AB 201 bazaar supports Agadez community

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Rose Gudex
  • 406th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

Local Agadez artisans earned a collective 7.5 million West African Francs (about $13,000) during a general bazaar at Air Base 201, hosted by the 409th Air Expeditionary Group on March 2.

As the first bazaar of the year, the event hosted 45 vendors from the community, nearly twice as many who participated in the previous held in December 2023, and drew 150 Americans from the base to support the local economy while deepening cultural understanding.

“The bazaars help AB 201 maintain a positive relationship with the community of Agadez, allowing us to support the economic stability of the vendors,” said U.S. Army Capt. Lindsey Martinez, 437th Civil Affairs Battalion Alpha Company team leader.

Vendors for this specific event were primarily from a local cooperative of artists, Martinez said. Their merchandise ranged from hand-carved figurines to traditional clothing, unique jewelry and more.

Ismael, a vendor whose family owns a jewelry store in Agadez and has participated in bazaars at the base before, said the money made during the event will allow him to care for family and send children to school. One piece he sold will allow his brother to pay for high school.

“The bazaar is very [helpful]. It helps a lot [of] local people in Agadez,” Ismael said. “Everyone is happy for this bazaar.”

Fatima, another vendor from Agadez, shared Ismael’s sentiment, expressing her appreciation for the opportunity to support her family as well as practice English with Americans.

“I am an English teacher, and I like to improve this language for my students,” Fatima said. “These are very good opportunities...American people do, for all the people. This kind of bazaar helps us.”

Both Fatima and Ismael said the funds not only help family businesses, but also are especially beneficial as Ramadan, the Islamic observance month intended for spiritual growth, draws near.

“With this money, we can buy everything we want to have a good fasting,” Fatima said.

Martinez said the interactions between service members and Agadez vendors despite occasional language barriers are her favorite part of hosting the events because everyone is kind and the vendors are appreciative of the purchases.

“It’s cool to see how people are able to communicate without a common language,” Martinez said.

Coordination for the next general bazaar is underway, with the event expected to be held in the summer of 2024.