A few weeks ago my friend Angela, who is a professor at the local university, was approached to become the foreign contact person between the Guanren local community and the foreigners who live here. First of all the Guanren community is a small area in Xiamen, that is known to be a more wealthy neighbourhood in the city, where lots of foreigners live and hang out. A string of events have started to connect these two groups of locals and foreigners living in the same area and to set up charities that could benefit the local community… like cooking workshops, language classes, sports events etc.
I think this project is really cool and interesting to have foreigners and locals working together and set up events like charity or other projects to make their backyard area a better place to be. It’s a new concept for Chinese people but one that is welcomed with open arms by a younger local crowd and that is greet with curiosity by the original Guanren grannies.
Last weekend we kicked off with a charity market where all sorts of things were sold; cold brewed coffee, Izzy’s handmade biscuits, secondhand clothes, fresh lemonade, sports gear and all sorts of things. Since it was the first time that this was organized there was lots to learn from and obviously nobody had a real idea what the turnout would be and the reaction of most people.
So when 4pm came around and the start of the market, we were all really pleasantly surprised that there were actually quite a few people hanging around and looking interested in what they can buy and also what ‘exotic’ delicacies the foreigners had to offer. Izzy’s biscuits were gone in no time and Robert’s cold brewed coffee was a huge hit by both the locals and the foreigners… honestly it was really good! definitely worth getting… very smooth, refreshing and not bitter at all. Instead of brewing the coffee with hot water, it’s brewed with cold water over a very long time, which gives a much more delicate flavor.
I made fresh lemonade and sold some of my clothes. The clothes were not a big hit at all, except with my friends who ended up buying them haha. But Chinese don’t want to buy second hand clothes… Reflecting on it now it does kind of make sens; First of all you can buy clothes here so cheap (bear in mind; It wasn’t the fashion crowd at the market but more locals with who I don’t really share the same style), plus as I mentioned in earlier posts, Chinese became really wealthy in a very short period of time so not to have to buy second hand clothes and be able to buy new stuff is also some sort of status symbol.
But I was very happy to see that the lemonade was a big hit… It sold out in no time! Probably this is mainly thanks to the hot hot hot hot and humid weather! So the fresh lemonade blended with ice was very refreshing, plus also new for Chinese is to see and taste fresh lemonade sold at the market… So I made it with freshly squeezed lemons, water, sugarwater and crushed mint. It was so much fun actually to introduce them to something new… not only the lemonade but the entire market and to see their enthusiasm and all these greatful reactions from everybody.
It was a real fun afternoon and hopefully next month will be even better!
A special thanks to Ange to set this all in motion…