Monthly Archives: November 2017
Posted by fairtradewayswales
We’ve started planning 2018’s International Festival Of Fair Trade Walks, which means it’s probably time I got round to writing about 2017’s Festival!
A long time ago… but easily memorable! I was involved with organising three walks in South Wales… all linking in to the literary theme of the 2017 festival…
The festival started on March 1st, so we had to launch it in Wales with a walk on St David’s Day!
Often the walks we do are along coastal paths, country lanes and ancient footpaths, and are beautiful and memorable and lovely to walk, but sometimes we don’t actually see many people to get the Fair Trade message across to!… Which, after all, is the point!
This walk was very different. A group of people from the local Oxfam shop and from Swansea’s vibrant poetry scene came together for a walk through Swansea’s bustling city centre handing out free poetry books and free Fair Trade bananas and chocolate!
Led by Becky Lowe in full Fairtrade Banana costume playing her Plucked Psaltery (there’s the start of a sentence you don’t see very often!), we walked through Castle Square, the city centre and the market, bringing joy to all (and, no doubt, confusion to some!)…
We stopped off in the packed Co-Op in Swansea Bus Station and gave out Fairtrade treats to the staff and customers to say thanks for all they do for Fairtrade… including sponsoring the Festival!
Then we continued on past Swansea’s famous wall – sized art piece proclaiming “More Poetry Is Needed”, letting everyone know that More Fairtrade is also very much needed… and on to the Environment Centre’s Fairtrade cafe for well earned Fairtrade tea and cake!
Next up was a walk in the footsteps of the fantastic Welsh poet, Idris Davies. Led by The Walking Poet Julie Pritchard, this walk was an inspiring walk through a part of Wales with a long tradition of international solidarity, learning about the landscape and structures that inspired the community-centred poetry of a poet that too many, even in Wales, have never heard of.
Suitably starting from the Library opposite Idris Davies’ house, we went on past the church of the famous Bells Of Rhymney and along the river out into what was once industrial heartland and is now recovering countryside. In mist and drizzle we recited his poems and Julie added some of her new pieces to show poetry is still very much alive in the Valleys.
We’d arranged to meet up for a pub meal at the end of the walk with Dyborn Chibonga from Liberation Nuts in Malawi and Fair Trade Wales’ Elen Jones. Dyborn was over in Wales for Fairtrade Fortnight, and had posed for many photo opportunities over the fortnight, but perhaps none which turned out as bizarre looking as this one outside a pub in Rhymney, thanks to the ass-shaking photo-bombing of a pub customer’s horse!
It turned out by chance that the pub we’d chosen to eat in was run by someone with a vending machine business… so Dyborn quickly got to work explaining what a good product Liberation Nuts would be to have in every vending machine in Wales!!
It was back to sunny weather for the next walk… which was good because it was in an outdoor swimming pool!
Unfortunately it is a pool without water since the Council pulled the plug on it!
Originally built in the 1920s or 30s by the local mining community, Brynaman Lido remained a community run asset for over seventy years.
Though it’s been shut for a while now, a committee is meeting regularly and they are trying to get control of the pool back to the community from the Council, so they can apply for funding to get it up and running again.
When it is up and running again, part of the plan is to have a Fair Trade cafe serving both pool visitors and passers-by using the nearby riverside walking and cycle paths.
So… When the pool’s open again, we can have Fair Trade swims rather than walks… but for now we had to make do with doing lengths on our feet!
Probably the most creative Fair Trade Way Walk so far saw people walking up and down the empty pool reading from classic pieces of literature with links to swimming.
Emily Hinshelwood read from her own collection of poems inspired by the Pembrokeshire Coast Path… and got in her swimming costume to do it!
We also had Jess Lerner leading a wonderful creative dance piece in the pool, and Oxfam’s Swansea shop gave us more books to hand out : This time, vintage Penguin Books which were hidden in each of the Lido’s changing rooms.
A free Fair Trade pop-up snack bar was created, with funding again from the lovely Co-Op. As on all the walks, star of the shop was The Fig Tree’s specially commissioned Festival chocolate bars!
So… Three very different walks… and all great!
And what’s next in 2018?
Watch this space!
The good news is the 2018 Festival lasts the whole year! Walks will be happening in Wales and around the world all through the year. Details of Welsh walks will be put up on the Upcoming Walks section of this site, and also, alongside others around the world, on : http://www.scottishfairtradeforum.org.uk/take-action/other-ways-to-get-involved/internationalfestivalfairtradewalks.html#.WgrRk2i0PIV
Posted in Walks