Monthly Archives: July 2014
If the blog below is too long for you, here’s a summary…
1. World Fair Trade Day – Ammanford-Garnswllt.
A great advert for the scout movement!
Inspiring day of international solidarity!
Money for Sudan Appeal.
Training for Ammanford-Bristol.
Inspiring day of international solidarity!
Loads of community involvement.
Inspiring day of international solidarity!
Three Carmarthenshire Fair Trade Way walks in three months! …And every one a joy to be on… Come rain or shine!
…And there was a LOT of rain on the first one! (That must be because we crossed over the border to the rainy county of Swansea on that one!)
It was a walk to advertise World Fair Trade Day. From iSmooth community cafe to Garnswllt Activity Centre. A 2 or 3 mile walk along the start of the Ammanford-Swansea Fair Trade Way. A community walk; child friendly, with a Fairtrade Fun Day at the end.
I loved looking at the World Fair Trade Day website and seeing our event alongside others happening on the same day all over the world. Events celebrating Fair Trade in Bangladesh, India, Denmark, Norway, Indonesia, America, Canada, Brazil, New Zealand, Australia, Holland, Sweden, Ethiopia, Estonia, Ecuador… and Ammanford and Garnswllt!
The thought of international solidarity action is something that keeps you going even when walking in pouring rain to the start of a Fair Trade walk!
To be honest, as I got to iSmooth, I was pleased to see a couple of people there. The problem with organising a Fun Day and a walk on the same day is that, if it’s pouring with rain, the Fun Day seems a little more appealing!
However, I had not accounted for the strength of resolve and determination of 2nd Ammanford Scouts, Cubs and Beavers!
About 40 of them came, with smiles showing through wet coat hoods… A perfect advert for the adventurous side of the world-wide Scout movement!
Fueled, as ever, by Fairtrade bananas from Ammanford Co-Op, waved on our way by the lovely staff and volunteers at iSmooth, on we went through our wet town, into our wet countryside!
The involvement of so many young people and families made it feel like a real community event. The age range was from 6 to 60+. And we all got very wet. And we all had a good time. And we all really enjoyed the Fairtrade hot chocolate when we got to the Activity Centre!
Fairtrade pasta too!
And a lovely welcome!
The Centre was a hive of activity, buzzing with the excitement of people who’d finally made it to the end! And also with busy little Beavers racing around doing a Fairtrade Facts treasure hunt (the treasure being Dubble bars!). Not only Beavers (I just liked the phrase “busy little Beavers”!!)… We were pleased to hear that a Guide was going to repeat the Treasure Hunt with the Brownies at their next meeting.
Ammanford Fair Trade shops, Bertrams and Harmony, had stalls, and screens were showing films about the Ammanford-Llandeilo Fair Trade Way and the Ammanford to Cardiff Fair Trade Bike Ride.
I don’t know how the events went in Brazil, Bangladesh or Tunisia… but this one in Wales was excellent!
The next two walks stayed in Carmarthenshire all the way, and did the Carmarthenshire Tourist Board proud, with nothing but sunshine all the way!
Our plan is to get a Fair Trade Way all the way across Carmarthenshire, and also a “Llanelli Loop” linking Llanelli with the route at both Ammanford and Carmarthen.
When we did the first section last year, from Ammanford to Carmarthen, it was a boiling hot day… and the sunshine continued this year.
A small group of Fair Trade Way veterans (and a friend from Canada who had only been in the UK for a few hours!) walked the Carmarthen-Llanelli route. It was a long, hot challenge… 26 miles… A marathon walk organised to raise money for Oxfam’s Sudan Appeal and to check out the route for a full Fair Trade Way walk at some time in the future.
Mainly following the Welsh Coastal Path, it was a lovely walk with good company and good countryside. And although we didn’t have any planned stops along the way, we still had some good stops… starting with a picnic on the beach at Ferryside. Unfortunately, Ferryside at low tide is not a good place to try to bathe hot feet (the water is a long way away, and the sand is mud!), but we did get the beautiful view across to Llansteffan Castle.
Moving on, we had welcome cooling shade at the Fairtrade church in Llansaint and at the beautiful butterfly garden nearby, welcome cooling ice cream at the Co-Op in Burry Port and welcome cooling Fairtrade Foot Lotion from LUSH at the end of it all!
We raised about £300 for Oxfam, had a great day out, and, with legs not aching too much, thought : “Maybe we will be able to make it all the way from Ammanford to Bristol for the Fairtrade Towns conference next July!”
The problem with that Bristol walk is that we will have to walk long distances day after day. This time we had three weeks before the next one!
That next one was a “proper” Fair Trade Way walk, with loads of community involvement.
It started at The Tea Shop in Carmarthen Park; the council-owned Fairtrade cafe. It started like a carnival procession, led by about forty children from Johnstown and St Mary’s primary schools, running and skipping and jumping and shouting: “What do we want? Fairtrade! When do we want it? Now!”
At well above our normal pace, we quickly got to Johnstown, where the school children and staff welcomed us with Fairtrade refreshments (Got to mention the banana cake!!).
We walked on, while Elen from Fair Trade Wales stayed to further inspire, and be inspired by, what the schools are doing to promote Fairtrade.
Two Oxfam volunteers (who live at the top of the hill out of Llanllwch… and so knew to join us by their house so as to not to have to walk up that hill!) let us rest at the top on their wall… and use their loo! (After drinks at The Tea Shop and the school, some of us were glad to have early access to a toilet! – Not the first time around the world that Oxfam volunteers have provided toilets for people in need!!)
Next stop was Llangynog Village Hall for lunch. Support Car star Elen had arrived in time to get the kettle on. Half the group had gone ahead a bit and went a longer way, as they followed a sign to Llangynog which took them to the village but not to the village hall.
This was good, as the slower group caught up and got there first. Smug tortoises enjoyed a good lunch!
Too much of this route was road rather than footpaths, but there were plenty of road side flowers and countryside views to keep us happy ramblers going. And not many cars… just tractors with very big wheels!
We got on to the Coastal Path and then the nice new walk along the river into St Clears… and on to The Gate; one building hosting a lot of good things! Art gallery, artists studios, Fairtrade cafe, Town library, Council chamber and meeting rooms, where local councillors and Fairtrade Town Committee members gave us a nice official welcome with a Fairtrade Afternoon Tea, with Fairtrade tea, coffee, cakes and Kit Kats!
One of the studios at The Gate houses a candle maker, who is also an Oxfam volunteer. She had made a beautiful candle with the Fairtrade logo on to mark the day, and we presented this to the Mayoress to be kept in the Mayor’s Parlour. Maybe they can light it when they get Fair Trade Town status… which shouldn’t be long, judging by the work the school, the Co-Op and The Council are doing. Two good Fairtrade cafes, too; Annie’s Cafe at The Gate, and The Toll House.
With the sun still shining, it was getting hotter as we went on… or maybe we were just feeling it more?! But on we went, along the cycle paths and back roads to Whitland, on past the Fairtrade Flag flying outside the primary school, and down to the Co-Op… and a lovely welcome with shady gazebo and teas and ice creams and apple turnovers and more! The Co-Op had been great on this walk; supplying water and bananas from start to finish, as well as walkers from seven different stores across the county. The area manager was there to greet us too. It’s good that the Fair Trade Way markers, paid for by the Co-Operative, have their logo on it… They deserve the publicity!
We’re all organised this time, already having a date and starting point for the next walk; from Whitland on to Haverfordwest… into Pembrokeshire! October 16th, starting from Ysgol Llys Hywel. We pose for final photos, compare sun burn, pledge to use Fairtrade sun cream next time, and say goodbyes and hope to meet up again on October 16th.