Language Instruction, Vegetable Starts, and Other Successful Barter Agreements

An exchange of language instruction for clerical training and vegetable starts for fresh vegetables were among the barter agreements readers shared in this installment of a regular feature.

| May/June 1981

Bill Wodraska shared some of his thoughts regarding one of mankind's better ideas—barter—and offered up an interesting suggestion: "I'd like to see a continuing feature on barter agreements and skill-and-labor exchanges," said Bill. "You're on!" MOTHER EARTH NEWS replied.  

Language Instruction for Clerical Training

My wife and I live in Kathmandu, Nepal. Although our home is a bit removed from MOTHER EARTH NEWS' base in the rolling green hills of western North Carolina, we've discovered that the tradition of trading is alive and well even here in the Himalayas. During our three-year stay we've been involved in a variety of swaps, but the following story describes my favorite deal.  

As our plans to return to the States within the next year were materializing, my wife—who is a Nepalese citizen—became concerned that she had no salable skill to use in her home-to-be. So when a secretary at my office mentioned that she wanted to learn Nepali, I didn't wait a minute before suggesting my wife as a language instructor and proposed that—in exchange for the lessons—the typist could teach my lady some clerical skills.

Now—a few short months later—my wife is happily (and swiftly) clattering away on the typewriter with dreams of setting up a home typing business!

Kathmandu, Nepal

Vegetable Starts for Fresh Vegetables

When I built an add-on greenhouse in the fall of 1979 (to help heat my dwelling and to accommodate the houseplants that were beginning to take over all of the free corners and countertops in my home), I had no idea that I was providing the basis for some serious swapping!

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