REPORT FROM DAR
“Economic and social growth is a laborious and slow process. Development is the accumulated result of intensive long term efforts. It is not enough that a nation desire development and economic maturity, any more than a child, in wishing, becomes a man. Time is required, and experience, as well as trial and error. The requirements and processes of nature cannot be ignored or evaded. The child must crawl, then walk, before it can run. So, also, must a nation progress through successive stages of growth before the stage is reached where rapid and ever accelerating development is possible.” H.I.M Emperor Haile Selasie I.
May this find you all in a good place.
|Shiriki organization volunteers preparing for trade fair at our workshop|
This last July, H.I.M Negus Shiriki Community Based Organization sent two representatives to neighbouring Tanzania, for the Dar-e-salaam International Trade Fair. What an event!
|At Dar-e-Salaam International Trade Fair, Tanzania.|
In our last post we mentioned how we had been working with the Export Promotion Council (EPC) to improve upon the quality of our products, especially the sandals. They also have been helping identify export market opportunities as well as providing advisory services regarding all matters related to international transactions. The Shiriki volunteers are thankfully more the wealthier for these experiences. It is through this link that we were able to feature at the Kenyan Pavilion, as one of the specially selected ten groups from different counties, to present our products to the international market. Sales from our items contribute to sustainability and the running of our community projects.
|Faya Nganga tending to clients|
The Organization was represented by Faya Ng’ang’a, a seasoned trader who has travelled to many fairs and exhibitions to raise awareness on our products. The products we speak of include clothing items, such as head wear, handmade scarves, sweaters, shawls, shirts, t-shirts, dresses, and sandals. The sandals are handmade, with woven straps, recycled fabric and recycled car tyre soles. We also make African jewelrely and ornaments, necklaces, bracelets, and accessories. The second representative was Githaka Karuri, yours truly. At the trade fair, we mainly featured the sandals.
|Githaka welcoming Kenya government officials|
The products were undoubtedly well received, and the creativity universally lauded. It is a resounding testimony to the hard work and committment that the Shiriki volunteers have put in to learn, share and carry on these skills. The hand-weaving for instance is an ancient tradition handed over through countless generations. It is our duty to perpetuate.
|Serving the people|
It was also an opportunity to learn more about the requirements of our clients, so that we may serve them even better. In addition to that, we had the opportunity to meet up with people with whom we have subsequently continued nurturing new relationships, based on trade, community work and mutual appreciation. It is in fact quite evident that it is through such interactions that the people of this continent and the world at large will continue forging healthy human interactions, and spreading goodwill. This is of course as long as we are not solely driven on by the monetary unit.
A BIG shout to all the people of Tanzania who were so gracious, welcoming and helpful through our stay. For unadulterated hospitality and friendly atmosphere, Tanzania is the place you want to go to. Especially to laid back coastal Dar-e-salaam. Melodic Swahili all around you, lots of witty banter. Genuine smiles and what about the local cuisine! We rate you,Tz.
It is our sincere intention that such excursions continue opening up doors so that the many talented people within our communities who have skills, or are willing to learn, can find outlets for their products. Handiwork and cottage industry is no doubt an area which still requires much support, hindsight, insight and foresight. Especially we need to ensure that ones can make a living, utilizing the raw materials available around them, to make items of international appeal and utility. H.I.M Negus Shiriki C.B.O volunteers will maintain at the vanguard. By grace.
AMANI, UPENDO NA HAKI! PEACE, LOVE AND JUSTICE!