand, and rub the wooden dowel around the outside of the bowl, the humming will start, and you’ll feel a warm vibration going up your arm, and into your chest”. Guess what? - I DID!!!

I tell you, it was a really weird feeling…I felt relaxed and at peace – EXACTLY where they wanted me!! This lady was good, and what she probably really wanted to say me to me was….”you’ll feel a warm vibration going up your arm and into your SAPPY heart!” But guess what? She’s not even finished with me yet…she tops it off with the following: “As you know, Ten Thousand Villages is a non-profit organization and the proceeds from the sale of these bowls, go back to an organization named New Sadle, where they offer FREE medical care to ARTISANS…(that would be the bowl makers folks)…in Tibet who suffer with LEPROSY!”

Need I say more? Okay, I will…we now have two $48.00 bowls downstairs in our living room, where my son has told the Leprosy story behind the bowl and has performed many demonstrations for guest who have stopped by. The second one was a surprise Christmas gift from me to my son, after he DROPPED..YES DROPPED the first one on cement the SAME day we purchased it! (word of caution: singing bowls don’t sing with a crack)– If you had seen his puppy dog eyes that day, you would have done the same thing!

My Story
Before you leave today, please share your comments on Fair Trade.  If you have a story I'd love to hear about that too.

Visit Ten Thousand Villages online or in your neighborhood and purchase your own Fair Trade Art, and tell someone the story, then come back tomorrow when we'll explore some of the different Fair Trade items around the world. 

Ten Thousand Villages
3201 W. Cary Street
Richmond, Virginia (Carytown)
Upcoming Events:

May 14, 2011 - Fair Trade Day
- Fair Trade Scavenger Hunt
- Fair Trade Memory Wall
- Fair Trade Sundaes

June 4, 2011
- Fair Trade Fashion Show

Unveiling one village at a time,


fishyfacedesigns said...

That is a wonderful story... I will keep this information for the next "special" gift I have to purchase!
I bet that broke your son's heart when it broke the first day... seeing that look on his face and YES... I would have done the same thing!

Dee said...

Thanks Lisa, it really did. I think I was more upset than him over my $48 though, lol. He had been carrying it around since we left the store and I told him not to bring it into another store and he dropped it on the concrete floor...he was crushed!

Yvonne said...

It's okay to be a sappy mom when it for a great cause. I love also that your son enjoyed telling the Leprosy story and demonstrating the singing bowl to guests in your home. Priceless!

mamichele said...

Great place to shop, I took a friend recently who had never been there. I alway love that place and what it represents. Love the instruments, grew up on alot of them when I was little. I think my Dad was bent on making us a musical group...then came the Jackson5...oh well...

Dee said...

Yvonne, yeah, every once in a while he gets me good. @MaMichele, you have all sorts of hidden talent don't you :)...now about those waffles...lol

Kayla @ TheEclecticElement said...

Ooooooh!! I've wanted a singing bowl(s) for a while, ever since I saw them demonstrated and felt their awesome energies at a local holistic health fair I frequent each year :)

They truly are amazing! I really hope I will have a chance to visit that store one day-It sounds right up my alley and onto of that, I would be doing some good with each purchase!

What a wonderful story-Thank you for sharing :)

Dee said...

Hopefully so Kayla, Did you check their site to see if there was one near you?

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