Shepherd of the Bay Prepares Final Third World Marketplace of Season

Shepherd of the Bay Lutheran Church will open its doors for the final Third World Marketplace of the season Oct. 10 and Oct. 17, encouraging locals and visitors alike to show their support for artisans of impoverished areas from around the world.

Third World Marketplace has been a mainstay at Shepherd of the Bay for a number of years and was inspired by the beautiful crafts and tapestries church members saw during visits to help Central American citizens during tumultuous political times.

These items made their way back to the hands of people in Door County and the desire to sell artisan-made items from impoverished nations gained traction.

third world marketplace

Decorations at Third World Marketplace. Photos by Alyssa Skiba.

Today the church works with three nonprofit organizations that connect it with artisans and farmers of impoverished nations: Serrv, Word Made Flesh and MayaWorks. Each of these connections was made through personal relationships established by members of the congregation, like Cindy Schaulis with MayaWorks. Schaulis has been involved in organizing the church’s marketplace for nearly two decades.

“In the ‘90s, I made a trip to Guatemala with my husband and we went to visit a medical clinic there. Women from that area who had survived the political upheaval had started weaving, so visitors who would go to the clinic fell in love with the weavings,” Schaulis said. “So this group of women decided to form a cooperative and then some of the American visitors said, ‘We’ll form a stateside group as well,’ and eventually that was called MayaWorks.

“It’s just an amazing discovery when you go to a community like that and you come from a community of such beauty,” she continued. “Guatemala is beautiful but it’s also very poor where people don’t have the luxury of toilets, running water and yet they too like beauty and they make beautiful things. They have small farms and happy families and they work very hard, and you want to help. You want to be a part. I came back with my suitcase packed – the first thing I bought were huipiles [a traditional garment worn by indigenous women of Mexico and Central America].”

Carved spoons.

Carved spoons.

Third World Marketplace sells functional and decorative items, from wind chimes to carved wooden spoons, jewelry to lunch bags, games and baskets. It also sells fair trade coffees, chocolates and teas from Equal Exchange, a for-profit fair trade worker-owned cooperative based in Massachusetts.

All profits from the marketplace directly benefit the artisans and nonprofit organizations involved.

“We sell the items and then the proceeds go to the artisans in the countries and to their communities and to their families,” Schaulis said. “Some of it also goes to the organizations so they can send people to help the craftspeople design projects that they know people will buy.”

Third World Marketplace has also been a direct way for tourists and residents to offer their support to impoverished nations after natural disasters, as has been the case with the 2010 Haiti earthquake and the earthquake in Nepal earlier this year.

Wicker birdhouse.

Wicker birdhouse.

For Schaulis, that marks the true purpose of Third World Marketplace: to make people aware of the struggles faced by citizens of the Third World, and to help them achieve economic independence.

“We need to remember that the world is a much larger place than Door County even though we just love Door County and we love its quietness and its smallness; the world is so much larger and much of it is not as lucky as we are.”

Third World Marketplace will be set up Oct. 10 and Oct. 17 from 10am – 2pm at Shepherd of the Bay Lutheran Church, 11836 Highway 42 in Ellison Bay. It will also be open by appointment during that week. For more information, call 920.854.2988.


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