Pachamama brings ‘fair trade’ items to HR

The world in a storefront

If you happen to miss out on the Alternative Gift Fair in Hood River today, or the Fair Trade Gift Sale in White Salmon on Sunday, don’t despair — Pachamama is there.

Pachamama is an owner-run cooperative featuring “fair trade” gift items, whose producers from around the world receive a living wage for their work. The store is located at 203 Second Street in Hood River, in the same storefront as the Secrets to Learning program.

Pachamama, whose name means Mother Earth in the Quechua language spoken in the Andean region of South America, is run by DeLona Campos-Davis, Karen Murphy-Mendez and Amy Hasert-Bruno. Murphy-Mendez and Campos-Davis have spearheaded the one-day Bethel United Church of Christ’s Annual Fair Trade Gift Sale in White Salmon for the past five years, and decided to expand the concept into a store that will be open daily through the holidays.

“All of us have traveled around the world, and we have a real commitment to letting people know how their dollar is being spent,” Campos-Davis said. Gift items available at Pachamama range from scarves made by a cooperative of refugee women on the border of Thailand and Burma to Christmas tree ornaments from Bangladesh.

The majority of the store’s inventory is ordered through 10,000 Villages, a long-established fair trade company.

“They have a wide variety of items,” Campos-Davis said. “And they guarantee it’s all fair trade.” In addition, the people who make the products are paid at the time the products are bought from them, not when the items are later sold in the United States or elsewhere.

An “education center” in the store provides information about fair trade issues.

“What needs to change is how people spend their dollar,” Campos-Davis said. “We want to educate people.” The store features “a big selection” of items under $10, according to Campos-Davis, and about 80 percent of the inventory sells for under $20. Complimentary fair trade coffee and hot cocoa are offered to shoppers.

Pachamama will donate a portion of its proceeds to the Secrets educational program, and any additional proceeds to Radio Tierra, the bilingual radio station that hopes to go on the air early next year.

Campos-Davis said Pachamama’s holiday season debut is a step toward what she and the other owners hope will be something more enduring.

“We hope it’ll be really successful and we’ll have to open permanently,” she said. Pachamama is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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