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By Enid Joaquin?Maria Paul is what one would call a master basket weaver. That is not at all surprising, considering she has been involved in the craft for almost her entire life.Weaving her craft for more than forty years, Maria can make a basket than can fit in the palm of one’s hand, to one that has to be maneuvered through the door.Displaying the basket as the perfect receptacle for exhibiting flower arrangements“I make baskets for flower girls, florists and also laundry and vendor baskets.As a matter of fact, I can make anything in the line of baskets.”Basket weaving has been in Maria’s family for more than a hundred years.Maria was of course taught the art by her mother, who was introduced to it by her mother-in-law.“I was only eight years old when my mother taught me to make baskets,Cheap NFL Jerseys, because she was doing that to supplement our family income. So by the time I was twelve, I was able to assist in bringing in some more money, which was really needed at the time, as my father had died the year before.”The family was at the time living at Lowwood , Demerara River.Living at Lowwood naturally afforded them easy access to markets in Georgetown, as their baskets were very much in demand there.Maria later moved to Linden while still in her teens,Nike Air Max Salg, where she began working as a domestic servant.However her stint as a domestic was short-lived after she became pregnant with her first child.“After I got my baby I went back to Low wood and it was back to making baskets.That was how I was able to take care of my child, as I was a single parent.At the time the business was flourishing. I would make the baskets, and take them to town to sell, where vegetable vendors would snap them up.Those baskets used to sell like hot cakes, as the plastic variety was nowhere around,” Maria said with a faraway look in her eyes.She noted that in those days, her baskets used to sell for between fifty and a hundred dollars, which was very affordable.”I later returned to Linden where I started to teach basket weaving to some early school leavers. I also made baskets, which were sold there. I was doing work for the Regional Office and they would pay me, but the money just couldn’t compensate for all the work I was doing, so I left after a year.’A born entrepreneur, Maria was soon back to being her own boss, in the world of basketry.Years later,NFL Jerseys Outlet, she met her husband, Robert Paul,China NFL Jerseys, who is a logger like her father.Putting the finishing touches to one of her creationsShe promptly introduced him to the trade, as he was at the time unemployed.“He learnt to make the baskets so well, that he was soon helping me; so we worked as a team and continued to market in Georgetown.The business at the time was very lucrative,Cheap Jerseys Free Shipping, so that when we eventually got married, the money from basket sales covered all our expenses,” she reminisced.Maria would return to Linden with her husband.That decision did not go down too well with her family, who expressed the fear that she would lose all her markets.It did not take Maria long after resettling in linden, to realize how right they were.PLASTIC IMPORTS KILLING TRADEThings were no longer the same, as plastic had taken the market by storm.“You see the importation of plastic products and all these other things from China- it killing local produce- people opting to buy the plastic, even though it is inferior to our products. So what has started to happen is that people like me, who are in the business of basket making- we’re suffering.“Sales have dropped drastically, we’re finding it very hard, as we are hardly getting orders. Right now I have a set of ‘muckra’ (a species of plant used locally for weaving) that spolit, because I didn’t use it up.You see muckra is what I use to make the baskets, so I would usually hire a truck to bring it out after cutting it. But muckra doesn’t last long. You have to use it when it is fresh, if not it loses its resilience, it would no longer bend easily- it would break. Now when that happens I lose money, because remember I had to pay the truck for transportation.”But Maria is not ready to give up on her basket weaving business, as she has the faith that there would be a turnaround in her fortunes.And whenever that turnaround comes, she is well prepared she says,Cheap Authentic Jerseys, as she can weave as many as fifty baskets per week; and like her mother she has taught her children the intricacies of this wonderful art form.Maria’s Christmas wish this year is that her fortunes would turn around.“I’m really hoping to get some orders this Christmas, and of course I’m hoping to sell o