Clemi Bushiri, Bezabeh Mendelsohn (sporting a new jacket), and Nana Batumike, proprietor of NanuSka Style.
New Mainer entrepreneurs presented their wares at a well-attended Multicultural Fair hosted by the Welcome, New Mainers outreach program of the Episcopal Church of Saint Mary’s in Falmouth on November 24. The event featured lunch food, sweets, and coffee as well as artisanal products made by immigrants from Bolivia, Ethiopia, Mexico, Rwanda, Columbia, Syria, Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, and more.
Anne LaFond, member of the Outreach committee and organizer of the fair, described the genesis of the Multicultural Fair: “About two years ago, as a church, we felt it was important to reach out to our “new neighbors” (the immigrant community) to learn more about them and discuss ways through which we at S. Mary’s might help them transition into their new life. We started by hosting several events that would help our parish, town and surrounding communities understand their challenges, their needs, their hopes, and how we could help. After several informational forums with leaders from the immigrant community and a concert with Pihcintu, we decided a Multicultural Fair would not only be a great way to bring people together, but also a way to help entrepreneurial New Mainers build their businesses.”
Women United Around the World
The first Multicultural Fair took place in November 2018; the second was in May 2019, and this was the third.
Ebenezer Akakpo of Akakpo Designs and friend.
“We have a beautiful auditorium, with plenty of tables, so it is easy for us to make this happen. Many attendees are just blown away by the talent and skills of the artisans and the amazing foods they have tried,” said Ms. LaFond. The tables are free to vendors and each vendor keeps all profits from sales.
St. Mary’s plans to have at least three Welcome, New Mainer events each year – one or two Multicultural Fairs, a concert by the Pihcintu Multicultural Chorus, and two smaller events, such as a New Mainer cooking class in which immigrant women from the In Her Presence Program will cook, explain, and serve an ethnic dish from their countries in the parish kitchen. St. Mary’s also hosts a regular Thursday night gathering called ‘Common Ground, ‘ which includes speakers and a potluck dinner.
In Her Presence
As fairgoers left St. Mary’s on November 24 they shared comments such as, ‘It was the most wonderful experience to have the opportunity to talk, meet, learn, and share worlds and cultures so different from ours,’ and ‘When is the next fair?’
Photos by Laura deDoes