Pakus Di Pruga

Pakus di pruga is a second hand shop, or you could also say a second hand mini market including a mini bookstore, run by volunteers. All funds raised at this mini market, will go towards the Animal Shelter Bonaire. So you contribute in two ways, you provide affordable items and you financially support the animal shelter!
Last Saturday morning I stopped by and spoke with Dabney Lassiter, the initiator of Pakus di Pruga. I was a bit lucky she had time to sit down with me, as it was fairly quiet due to Carnaval. Normally she is running around and has hands and eyes short.
Dabney has been living on Bonaire for over sixteen years and has always been active in volunteering for good causes. In the past she used to go to Rincon market to sell t-shirts and books for the animal shelter, however it took a lot of time and work to go to Rincon every weekend, so they looked for an alternative. Around four years ago Larry Gerhardt donated the use of the current location of Pakus di Pruga to the Animal Shelter as a second hand shop, which is located at Kaya Simon Bolivar. The location is perfect because it is central, has enough parking space and enough storage. The second hand shop started with a few volunteers, I believe 2. At the moment they have a steady group of four volunteers: Dabney, Shirley, Paul and Gibby. Shirley, Paul and Gibby start every Saturday at 6:30 AM to set up the market. Besides this steady group there are also other volunteers for the morning or afternoon shift, they start at 8:00 AM. Unfortunately most of the time these volunteers come and go, as they are temporary visitors from abroad. Local committed volunteers seem difficult to find, so please do contact Dabney if you are interested in helping out.
Browsing around at Pakus di Pruga I observed that there are such a variety of items, and I noticed they were also selling a lot of new clothing for very cheap prices. Asking Dabney how she gets these new items, she told me that a lot of local stores and diveshops donate clothing and material. An example given was bladeless fans; a store ordered 200 items but received 2000 by accident and donated about 300 bladeless fans. So far the revenues of Pakus di Pruga have financially contributed to the funding of a new cats residence at the animal shelter (costing around 40.000$), a sterilization program and an education program for children about the birth cycle of cats and dogs. Asking Dabney if she notices an increase of people donating items and visiting the market she responded with an absolute YES. The island is expensive, its absurd how high the prices are, the mini market asks mini-prices for great items so for many people it’s more than welcome on the island as the majority of the items are real bargains. As Dabney states “I nowadays dress exclusively from Pakus”.
Peak time of the market is between 9:30-12:00. Especially after payday the market is full with people. Besides scanning for bargains, it is also a great place to meet new people, a social gathering. Asking Dabney, given the increase of people donating items, if storage would be a problem, she immediately said NO, storage is never a problem, it’s great that people bring there items they don’t use anymore.
I encourage everyone to have a look in your house and gather all the items you like but never use because………..? Go visit the market and hand in your bag making a lot of people and animals more happy! And while you’re there have a look at the wonderful library, which has been completely reorganized by Renee from Snorkeltours. Do make sure you have enough time because all the books sort of hypnotize you.

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