Archive for March, 2011

eBay success!

I’m feeling good about the eBay project.  We had a few sales and the store has been up for about a month.  This is more than we ever would sell on the old store, which was also costing us a lot more to run per month.  eBay is much faster – with the combined help of Lindsay writing the descriptions, we’re getting the new Turkish jewelry put up.

PDail is talking about running a special to get people who live outside of Raleigh ordering products…It’s probably going to involve the store customers having an incentive to contact their friends/relatives and encourage them to get on our store!

If you still haven’t seen the site, check it out here:


an update on my research

This posting is about fair trade and doesn’t discuss the internship.

If you’ve been following all year, you are aware that I am writing a senior thesis on the combined power of fair trade and microcredit loans.  I submitted a draft a few weeks ago, got some feedback, and handed in a second draft.  My professor had a fantastic idea for my paper…instead of just telling the reader what I believe through the research, I’m going to show them.  And now, I will show you…

Uru woman

The Uru women make much of the food they eat out of the same reed used for building their islands, houses and boats.


The Uru People (Los Uros in Spanish) live in Lake Titicaca, which is bordered by Peru and Bolivia.  They are a pre-Incan people who speak three languages, including Spanish.  I was reading the life history of Cristina, an Uru woman who does fair trade.  It was all in Spanish.  Understanding nearly all of what I was reading, I became confused when Cristina narrated how she would go to school as a child.  I thought it said that she would float on a plant from her island to the school every day.  Confused but intrigued, I asked my Chilean roommate to translate.  Turns out the Uru make their own boats out of reeds…but it gets better.  They also make their own islands out of the same reeds.  They make the islands they live on!!!  It’s fascinating, and I suggest you skim the wikipedia article for a basic introduction:  Uru people

Uru Island

In all, there are 40 islands like this. There are about 1200 Uru left.

Cristina tells us how she got started in producing handicrafts as a child.  At 15, she encouraged the other Uru women to make their own group to help sell the products.  Eventually, it evolved into CIAP: The Inter-regional Center for Peruvian Artisans which is a fair trade organization.  Cristina’s story should help the readers of my paper understand why fair trade is so important.  In fact, her story will count as ethnographic data, which is just as important as the inclusion of numerical data in a paper like this.

If you speak Spanish, read Cristina’s narrative here:  it is fascinating. Autobiografía de Cristina Suaña.

spring break

Hi everyone!  If you have landed here from either the Poole College of Management or the NCSU Bulletin, thanks for taking time to read about our project!  The interns are not in the “office” this week (aka the library); we are all going on break.

If this is the first time you have heard about our project, check out the rest of the blog!

Here are links to find out more:  Beleza Beleza on eBay

Interested in fair trade?  Contact me at

Also…some very good friends of mine from the Caldwell Fellows program are headed to Atencingo, México for spring break.  Check out Saul Flores’s story here: The Walk of the Immigrants

project featured in The Bulletin!

Some more publicity heads our way.  I’m super busy with a paper right now and we’re taking a break for Spring Break, but check out the article:

New World Order