Busie and Vusi arrive at Glasgow Airport
Busie and Vusi, our visitors from Eswatini Kitchen in Swaziland arrived on Sunday and went straight to St Mary’s Episcopalian Cathedral in Glasgow where they visited the Fair Trade stall and saw some of their products on sale. They spoke with many members of the congregation at the end of the service who were excited to meet with producers and who committed to buying even more Eswatini products in future.
On Monday, they went down to Ayrshire College, Kilmarnock campus, and met with students and staff. They took part in a question and answer session on Fair Trade with students. The East Ayrshire Fair Trade steering group and Willie Coffey MSP also joined them on the visit. The college of was greatly encouraged by the visit and motivated to do more to achieve Fair Trade status for the college.
Later on Monday, they were guests of Cllr Mary Montague when they visited East Renfrewshire Council.
On Tuesday they met with the board of the Scottish Fair Trade Forum in Edinburgh and later met with a group of Fair Trade supporters in Port Glasgow. The group were mainly church people with representatives there from the Salvation Army, the Church of Scotland and the Roman Catholic Church. After meeting with Vusi and Busie, they agreed to meet again to discuss how they could jointly support Eswatini by selling their products in their churches.
Later on Tuesday, they were the guests of honour at the 2015 Scottish Fair Trade Awards in Glasgow where they presented the awards and spoke about their work - you can read more about the Scottish Fair Trade Awards here.
On Wednesday they met with a large number of people in Balerno including children from Balerno Primary School and their teacher. Many people in the church were concerned to discover that Eswatini are having problems importing honey into the EU and agreed to contact MPs and MSPs to seek support in overcoming the problems.
Later they visited the One World Shop in Edinburgh and met Rachel Farey and the staff and volunteers there. One shopper, who was disappointed to find her choice of chutney had sold out, was delighted by the offer of Vusi to courier it to her from Swaziland.
Finally, they spoke to the Cross Party Group on Fair Trade in the Scottish Parliament which was chaired by Patricia Ferguson MSP. The Group discussed many aspects of their business and, in particular, how to overcome an issue with importing their honey while meeting the requirements of the EU. It was agreed to contact both DFID and DEFRA to see if they could assist. There was also a commitment from the Scotmid representative at the meeting to consider stocking some Eswatini products.
In the final part of the week, along with Just Trading Scotland, they visited Rainbow Turtle in Paisley, Green City Wholefoods in Dennistoun and the Oxfam Shop in Byres Road, Glasgow. On Friday they are going to Manchester to meet with Unicorn, a worker co-op which is major customers of Eswatini and they went to Dumfries to meet with Fair Trade supporters there.