Saturday, October 2, 2010

Strawberry Wars

There has been a lot of drama and grief over strawberries these past couple of weeks. Three days a week there is fresh produce market from 6:00 to 8:00 am. This is the only place to get any fresh food unless we grow it ourselves or buy it from friends. As a result, pretty much everyone here rolls out of bed at least one morning a week and makes the trek to market.

Most of the food at the market will be eaten in the village if it isn't sold to expats with one exception...strawberries. Strawberries are grown for expats alone - the only cash crop sold on center.

Women are basically in charge of preparing and selling the produce with one exception - men sell strawberries. In the past some men were sneaky, putting the big, beautiful strawberries on top and the small, bruised berries on the bottom. Several expats stopped buying them at market and started purchasing from their national friends or the people that worked in their yard or home. If the berries aren't bought they generally won't be eaten by nationals and all the labor goes to waste. Sometimes national ladies buy them at the end of market time at a greatly reduced rate and then go sell them to their personal friends. Thus the beginning of the strawberry wars which have led to...

heated words
guards called one at least one occasion
Sam - the community mediator between nationals and expats has received personal abuse
Apa, strawberry grower and our friend, has received personal threats
Koto - banned from center for three months for trying to intimidate people into buying his strawberries

Who would have thought that a small, sweet fruit, the symbol of happy summers in the US, could have caused such conflict!

Posted via email from boundforpng's posterous

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