On December 8th, the annual Diplomatic Spouses Group Addis (DSGE) Bazaar took place at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) building in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Dozens of embassies from countries around the world gathered and offered their countries’ specialties to the international and local community. The bazaar opened at 8:30 am only for people with VIP tickets until those with normal tickets were allowed entry at 9:45 am; the bazaar lasted until 4:00 pm.
As more than eighty embassies participated, there were at least ten rows of large white tents with eight booths in each. Each country sold various items, ranging from food to beauty products and to traditional products. For example, Norway sold both fresh and smoked salmon which gathered many people’s attention as seafood is difficult to access in the landlocked country. There were not only embassies but also organizations such as the Nordic Medical Centre and the United Nations sub organizations which came to raise funds. Next to the booths was a medium-sized stage where volunteers from different countries performed their traditional dances. Ethiopian performers also came and acted out a short, humorous skit for the audience. Behind the platform was a long row of booths of countries that sold traditional food cooked on the spot. Germany, for instance, sold grilled sausages, which caused a long line to form due to its appealing tastes.
By the time I had arrived, which was around 11 am, the South Korean booth had already sold all of its beauty products and traditional tea, proving how the Korean facial masks, face cleansers and ginseng tea were loved even by foreigners for their qualities and reasonable prices.
|[People looking around the row with booths of South Korea, Jordan, Italy and more.
Photo taken by Ga Yun (Lynna) Kim]
All of this tremendous work, though, would not have been possible without the effort put in by the Diplomatic community. Youngye Choi, who was part of this process as a spouse of a Korean Embassy worker, described the preparation process for the bazaar in detail.
|[The sold-out Korean booth afterwards sold reusable shopping bags which were offered at other booths as well. Photo taken by Ga Yun (Lynna) Kim]
Interview with Youngye Choi:
Q: Since when did the meetings start in order to prepare for this bazaar?
A: This year spring since we had to order products for the bazaar beforehand and make sure they arrived by time.
Q: How often did the diplomatic community meet for the bazaar?
A: We met once a month only with the Koreans since spring. Then we met with the whole diplomatic community every 2 weeks in November. Near the end of our preparation, more specifically on the 4th, 6th, and 7th, we directly went up to the location to set up booths, prepare products, decorate, and more.
Q: What was the preparation process like? Were there any difficulties that you faced while preparing?
A: The preparation process was very effective in my opinion, especially as every one of us put in a lot of work. But as the transportation fee for bringing in the masks and tea was expensive, we couldn’t order a lot so it was sad that we couldn’t prepare many. Also,
UNECA is very strict with security so we had to receive permission for cars to enter prior to coming and register entrance cards beforehand which took a lot of time.
Q: How was your experience with this bazaar overall?
A: Even though it was quiet tiring, I was happy to see that our products sold very well as it was very popular… I feel honored to be able to be part of raising funds for children who are in need. As a participant of this bazaar, I am proud that Korea could play a role in helping those children. Not only that, I thought that this bazaar was a great way to inform Ethiopians and other foreigners about Korea and our culture.
The profits of all booths were donated to orphanages and other organizations that support underprivileged people. This bazaar is very meaningful in that it not only benefits such people but also allows different nationalities to disseminate their culture to a wider audience. Furthermore, this event is also very valuable as it provides opportunities to explore different cultures in the world in one single place. I believe that such sharing of culture is important for us to better understand each other and further embrace our international community. I wish to further experience such socially significant events and definitely attend this bazaar again next year.
Ga Yun (Lynna) Kim
International Community School of Addis Ababa
Ga Yun (Lynna) Kim firstname.lastname@example.org
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