Arendal's melting pot
The International market days in Arendal
Arendal, 6 July 2002 - Arendal opened up it's picturesque city centre to exotic world cultures at the yearly-returning international market Saturday 6 July. The market features more than 50 stands and events with art, food, clothes, music and a number of international organisations represented locally like Amnesty International and Change Maker. GRID-Arendal was represented for the first time with a booth and six employees explaining about UNEP and GRID-Arendal to local people.
In the first warm and sunny day for a few weeks a stark wind kicked the GRID booth off with a move to a different place than what had been promised. "This is my stand. You will have to move", a lady with two sleepy teenage kids loaded with Iranian dolmars and feta's told the GRID team at 10.30 am. By then the UNEP flag was peacefully decorating the back wall, the collection of seven large posters, a computer, five large books, flyers, tables and chairs were all set up and GRID staff were happily chatting to the first curious pass-buyers. The insisting lady was moved and GRID instead enjoyed the smell of barbequed chicken hot-sticks from two Thai stands for eight hours.
"Can you help me with my sustainable housing project in Poland? It's my own house, I'm just wondering if you have some good ideas?", one man asked. "Could you teach us local teachers how to teach kids about the environment?", a local science teacher wanted to know. A number of people wanted to study at the UN University, which will start up in the near future and will be managed by GRID-Arendal. "Where do I sign up to GRID?," a 20ish year old guy eagerly asked while an American man wanted to know why the US seems so unpopular in world environmental politics. Many asked: "What is GRID-Arendal?" A few kids wanted to take away polar posters with pictures of whales and polar bears. The GRID team also gave out more than 200 business cards with the web-address' of EarthWire and MiljøNytt as well and explained how to make environmental maps and graphics.