Well hurrah! They arrived today from Morses in India.
Our new, hot of the press, Fairtrade Polo shirt sizing sets.
In our business before our order is manufactured in bulk Morses sends us a set of garments so that we can check that the sizing is just as we expect it – and today our set of children’s t shirt and children’s polo shirts were delivered. They are perfect! We also received our “lab dips”. These are small swatches (pieces of fabric) dyed to show us that the colour will also be perfect.
Morses has been a real help to help. He is thorough, gives me confidence and is looking after the manufacture of our garments. I met up with Morses when I visited India last year. It really makes a difference to talk face to face.
I visited India to spend some time with the people who grow the cotton for our Fairtrade Polo shirts and T shirts for schools. It started out as an adventure and was fascinating from the moment we touched down in Ahmedabad.
There were two highlights. The first was a surprise. We were talking to spinners at the large Mahima Factory when they hurried us along. We were told to hurry or the children would have already gone home. Puzzled we did indeed hurry. We were whisked away and taken to the Swayan Academy.
We were able to briefly visit each class. The children were predominantly from families who would not normally be able to send their children to school. The pupils were from the rural cotton growing communities and the school was supported by Mahima Purespun. The children were so polite, seemed a little in awe, but clearly happy. It was one of those moments in life that I will remember. As we left the school we both looked at each other and said that the whole trip was worth that one visit. The knowledge that by manufacturing Fairtrade and organic school uniform we were directly in the circle that contributed to this school and their future.
Next we squeezed again into the car and were taken by mostly bumpy tracks to a cotton farm co-operative. We had no idea what to expect and had been told the harvest had taken place. I will wite about that experience in my next blog.
I travelled to India to visit some of the people we talk to often, and work with, but have never met. My sister Sian came with me and after a lot of last minute excited planning we set off.
We flew to Ahmedabad in northern India in the state of Gujarat. We had lots of advice such as…….. look very confident, arrange a car to pick us up from the airport, clean your teeth in bottled water, the traffic and noise will be enormous, the poverty will hit you.
But nothing prepared us for the experience. It really was not a cliché to say it was another world. But what an exciting world. We had a wonderful, life changing time.
We stayed at first in a modern hotel which had great facilities with helpful courteous staff. The Lemon Tree Hotel. It was very western in appearance although the food was of course Indian and excellent. Maybe it was because we were two women travelling alone, or maybe our age (not young), or that we were very “fair” Europeans, but what ever the reason we caused so much interest wherever we went. Throughout our entire trip the outstanding memory I have is the kindness, interest and friendliness of the people we met. This was without exception.
At first I was like a child. I walked to the gates of the hotel and took a little brave step out onto the pavement. Just for a minute. The traffic, the horns, the camels pulling carts, the rickshaw drivers and all in a mad, mad swirl of hubbub and noise. Because we were not in a tourist area we got the full impact of a busy, intent, city with people at work. I went back inside the hotel. I have travelled to many countries Canada, Argentina, America, and many European destinations but nothing like this wonderful scary intriguing India. The guidebooks said Ahmedabad was dirty, noisy with not much reason to visit. The guidebooks were wrong, it was daunting but we would not have changed it for the world.