On Fair Trade, Buying Hats, and Helping People Who Really Need Help

posted in: About us | 4

I’m crossposting this from my blog at ryandecorso.us

I’d really appreciate it if you guys read this-

I’m in Puno, Peru. It’s one of the poorest cities in the nation. Yesterday, an older woman was nearly begging us to buy a hat from her, which was handmade from alpaca yarn for only S/7, or USD $2.80. We paid her 4USD and she was incredibly happy that we offered more than she had. We don’t need another hat, but it really made this old woman’s night, she was almost crying asking us to buy it.

I can tell when these things are a ruse or less-than-true, that’s not the case here. The same thing happened to me yesterday with a woman and her child trying to sell me a pack of gum. She only had about $2.50USD worth of candy in her tray–most other places people have a lot of merchandise, probably more like $30USD. It’s not a side job, or something to do during the day, trying to turn a dime profit on a piece of candy or selling a hat you spent hours knitting for less than $3USD is these people’s main source of income. And you could easily go days without selling anything in this saturated market. There’s hardly any tourists here.

If anyone is interested, you can send me money and I’ll go out into the city of Puno, buy something for you, and ensure that the money makes it to a person who really needs it. You win, because you’ll get a quality hat that’s worth far more than it costs, and it really does make these people’s days. Or if you want, I could take the hat and donate it to someone else who needs it down the line. Or I could look for something else, it’s really up to you.

This is as fair-trade as you could ever get–there is no middle man, the money goes directly into the hands of people who desperately need it. Contact me anyway you’d like to arrange something, or donate money via Paypal button on the side of my blog, or the bottom of my website.

4 Responses

  1. Hi Ryan –
    This is a great idea! just made a donation. Thanks for sharing your trip with all of us. I can’t wait to hear about the women in Bolivia.
    Joan and Jerry

  2. Joni G. McNutt

    Ryan DeCorso, you are a sweet and noble person. Please thank my friends, your parents, for me for raising such an awesome kid. I have sent you a donation via PayPal. Please dispense it as you deem fit. I trust your instinct. I want nothing in return. No hats, thanks. I only ask that you post about your encounters in disseminating the money so that others can share in those experiences. And, more importantly, I hope you have a blast doing it.

    I hope that sometime in the near future I have a chance to reconnect with your parents and meet you and your siblings. What an awesome journey you are all on!

    Take care,
    Joni Grace McNutt

  3. Bette seaman

    Ryan, this is the best kind of helping. Please do whatever you think is best and give anything to whoever needs it. We need more young people like you! Cousin Bette

  4. We just made a donation & i would like a couple of alpaca hats. Use the rest as you see fit. Daisy says hi! She’s doing great ; she OWNS the goat yard.

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