A little about Trader's Dock
When I travel I always return with a few crafts and tools representative of the cultures I visited.
In order to maintain authenticity, I won't purchase items targeted for tourists, or volume articles made by cooperatives. If I find items were sold to outsiders, then I make sure that at least some of them are used by locals as working tools before I buy from the lot.
Likewise, I avoid items fashioned in traditional ways that are not in use today. Old time blacksmithing and handcrafting may be important historically, but they don't represent the kind of working tools I'm interested in.
I find crafts and tools and buy them at the work site. I travel by dugout canoe and purchase paddles and spears whenever fishermen will part with them. The paddles may be well-used and often repaired with whatever was at hand such as nails and pieces of metal. I prefer this kind of utility to fine craftsmanship made in traditional ways.
I'm aware of the impact that even low-level trading will have on the local economy. I avoid buying too many of a particular item. Even buying a half-dozen spears might motivate a fisherman to abandon his trade and start manufacturing spears with the hope that I would return and buy them.
I also avoid buying family heirlooms that are offered by over-generous hosts. Also I refuse to raid small museums for crafts that should remain part of the local culture.
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