*A visit to a fair trade store & reflections regarding names of children in Ecuador and Nicaragua
A visit to a fair trade store:
Fair trade is much more visible in Quito and in the Imbabura province of Ecuador than is true in the United States. There is a chain of stores call Comari in Quito. The fair trade products sold range from vegetables, meat, fish, coffee, chocolate, and grains, to skin care products, and art and handicrafts such as handmade baskets and paper.
My fourth visit of today (a busy day!) is to a fair trade store that opened recently (June 2008) in Cotacachi. The store is bright, super clean, and cheery. There are not a lot of items in stock, but there is a wide variety of fair trade products. Food products include jams, aji sauces, coffee, chocolate, cheese, sunflower seeds, and dried goose berries. They sell grains with the Comari brand. They also sell cheeses from Salineras, a community known for many years for several projects designed to help people help themselves in sustainable ways. (I will write about Salineras in another blog.) There are also some artesanías (quality handicrafts) including hats, bags, necklaces. The store also sells regional specialties such as pineapple liqueurs. And there are skin care products such as soaps, creams, and shampoos made by a women’s cooperative in El Jardín, high on a mountain in Imbabura. (I will visit the cooperative later this week.) There are tables in the fair trade store to sit to have coffee; the menu is simple. atmosphere is attractive for people who may want to simply visit. The store's motto is “consume lo nuestro” (consume that which is ours); I saw that motto in various stores around Ecuador.
Names of indigenous children:
Here in Agato-Otavalo, Ecuador, I have met many people who have given Kichwa (Quichua) names. Sr. Santillán explained that when he was a child, parents were prohibited by the government from using Kichwa names. They were required to choose a Christian name from a list provided by the government. Oscar’s next brother was named Guillermo for that reason. However, their youngest brother (age about 26) was born after the rule was abolished and he was given a Kichwa name: Raymi. Guillermo Santillán and his wife, Matilde, have two young children. Their names are Ila (la semilla de la verdad –seed of the truth) and Atik (piedra dorada ponderosa- powerful golden stone). At least in this part of Ecuador, some people welcome the opportunity to choose names for their children to reflect their own culture and heritage.
While I was in Nicaragua in 2007, it was clear that many people have lost touch with their indigenous background. When I asked people around Managua about their background and indigenous ancestors, many simply said, “I must have such origins, and they must be Nahautl, but I really do not know.” Many people I met around Managua had given their children names from English, but they are pronounced in Spanish. Such names include Gladys, Jessica, Roger, Henri, Harold, and others. To my knowledge this is by choice, not a requirement of law.
*Copyright © 2008, by Paulette L. Stenzel