Odd commodities and your thank-you present: Butterflies

Talking about Colombia has this sweet, odd commodities story.

Alas de Colombia is a Cali-based butterfly exporter that employs 25 disadvantaged women in a region once terrorized by paramilitaries. The women, often single mothers, nurture the butterflies to chrysalis stage when Alas de Colombia buys them for $1 each. There is then a window of 10 to 20 days to ship the butterflies to its destination while they emerge from their cocoons.

It is also a good excuse for me to give you a thank-you present for all of your attention, tips and thoughts throughout 2011. You folks are an amazing group of readers, very smart and thoughtful and funny. I couldn’t ask for a better bunch of cyberspace companions. Thanks. Just for you, as a sort of end-of-year-holiday present, some of my favorite butterfly photos. I took most of these in Venezuela, but there is also a smattering of Peru, Bolivia, and Brazil. See if you can figure out which one was taken in an illegal mining camp in Peru. Butterflies are amazing.

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