Sunday, July 11, 2010

Lahore - Day 2

All four buyers started our day visiting Kaarvan, one of the nonprofit orgs. present during the Expo.
Their mission is to strengthen the skills and business capacities of women in low income communities so that they are able to successfully pursue entrepreneurial opportunities, participate more effectively in markets and thus, improve their economic realities.
Sounds in keeping with Women' s Work, don't you think?

Their offices were large with room for their basic staff, desks for their in field craft managers and work areas. There were the sample/pattern makers, candle makers and the only room with air conditioning, the accountants. Nice operation. We were surrounded by products in their conference room which brought inspiration for buying. We were also treated to a shopping excursion to visit their store in Lahore. A nice boutique, but unclear whether the lack of electricity was due to a power shortage or...?
I wanted to get some cash while we were out. I was to be escorted across the street by one of the guards. I would prefer someone led the way since I wasn't sure how to maneuver my way across the intersection, but he motioned for me to go ahead, but first, he said, he had to stop by the car. "I must get my gun." he mumbled. I wasn't sure I'd heard him correctly, so I watched as he concealed the gun and then nodded that he was all set.
Once at the bank, there is actually a lock on the ATM door. Interesting, but makes sense. I withdrew money, later to find out it costs me not only a lousy exchange rate, but an exorbitant fee for using an international ATM. Banks the whole world over, suck.
I returned to the Kaarvan shop, loaded up on items I wanted to price and get more info about for purchase.
Such a productive day. I was able to get a pattern made of my favorite wallet that I asked the team to have embroidered so that I had a matching set of bracelets, headbands, purse and tunic. I developed several lines of matching (not too matchy) clothing and accessories to be sent to the States for further fine tuning.
I left to return to the hotel where we were told we would be able to go to the India/Pakistan border crossing ceremony much to our surprise and delight!

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