Make Schools, Not War

imagesThis morning’s paper had a compelling editorial by Nicholas Kristof, co-author of the current occupant of my bedside table, Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide. Kristof (an Oregon native although now he lives in New York) suggests building schools in Afghanistan would more likely lead to peace and a strong Afghan society than sending in 40,000 additional US troops. How’s that Mr. Kristof?

Actually I believe the guy because I’ve got his book fresh on my brain. In both his column and in Half the Sky Mr. Kristof lays out very plainly and factually how investment in education of girls directly leads to economic development, improved health for women and children, and peace. Nations that invest in girls’ education have less terrorist activity (Kristof cites Bangladesh as an example). The converse is nations that are most repressive of women (Pakistan, Afghanistan, Congo) have much more terrorist activity as well as much higher infant/ maternal mortality rates and great struggles with economic underdevelopment.

Compared to guns and troops, schools are super cheap to build and run. There are fantastic NGOs out there that know how to build them and run them well (CARE, Greg Mortenson’s Central Asia Institute, to name a few).  What are the chances the US government, including my beloved President Obama, would turn to cheap-o schools over the economic powerhouse of war though? If you ask me, slim to none. Sure we’ll keep throwing token USAID funding at building schools while at the same time squandering our precious tax dollars on the machine of war. It so angers me that we can’t agree as a nation on funding a public healthcare option but we can go out and put our troops in harms way and kill countless innocent Afghan civilians, all in the name of peace and nation-building. It just doesn’t work. Never has, never will.

Find Bambootique In Even More Stores


Bambootique’s wholesale program just keeps growing! I’m delighted that the following shops are now carrying my fair trade products. If one is in your area be sure to stop in to get your Bambootique fix.

Lucias Imports
523 East High St.
Lexington, KY 40502
(859) 389-9337

One World Shop
19321 Detroit Rd.
Rocky River, OH 44116
(440) 333-770

Mercy Corps Action Center
28 SW 1st St.
Portland, OR 97204

174th and Vashon Hwy.
Vashon Island, WA 98070
(206) 463-1372

1205 Western Avenue
Seattle, WA 98101
(206) 364-0748

Ella Mon
5404 22nd Ave NW
Seattle, WA  98107
(206) 297-2800

Tenfold Fair Trade
181A Potomac Street.
Harpers Ferry, WV 24524

Thanks to all our wholesale partners!  For a full list of stores carrying Bambootique products click here

Holiday Trunk Show Three Weeks Away – And You’re Invited!


What: Bambootique’s 4th Annual Fair Trade Holiday Trunk Show

Two full days of fabulous fair trade shopping!

When: Saturday November 14th 10am-4pm
Sunday November 15th 1-5pm

Where: 17552 SW Shasta Trail, Tualatin, Oregon (Bambootique owner Beth Sethi’s home), 503-781-3244
View map

Who: You and all your closest friends, family and neighbors. Bring your girlfriends along to introduce them to everything you love about fair trade!

Messenger BagWhat: Two days of holiday shopping that makes a world of difference! This year’s trunk show features products from India, Afghanistan, Bolivia, Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia, Nepal, Guatemala, Honduras, Togo, South Africa and more! Bambootique’s fair trade selection includes handbags, candles, scarves, skincare products, jewelry and handmade paper products, all made by women artisans in the developing world.  We’ll also have a fabulous selection of Christmas ornaments and nativities from Haiti, Afghanistan, Thailand and Peru.

Stuffed LlamasWe’ll have a fun play area to keep little ones busy while moms shop.

Other features of the show include fair trade freebies such as take-home samples of Strictly Organic Coffee, Kalahari tea and copies of The Conscious Consumer for every attendee. Plus don’t miss our incredible Clearance section, homemade chocolate chip cookies, fresh fair trade coffees and teas, and great music!

Haiti Foundation of HopeThis year Bambootique is thrilled to partner with Haiti Foundation of Hope to support their community health program in Terre Blanche, Haiti. 10% of all sales from the trunk show will be donated to HFH. There will also be a selection of Haitian arts and crafts of which 100% of sales will support HFH’s excellent work.

This event is open to the public so please come and bring your friends!



Party In My Laundry Room

img_2273My summer of line-drying has sadly come to a close, as the dreary Portland rain can attest. My switch back to drying the modern (and energy-sucking) way means I’m trying some new ways to dry green.

Allow me to explain the cryptic photo above. Those two green pointy balls are something I discovered at my local discount grocer. They are dryer balls, a green alternative to dryer sheets. Having been disappointed with every brand of “green” dryer sheets (including Seventh Generation, which are like trying to soften your clothes with a thin piece of cardboard) I thought I’d give these babies a try. They work great! You throw them in the wash of wet clothes and they bounce around loudly amongst the clothes, softening them up and removing static without chemicals. We did find they caused some dings on the inside of the dryer so we now use them inside a pair of old socks, which seems to fluff the clothes just as well. If you like scented clothes (I don’t) these green balls won’t help you out but you can always throw in a bag of dried lavender if you must have scent on your freshly washed clothes.

The other item in the picture is exactly what it looks like – dryer lint!  Instead of throwing it in the trash I am saving every last little scrap until I have 3 full cups. Then I’m going to try this crazy recipe from Real Simple to make modeling dough out of your dryer lint. It sounds kind of gross to me (what about those long hairs that get caught up in the lint?) but I think my 2-year old will think it’s cool. With this dreary fall weather we are on the lookout for new indoor activities. I guess we’re that desperate already.

What about you? What are you doing to keep your cold weather laundry green?

Bambootique Part of Mercy Corps’ New Action Center


Bambootique is thrilled to be participating in Mercy Corps‘ brand-new Action Center, scheduled to hold its grand opening this weekend, October 9 and 10. The Action Center gives visitors a peek into Mercy Corps’ worldwide relief and development work through hands-on interactive displays. It gives us all a chance we may not otherwise have to see how we can all participate in fighting global poverty. Part of the Action Center is a retail space selling fair trade and other ethically traded goods. That’s where you’ll find Bambootique!

After opening this weekend the Action Center will be open Tuesdays through Saturdays. Visit the Action Center’s website for more details.  And be sure to check out all the fair trade goodies available while you’re there!

Happy Fair Trade Month!

fair_trade_logoOctober is officially Fair Trade Month, as declared by people who get to make such declarations.  Actually the people with such power are all at Transfair USA, the fabulous organization behind certifying all kinds of fair-trade goodies from coffee to rice to tea and bananas. Throughout this month Transfair is promoting “31 Days, 31 Ways,” highlighting a different way to support fair trade each day of the month. Here are a few ways you can get involved with Fair Trade Month!

  1. Follow along with Transfair’s “31 Days, 31 Ways” campaign on Facebook, Twitter or the Fair Trade Month website.
  2. Try a fair trade product you haven’t tried before. If you’re already using the basics (chocolate, coffee, etc) why not pick up some fair trade rice or get a fair trade soccer ball to kick around this fall?
  3. Sign up for Reverse Trick-or-Treating. You get free fair-trade chocolates and literature for your kids to hand out as they go door -to-door this Halloween. It’s a great way to promote fair trade in your community and what neighbor won’t be thrilled to get some free chocolate in return? The deadline to request your kit is TODAY so don’t dawdle.
  4. If you miss the Reverse Trick-or-Treat deadline you can still promote fair trade this Halloween by handing out fair trade chocolate treats to kids who come to your door. Natural food stores like Whole Foods have a few options for fair trade Halloween treats.
  5. Of course I have to put in a plug for Bambootique too.  My Holiday Fair Trade Trunk Show falls just a few weeks after Fair Trade Month ends, November 14 and 15th. If you’re so lucky as to live in the Portland area be sure to mark these dates on your calendar. Invites will be out soon. If you’re out of the area don’t fret, just watch your inbox for some great coupons for online holiday shopping coming up in a few weeks (and if you’re not on the Bambootique email list sign up here).

Anyone have any other plans/ ideas for Fair Trade Month? Do share here. Feel free to post events, sales, ideas, etc.