On Dec. 4 and 5, McNicholas hosted the now annual “Friends of Batahola” Fair Trade sale. The sale took place in the library during both A and B lunch periods and featured handmade and hand-painted items from Nicaraguan artisans. Though the sale has happened sporadically since 2007, this is its third consecutive year, and it has gained stability through the Nicaraguan Immersion trip taken in June, said Theology teacher John Norman.
“While it has occurred in the past, the sale really gained ground when Hutch (Campus Ministry Director Jeff Hutchinson-Smyth) and I began going on the Immersion trip to Nicaragua,” Norman said. “We have worked to establish a connection with our friends there and to get a fair return for their craft.”
Hutchinson said that this sale gives the people of Nicaragua the opportunity to really market their craft.
“There is a tremendous amount of talent, and it has no access to the global market,” Hutchinson-Smyth said. “This not only gives them the chance to sell their work, but also make the highest profit possible by cutting out the middle-man.”
The items on sale included jewelry, hand painted crosses, and notecards featuring the two murals painted at McNick by Nicaraguan artist and Batahola Cultural Center art teacher Gerardo Arias. Not only are these items a great way to help the people of the developing world, but they make quality gifts for loved ones,” Hutchinson-Smyth said. “Many of us have the desire not to just buy ‘stuff’ but to find a meaningful gift for the people we love.”
Though the sale only lasted two days at McNick, there are other opportunities to get involved in Fair Trade. A store called 10,000 Villages, located in O’Brienville, sells fair trade items from around the world. Once a month, Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish sells fair trade coffee, chocolate, and other items after their masses, and local grocery stores carry fair trade coffee.
Hutchinson-Smyth and Norman agree that this sale is great way for students to practice solidarity.
“The sale can help broaden the vision of our students in terms of how to be citizens of the world and how to act as a Catholic,” Norman said.