We go to the movies. We watch the news. We read books. We read magazines. We watch youtube videos. We follow people on twitter and instagram. We watch reality TV. We do it all because we love stories. We love connecting to the stories of others, especially when they’re really good ones.
This blog is about a story. The story is about a family– our family– the Jaegers. We’ve been on a journey. In big and small ways, the journey began long ago with the shaping of our characters and the discovery of faith and the travel we embarked on to different parts of the globe. But specifically this part of the story started in a village in Kenya called Kithituni with a group of women whose families had been ravaged by AIDs. When we met them they had found hope and income through the rolling of paper beads which they made into jewelry.
We loved the story of these women, and their workmanship, and so we bought a whole bunch of jewelry to bring back home to sell to our friends. As we shared their stories with our friends and raised some money to send back to the women we realized that this is what we wanted to do. We wanted to invest our time in connecting people in developing nations with outlets to sell their goods, and in turn connect the stories of people purchasing items with the stories of those who produced them. We wanted to create an intersection at which their stories could meet. We wanted to change the way people thought about what they purchase, and cause them to investigate the origins of their products, and the conditions in which the producers of their products work.
So we started a business. We called it The Intersection: Fair Trade. Our tagline is “At the corner of their story and yours.” Since we began, we’ve been introduced to many many more stories. We’ve found out that everyone knows someone somewhere who could use a platform for their story and their goods, and that there’s a yearning in peoples’ hearts to connect to something greater and know that they are doing good. And so we continue on with our journey, though the going is sometimes tough and we’re not always sure where to go next.
What we do know is that everyone has a story, and every purchase has an impact. We may not see it, but there is a ripple from any purchase made anywhere that affects real people in real places. We want to know that that impact is positive. We want ethical alternatives for every product on the market. Perhaps it is a lofty goal, but perhaps it is a worthy goal.
What we’ve also found is that the stories of fair trade/direct trade/ethical trade are stories of hope, of restored dignity, of rescued futures. We’ve encountered cooperatives made up of women who were trafficked for sex slavery and were rescued and given employment. We’ve encountered stories of communities getting water and access to health care through premiums paid back into their communities from the sale of their goods. We’ve heard of children getting a chance at education because there was finally enough income in their family so that they didn’t have to work. These are the stories we want to share. These are the stories we want to intersect with. This is the impact your purchases and ours can have.