It may take a village to raise a child but it took Ten Thousand Villages to jumpstart many Oak Park residents into holiday shopping mode. Good Shepherd Lutheran Church was the site of a shopping bazaar the first weekend of December, put on by Ten Thousand Villages, a founding member of the International Fair Trade Association. Started in 1946 by two Pennsylvanians, focused on encouraging fair trade for Third World countries, Ten Thousand Villages has stores across the United States and Canada (in Glen Ellyn and Evanston in the Chicago area) but also can create shopping “festivals” on location.

“We bring fair trade full circle-from the artist to the patron,” said Oak Park holiday sale event coordinator, Jane Zawadowski. They work with more than 100 artisan groups in over 30 countries in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East and are one of the largest fair trade organizations in North America.

The group derived its distinctive name from Mahatma Gandhi who said, “India is not to be found in its few cities but in the 700,000 villages.”

Plans are for Oak Park to be home to a permanent store starting this summer, says Zawadowski.

Volunteers greeted shoppers at the door with a date-palm basket for gathering items. Shoppers were buying:

 Musical Frog, $24, a clever carved wooden frog that comes with a stick. Run the stick along the spine to make either the mating call (bottom to head) or the distress call (head to bottom.) Carved by street children in Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam.

 Goldfish Paperweights, $7 – The Mai Vietnamese create them out of naturally smooth local Vietnam river stones, each hand-gathered rock receives 10 coats of lacquer, creating a black pearl essence and red/orange foil phosphorescent fish.

 Circle Dance Sculpture, $68, carved in pink and white striated kisli stone, depicting two people joyfully entwined in dance. Kisli stone is a version of soapstone, found only in a small area of western Kenya. Created by the Undugu Society of Kenya, sales help perpetuate the family-taught Kenyan culture of carving for future generations.

 Handsome Tuareg InGall Earrings, $38, an intricate design of red glass, nickel and silver are designed by the nomadic Tuareg people of Niger. The triangular shape represents the crossroads of InGall, a village where the Tuareg gather after migrating south during the rainy season. InGall offers rich salt deposits (represented by the red glass) healthful for the Tuareg animals. The Union of Peasants For Self Development in Niger create the Toureg jewelry.

 Recycled Metal Angel Pin, $12, with red hearts and flowers, brings holiday cheer and helps further the Ten Thousand Villages mission of “giving gifts that give twice.” The Bombolulu Workshop, located near Mombasa, Kenya’s second largest city, provides employment for adults who are blind and physically disabled.

 Chilean Rainstick, $24, is made from dried cactus-the rainstorm noise is created by cactus spines inserted in a criss-cross spiral from top to bottom in the stick and then sealed with a wooden plug. Created by Comparte in Chile, a husband-and-wife team in the small coastal town of La Serena, Chile.

 Articulating Snake, $18, a wooden snake that replicates the oscillating movement of the reptile, also created by Comparte.

 Wool Vicunas, $20 and $10, by Manos Amigas, “Hands In Friendship,” of Peru. Vicunas live in the Andes and are related to Lamas and alpacas. The free-standing Vicunas are handsewn from discarded sheepskin and alpaca skins, wool and yarn.

 Dragon and Butterfly Kites, $54 and $38, serve equally as recreation or interior decoration, made in Indonesia by Yayasan Mali in Bali. Kite-flying is traditionally done in the fields to celebrate the new planting season.

 Soap, $4 a bar, produced by the Untouchables caste (the Harijan) in India, who diversified into soap production after a downturn in the world leather market. The Palam Rural Centre-Palam means “bridge” representing the goal of creating a bridge to markets in the world-uses local herbs and plant life such as Neem, a tree cousin of Mahogany, as well as Mango, Sandalwood and Rose. Packaged in rough, recycled paper boxes, you can buy a set of three small clove, cardamom and cinnamon scented bars, gift-ready, in a silk, tasseled drawstring sack for $8.

 Drums, $29-$275, made of goatskin, covering hollow wooden drum heads, many sizes and shapes. Mennonite Central Committee West Africa works with 400 artisans around Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso in the creation of native musical instruments.

 Farm Animal Dominos, $16, made of fast growing plantation pine replaces the “dots” with painted farm animals. Made by Sri Lanka’s Golden Palm International, jobs are created in rural areas where employment is rare.

 South Indian Tic-Tac-Toe Dolls, $24, come in a wooden box and the players “build” the game using polished angudu wood sticks and use charming carved and vegetable dye-painted doll figures to replace the X and O. Each item is hand-lacquered where the lacquer is pulled like taffy and hand-applied on a spinning lathe by the Chennai-based group (formerly Madras).

 Palm streamers, $7, natural and vegetable dye-colored, 20 feet long, produced in Chennai, India, for decorating trees or interiors.

 Capiz shell garlands, $12, and many Capiz tree ornaments, including tree-topper angels, $28, stars, $9, and doves, $12, created in the Philippines.

 Nativity Ornaments from carved bells, $9, created by the Mosleh Workshop in the West Bank.

 Blue and white Ceramic Bell Ornaments, $28 for boxed set of three, as well as varied ceramic garden items help foster the ceramic culture in Vietnam.

 Fold-Up Nativity, $15, a handy “pop-up” version of the Nativity, created book-style in natural straw by the Rishilpi Development in Bangladesh.

 Nativity Gourd, $24, depicting the birth in a hollowed-out, painted gourd from Peru.

 Painted Retablo Nativity, $18, also from Peru, supports the culture of retablos through painted devotional images.

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