Monday, February 22, 2016

Tours and ideas...

In the shower this morning I was daydreaming....
mulling over this and that,  enjoying a comment from a potential tour guest, slipping into a reverie about Morocco! If you asked me, my favourite city is Fez...but there is nothing like coming over the Atlas mountains and heading into Marrakesh, such a thrill entering that medina.
Where did that come from? No idea where that came from but a happy passing thought.

This bowl is at our front door, generally I throw a bucket of water into it and a few flowers most days….I think this is the first time I have done that since October when we set off on tour!
Praveen and I saw ourselves as tours people, then we settled in the village and with time on my hands I started a little stitching and lo and behold we are now stitching people who have this wonderful hobby of doing tours.
The Stitching Project is wonderful..... creative outlet, creating work for women, connecting with so many wonderful artisans, but it is huge. The pressure to keep finding work for our women, to keep standards, to meet clients requirements.
Some days Praveen and I despair, we really do work so hard....we now are at break even- everyone we associate gets paid promptly and on time, except us that is.
We turn over enough to pay all concerned not enough to pay ourselves. Most times we are philosophical saying " well we are happy about what we can do for others, and one day we will turn a profit for ourselves"
Trust is a big part of our workshop, our women trust we can keep them employed, our suppliers [small weaving units mostly] trust we will pay promptly or even pre-pay so they don't have to go to the money lender to start work. We trust our clients will pay their bills promptly... when that does not happen we come very close to the edge of collapse as we have covered all the costs in producing their work.
Another spanner is cropping up. The government has all these fancy anti-corruption laws and export laws.... big guys get around them but little guys struggle with a mountain of paperwork. If we have one parcel go out and we can't promptly account for the payment of that parcel we have the bank and government asking well where is it!
How can a client not paying their bills, ripping us off  equate to money laundering and us ripping the government off but there it is a weird loop happens. What a drama.
What a drama- we pray our clients honour their bills and pay promptly- if their is an honest problem let us know and let's get it sorted out. Life is made too difficult if they fiddle around.
Yes another part of my musings this morning....a more frustrating one.
Flowers ! - happy to have a minute to spread a little cheer from my winter garden. This year it is only those brave plants who sewed themselves- mostly flowers which is happy.
Some days when we are totally frustrated with Stitching but luckily not often we dream of running away on tour.... a while ago we wondered if we should let the tours slide and the answer came in pretty quickly.
Mind you this was a private chat between Praveen and I and the next thing 5 or 6 separate people said to us things like "where is the new tour going to go?"
"we want to come back to India- you need a new tour for us to take"
"what other places are you thinking of ".... lots of comments and nudges. How amazing is that?
Planning almost 2 years time to fit it in before....will be our new Gurgurat Tour,  alreadywe have names going on the list and the best part is little suggestions as well.
I am very interested in your Gurgurat- tribal embroidery, step wells and history in fall 2017.  Is there any possibility of the timing, beginning or ending, which would allow a visit to the Pushkar Camel fair for a few days?   I was there in 2011 for four days and so enjoyed it!
Our reply-  am pretty sure there is an overnight sleeper from Pushkar/Ajmer to Ahmedabad which would make getting from one to the next easy.
I will look into dates and see if it feasible to make is an add on package at the beginning or end.
We have so many friends and contacts across Gurgurat and there are so many great things to see we still working out how much we can squeeze into a reasonable time....the richness of the textiles is almost overwhelming some days- how much can you look at and process- luckily it is such an interesting region with history, architecture and landscape to refresh the view. Trying to find a balance.
Love the research for trips.

This is something we could well fit in, we generally avoid the Camel Fair as part of a tour because logistics can be a bit difficult but as an add on it could work well

Haha some days are good and some are great!! hope you have a great day :)

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