An initiative that was created to empower and gather local entrepreneurs drew many to the Carolinian Utt in Garapan last Saturday, with the organizers of Project Liffang already lining up other events in the future.
Project Liffang, whose launch was made possible by the United Carolinians Association, Carolinian Affairs Office, and the CNMI Women’s Association, welcomed the community to browse 13 stalls that sold food, arts & crafts, plants, clothing, and more at the Carolinian Utt from 8am to 2pm. “Liffang” is a Carolinian word that closely translates to “gift” or “offering.”
UCA president Frank Rabauliman was happy to see the project become a reality, as the event had already been postponed twice. In a March 18 press release, UCA announced that it had to postpone its March 20 launch date due to a recent detection of COVID-19 community spread at the time, and the project launch was cancelled a second time due to the intended date conflicting with other community events.
“We started getting worried, because the vendors were starting to get deflated and wondered whether this thing was ever going to go off, but we finally got to today,” said Rabauliman.
UCA expected at least 10 vendors to participate, but actually saw 13 last Saturday, with two vendors going home early as they sold all the products they had to offer.
Last Saturday’s launch was just one of many opportunities to provide a platform to local entrepreneurs, and Rabauliman said he was going to gather a group to discuss what improvements could be made for the future. Rabauliman also shared that there have been talks regarding how regularly events like last Saturday’s should take place, but those decisions ultimately go back to the vendors.
“Every Saturday is something that the vendors would like. [I’ve been] hearing once a month, twice a month, but really [the vendors] are the driving force behind it,” said Rabauliman.
Benita Seman, who sold keychains, bracelets, and other products that featured intricate beadwork last Saturday, said it was exciting to be a part of Project Liffang’s launch. “[This was] exciting, and this is my first time to come out in public to sell the stuff that I make,” said Seman.
Norman Rasiang and Aofia Tuiolosega sold earrings, bags, bracelets, and other trinkets. The two were happy to be selling their products last Saturday, as many of the events they would have normally gone to are still unable to happen due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I’m glad we’re out again with the public to showcase our stuff. …It’s a good event that [UCA] opened up here, and we’re hoping they’re going to do another one,” said Rasiang.