Yesterday we travelled out to our new village to make further contact and talk, it was very satisfying and truthfully a bit overwhelming for a moment or two.
The road out, fascinating Rajasthan...it gets drier as you go along....as I may have mentioned from the look of the buildings the village was once farming style prosperous, it is still spotlessly clean but many buildings are turning to rubble for lack of cement to re-render, things have changed waterwise over the last 20 years or so we are guessing.
The ladies were lovely and so welcoming....one of the ladies who initially made contact with us [not in the photo] was so ingratiating at our place, she set my teeth on egde...it was something of how they were dressed I guess [spotless but shabby clothes] and the mention that a few of the ladies can stitch by machine that drew us to check it out.
Old Mother kept saying and do you have something simple for old hands- boy what to think up next??
This is only half the crowd, by the way the rest, are outside the picture frame.
At the moment they have work from a haberdashery guy in Ajmer turning gold ribbon into braid....to create a finished piece of gold braid that is 9 metres long they get paid 1.5 Rupees [3c in Australia].
I did not want to say anything in front of them but I was appauled -so little for a lot of work I would guess an hour or two at least!.
We pay a lot more than that, A LOT!!!....but now is the delicate days of establishing our relationship...we already look way too generous and we don't want them to think we are stupid [things we learnt over the last year or 2 through many tears] A Delhi-man who is soft hearted and a foreigner with more money than sense; so we have to be extremely diligent on checking finish and only taking the absolute best, asking for even the most minor mistake to be corrected etc, etc....kind of generally pedantic so they start to think they are reallly working for the extra rupees and aslo trying to build some pride and pleasure in ggggooooddd work.
It is kind on embarassing taking stitching smaples, I work them myself and as I readily admit to Ladies I would not get a job stitching for me! That always creates a laugh and I hope underlies how seriously we take quality in the work.
One of the two ladies, Setan I think is her name, but I feel embarassed to admit I met so many ladies yesterday it will take me a few days to sort out names- who can work on the machine whipping up a sample - and very nicely too.
Praveen is fantastic, he was so shy of talking to village ladies when we started but becuase of language there is only so much I can do sometimes in showing them things. He has really got in there working with the ladies, respectful but firm.
We were lucky enough to have 2 ladies visiting from the States who have hung out with me for the last 2 days, and very patiently I might add, a visit to the Blockprinters the day previously turned out to a few hours marathon. It was nice to have them with us yesterday to see how any of our friends accompanying us would be treated, we could share notes afterwards and I could quizz them on fabrics and other market research type questions I need foreign tastes to look over in the products I am working on as samples.
Plus they were really nice ladies it was a pleasure to meet how ever breifly in their travels.
heaps more photos on this link