Amy Vogelsang Photo
A fashion show took place while people rummaged through an ecclectic mix of merchandise from India, Africa and Nepal at the World Market Saturday.
Record Staff Writer
As “Jai Ho” — a Hindi song made popular by the film “Slumdog Millionaire” — began to play, the shoppers and onlookers clapped along to the catchy tune.
The music helped set the scene: people were transported to a variety of different countries.
Bright colors, platters of unfamiliar food and unique, vibrant clothes filled The Liberty on Saturday night at Roswell’s first World Market.
Multiple organizations (all various empowerment programs) were represented, each one holding not just one-of-a-kind merchandise. Every item for sale was hand-made by women in places like Kenya, Uganda, Nepal and India, and the purchase of the items went toward helping these women live a better life.
Living in lower-caste systems or impoverished places, many women are forced into brothels at a young age and have no other options for making a living. Programs like the ones at the World Market give women the opportunity to earn an honest living that isn’t degrading.
“You are giving them a voice and saying they have dignity and worth,” event coordinator Laura Roebuck announced. She was overwhelmed by the amount of volunteers who came out to support the cause.
“People here are so generous with their time and resources,” she exclaimed gratefully.
And the turnout was truly amazing. Starting at 4 p.m. the Market went on for 5 hours, and, after the first 2, more than 330 people had already walked through the doors.
Many others were also shocked yet pleased with the turnout.
“There is a lot of excitement and a lot of buying,” said shopper Sandy Sussman, who was visiting from Austin, Texas. “Like any good market … you have to get here early or you’re going to miss out.”
Her future daughter-in-law, Josephine Lue, was also impressed, not just with the number of people, but with the entire venue and atmosphere.
“It really seems like a bazaar,” she said. “It’s actually a world market.” You could almost see her imagining an outdoor market along the streets in India as she took in the scene.
The mass of people milling around made goods on tables quickly disappear. Volunteer Tracy Pruitt, with her daughter Delanie Pruitt, manned a table of goods from Africa, and they watched in excitement as merchandise flew from the tables.
“It warms your heart to know these ladies have someone to back them and support them,” Pruitt said. “Seeing all these people come out and support … this is awesome.”
Amidst the booths and people weaved more volunteers carrying platters of various types of foods to represent different parts of the world. Whether it was hummus on crackers, key lime pie on chocolate wafers or a chopped olive-anchovies-capers mix on bread, everything was exotic and delicious.
Of course, there was also a selection of wine to wash down the flavors. Or for those looking for something a little warmer, a vat of chai tea sat next to a bowl of sweet, assorted nuts.
With all the obstacles — food, people, drinks — it could have been a challenge to really know what merchandise was for sale. To help with this dilemma, some volunteers performed in a fashion show.
Emceed by Jodi Ashcroft, the fashion show spotlighted everything from necklaces and clutches to dresses and pajama pants. Ashcroft also highlighted what organization and which country from which each item came.
The girls in the show — some from Goddard High School, a couple in middle school and a couple of adults — each had a favorite piece that they got to show.
A yellow “Gold Bird” clutch from India was Gateway Christian eighth-grader Victoria Rodriguez’s favorite, while GHS junior Kensey Plummer preferred the watches from Africa.
“I would actually wear that,” she exclaimed about the watch. And many of the clothes and accessories were things women were not only excited about, but in some cases, already wearing.
“I love that our community can be a part of their community just by being here,” Ashcroft announced. And with so much participation the first year, many are hoping for another World Market to come to Roswell in the near future.