DOWN & UP

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Courtesy of SPFTC

Just as I was feeling a little down
Weighed down
By that cough that chooses to linger
By cold shoulders shown to Fair Trade
By red figures on rainy market days
By shipments that came in wayward ways
What should have come by boat had flown in
And what should have flown in arrived late
By bulk customers’ orders that have gone astray
By products which I have ordered too many
By eternal groans from my partner: he is tired
By caring hearts which question: what pains what gains

Just as I …
And your uplifting email arrived

Thank you dear SPFTC

Maybe my role lies not in selling the few packets
Maybe my role lies in seeing that your cries are heard

THEIR DRYER HAS BEEN RESTORED

HIP
HIP
HURRAY

HURRAY HURRAY HURRAH
THE DRYER IST WIEDER DA

Congratulations

SPFTC

We are proud of you!

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Who Knows

At long last, a 45KVA Generator!
For 10,500 US dollars!
And only 6,000 running hours!
Almost too good to be true!

But alas! While waiting,
Waiting for the plinth to be firm,
The Gen Set has already changed hands.
Have now to hunt for a new Gen Set …

Will a better one be waiting?
Waiting somewhere in Manila?
Better than the one in Cebu?
Who knows? Who knows? Who knows?

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World Fair Trade Day in Manila
(Courtesy of SPFTC)

Build a Plinth — From BJ with Love

Please build a concrete plinth
For your new second-hand generator,
A plinth to be made of strong concrete:
Cement and sand and small stones,
Preferably reinforced with welded wire.

Height of concrete plinth not less than …
Surface slightly bigger than …
Two U-Beams to be set …
Beams to be fixed with anchor bolts.
GenSet to be placed on U-beams.

To fasten, use bolts and nuts of STAINLESS STEEL.
Earth GenSet AND U-beams with thick enough cables.
Remember to UPGRADE connecting cable.
Secure bolts by welding to guard GenSet from theft.

DON’T SAVE MONEY ON GOOD ENGINE OIL!
USE WHAT THE SERVICE MANUAL RECOMMENDS!
CHANGE ENGINE OIL FREQUENTLY!
AND LIFE OF YOUR ENGINE WILL BE PROLONGED.

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I believe …

I believe she has given
All that she could possibly give

It’s more than a cheque
It’s an out-reaching hand

From SP with Love
An out-reaching heart

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Seeing the Sky

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You, and you, and you, may say:
When old machines no longer run,
A well-run business should have reserves
For repairs or new purchase …

But, I know what it means,
When every day is a struggle for survival,
When you aren’t sure, how to pull yourself through
And the thousands who hang on you …

You, and you, and you, may say
There’s one grim rule of reality:
They should be left to fold up their business,
If they have no more means to stay.

But, I know how it feels,
To be in deep waters, drowning,
Then touching, a
hand willing …
And seeing the sky again.

RAIN & RAINBOWS NEAR & REAL

Rain and rainbows I’ve come across,
But never as near, never as real:

For some reason I lay restless last night,
Not knowing across the miles G. was weeping.

Their main dryer had long broken down;
For months production had dwindled.

700 a day instead of 2000 kilos.
And bulk orders had now been cancelled.

Our means have always been limited.
Though our sense of solidarity knows no bound.

So I sat numb before my laptop screen,
As their list of needs scrolled down and down.

Some 1.6 million Filipino Pesos,
A good 270,000 HK or 35,000 US Dollars.

Where, oh where on earth, to get the money?
For the dynamo and generator and dryer chamber … ?

I have some mileage left over.
I could send Billy John over.

BJ is our good old neighbour,
A kindly engineer and Dried Mango lover.

I could fly him over
To see and check and look …

But now we know: machines are needed,
On top of technical support!

We could source them over here, JB said,
In second-hand market a lot cheaper.

We could appeal to fund-raisers, I said,
A ‘Save Fair Trader Campaign’?

But mangoes can’t wait to be harvested!
And dried fruit production has to go on!

First aid relief has to be found!
But where, but where, but where?

I woke up to further discussions.
Stephen came up with a bold idea.

‘Reach out to willing hands,’ he urged.
I picked up the phone and all my courage.

And believe it or believe it not:
100,000 HKD was my reward!

I rang up G.
She had been in tears she told me.

I told her about the anonymous donor.
She laughed and cried and laughed.

‘Are you in rainbow tears?’ I asked.
Across the miles I could see a rainbow

A rainbow over their mango trees,
Over their production site and office.

And over here a rainbow as well,
In Sweetheart Stephen’s moist eyes.

Tomorrow, or day after,
We’ll find the rest …

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Courtesy of SPFTC