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VIDEO: Santa Fe’s Good Folk(s)

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Me learning how to make drums "talk" with Nigerian artists Gasali and Akeem.

Imagine meeting a person who told you they made $17,000 in just one weekend. “Nice gig!” I’m sure you’d say, as you wonder what lucky soul nabbed such a cush job.

That would be the dread-locked man from Vanuatu, who sells his sculptures to feed his family back home and the artisan from Sudan, who uses what she makes to bring running water to her village.

There are no silver spoons at the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market.

Half of the artists come from places where the average income is less than $5 a day. That means that if a person worked every day of the year without taking a day off, they’d still only pull in about $1,800 — about a tenth of what they make in just three days at the festival.

After one long weekend, more than 150 artists from 57 countries leave with money that will…enrich isn’t a strong enough word — transform the communities where they live the other 362 days of the year.

An embroiderer from Pakistan was so grateful to the festival that gave her this platform for selling her wares that she succeeded in having a library back home named after it.

I was lucky enough to spend an afternoon with a few fine folks from the festival as they get ready for the big weekend next month (July 13-15), including festival founder and executive director Charlene Cerny and Nigerian artists Gasali Adeyemo and Akeem Ayanniyi.

It should be said that this tiny write-up (along with the video below) barely scratches the surface of the magic that goes on in Santa Fe each summer.

[Which is a polite way of saying you should really go see it for yourself.]

Follow the Good Traveler’s adventures on Twitter @GoodTraveler and on Instagram @GoodTraveler.


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