Monday, January 02, 2017

Happy New Year

2016 was  cracker in many ways.
Some great and some so difficult.
I hope we have passed the testing ones and can just get on with life.
As you know we stitch and we tour.
It started out touring was our bread and butter and stitching a labour of love on the side -a side that took up a huge amount of time !!
This last year has seen that definitely change.
Stitching is still a labour of love but now it is self-supporting and we have high hopes of a proper wage for us... although we can see we need more space so will need to invest in a bigger stitching room or look for a new location altogether. Decisions to agonize over. Aren't we lucky?
and new things are happening....just waiting until we can go crazy and tell everyone!
You get eye candy in the Instagram images that pop up stay tuned.
 We were so lucky to have volunteers from the UK join us for a week- as a newish business and growing we are still struggling to create new and useful systems to make everything run smoothly.
We do keep an eye out for our gang like family but in reality we are a business and we have been working very hard to grow our workshop staff up to be professional in looking after their jobs here in the workshop.
We are based in rural Rajasthan, our younger members of staff went to year 10 at school, older had less opportunity in most instances. In our part of India most people grow in a joint family situation- generally the head of the family organizes everything and everyone else just follows along.  It can tend to be that way at the one wants to think something through or follow the procedure set down, just go and ask Madame, yet again how to do it!!!
I have been working very carefully to try and document procedures, set up supporting info to help people [recognize not everyone can follow up map so think of creative ways to do this] and then grumble VERY LOUDLY when someone tries to ask yet again something they can look up and confirm. Praveen laughed when I read this to him and got to the very loudly part.
It is starting to work.
Back to our volunteers- Sophie and Owen, it took nearly a week of head scratching and they squeezed this amazing document out of excel that calculates, cross references and updates all this info for production in the machine room end and then a new one that lets us track inventory.
Something that might sound very boring but I know the amount of brain squeezing it would have taken me and it is a thing of beauty.
Thank you very much S & O

Meanwhile Creative Arts Safaris has not taken a backseat.
It is our first baby, we have been a little distracted with the newest one but many of our guests have put up such a squawk on the first child's behalf that we have been paying it plenty of attention too.
I had wondered if perhaps CAS' time was going to pass but since having that thought/question we have had such encouragement to develop new ideas... It seems if you ask a question- just put it out there- the Universe will supply and answer- you just need to take notice and act.
We love our tours, so it has been easy to contemplate new ideas....and at the same time a challenge to fit it all in... I like to do a newsletter for ready over New Year's ... it is the time I like to look forward to what next.
It took a bit of groaning at me on my part, but I got there. Take a look.
Praveen and I had planned to go and do a reccy in Ethiopia at this time but they have been having problems and need to sort out a few things politically. So far my contacts are hopeful it will sort out without going crazy. I hope so.
It seemed frustrating at the time I had to change my mind but with the thing I can't mention cropping up and how busy we are in general I am relieved..... might head that way in May....if we have time.
So tours.... we have a complete and busy lap of Gujarat as our new offering. The far west is where people tend to concentrate and it is ssssoooooo rich but there is a lot more to see than just over there and I think we have a really good mix.
Taking Ahmedabad and Poshina out of our Rajasthan Tour meant we had time to fit other things in.... so excited- we know  a great women's co-op out in the middle of know where north Rajasthan close enough to a lovely old fort we love to visit, so happy to be able to be heading that way...and then there are the felt makers of Tonk again interesting and off the beaten track. We do love a good outing.
Much to look forward to in 2017- may yours bring you adventure, joy and satisfaction.

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