|Trekking to Annapurna Base Camp|
by Cameron Norbu Attwood Conner
On Friday, February 24th, we took a small plane to Pokhara. It was a beautiful flight in and we could see almost the whole Annapurna range, it was incredible to think that in just a few days we would be up and behind those mountains. It seemed impossibly far away. I'm writing this after our return. It was an amazing and incredible 10 day journey to Annapurna basecamp and back again. It is hard to put words to such a staggering and incredible experience. But after all that's why I have this blog, so I might as well give it a shot. My goal for this is to share with you the true beauty and amazement I felt during this time, and to give you a glimpse through my eyes and to imagine a different world. This is one of my major goals in writing about my travels. Here's the briefest of summaries.
We met up with our porters outside of the Pokhara airport (they had taken the 8 hour bus ride to get here), one was a young man named Rajindra and another a seasoned porter named Santosh. We attained our permits at the Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP) center and then all packed into two small taxis. During our 1 ½ hour taxi ride, our driver played everything from traditional Nepali and Tibetan music, to Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift (how's that for a culture shock) all while bouncing along roads hardly fit for a land rover, let alone a small city taxi. Eventually we bailed out at a small town called Birithanti... <read more
Fair Trade Day
WFTD is the largest Fair Trade event of the year in N. America, and events take place May 6-20 in 2012.
Around 100,000 people attend hundreds of celebrations to promote Fair Trade and campaign for trade justice together with farmers & artisans. WFTD itself falls on May 12.
For more information, media tool kits and more, visit The Fair Trade Resource Network page.
|New Hemp and Sacred Cow Bag|
We've just returned from yet another amazing trip to Nepal and wish we could have taken you all with us! It's great to see all of our producer friends and convey to them our appreciation for their talent & hard work. We tell them about your stores, your hard work and your commitment and the circle feels complete. After so many years of civil war, things are hard but there is hope and when we asked what was needed, with big smiles, there was a resounding response...."more orders"! So we're all fired up and ready to go! Thanks for making it happen!
It's that time...
We realize it's not even summer, but it's that time where we need to ask you to start planning for your fall orders.
Our producers in Nepal rely on getting your advance orders early so they have enough time to make what you need. The sooner you get your advance order to us, the better chance you will have of getting EXACTLY what you want and the more time our producers will have to make their beautiful products.
Examples of products you will want to advance order include: -ANYTHING ORDERED IN A LARGE QUANTITY and....
-KNITS (lots of new designs!)
-HOLIDAY ORNAMENTS & CARDS
Know that these Advance Order Products are made just for you, so you must honor your order. Please keep the following in mind when you make your order:
All orders are due June 1st for Sept 1 - November
delivery dates. *If you require earlier ship dates, please contact us for special arrangements.
2. You may request more than one ship date
to receive your advance orders, but for each ship date, you must
CREATE A NEW ORDER. Please include the ship date in the "comments" section at the very end of the shopping cart check out.
3. Please do not combine
a regular order with your knit advance orders. Please place advance orders for any of our products separately.
UPDATE: Bhagwati building project with ACP
In 2011 we raised $2500 of $5000 needed for ACP to help rebuild the workshop where all of Ganesh Himal's beautiful table runners, rugs and napkins are made. Our customers (that's you guys!) came to the plate with $1200 in donations for that work! We were back in Nepal in February and got an update from Meera (the Director of ACP) on how the project was coming along. Unfortunately, Meera told us that the donor from Switzerland who had initially agreed to raise the other $2500 for the project backed out. The group was reluctant to take a loan and so they were unable to start until they found another donor.
Well, we believe so strongly in this project and this group that Ganesh Himal decided we would raise the rest of the money so the project could go forward. So, once again we challenge you to help us to raise another $2500! Ganesh Himal will match all donations up to $1250 and we promise to get that workshop built soon! We already got one generous contribution from Kizuri here in Spokane so we are well on our way.
In order for the workshop construction to begin Ganesh Himal sent all the funds so construction should begin shortly. I just got a message from Meera (the director of ACP) saying "Thank you very much for sending the balance fund for construction of the Lagankhel [Bhagwati] group workshop. We really feel blessed to have partners like you..."
In her memo on the project Meera explained that the Lagankehl weaving group was formed in 1985 by non traditional weavers where the majority of the producers are the main breadwinner in their families. The weavers work 6-8 hours a day using basic tools and handlooms. They have a common workshop close to their homes which was build over 15 years ago and was not of good quality. It lacks proper ventilation, light and storage. The roof is low and leaks during the rainy season and the walls and rough mud floors are covered with holes. There is a crucial need to rebuild the workshop to ensure healthy working conditions, productivity and the morale of the producers. She stated "ACP is very appreciative of Ganesh Himal understanding the need of this group and providing support for the construction of the workshop. This is a very meaningful support to the group as well as ACP". I explained that our customers had helped to raise the funds and she said "Our heartfelt thanks to all those who have believed in our efforts and contributed toward improving the working condition of these weavers."
Here are the faces of the women in the group (pictured above) and I asked them to say Namaste to you all! Believe me they appreciate all that you do for them and so do we! Thanks for considering this! Best, Denise
Austin Zimmerman is the newest member of our team, though she as been working on and off with Ganesh Himal Trading for many years. She is also one of our favorite models! She recently had the chance to travel with Denise to Nepal, below is her story.
Nepal. Kathmandu. Shell shock. Gasoline generators in 10' by 10' shops, blasting exhaust all over the bag lined walls. Horns
honking from all directions, warning you serious injury is one misplaced step away. Sacred cows stopping four lanes of traffic as they cross the street startled and confused. Open sewer pipes. Wafts from the Bagmati River, a stagnant landfill of plastic bags and wastes. Families of four riding one motorbike to work, the two year old clutching the handlebars. Once I finally shook the shock and sensory overload, got over my fear of being run over by a car (or a cow), and began a steady regimen of digestives, I was able to relax and experience the Kathmandu beneath the chaos. Privileged to be travelling with Ric and Denise, dear friends to so many, I experienced Kathmandu not as a tourist, but as an extended member of their community. From first birthday parties and dinners, to a house-warming event and dancing, I witnessed old friendships and I listened to their stories...
Stories of locals waiting in line five hours for two gallons of drinking water.
Stories of producer groups
not having electricity for 10 hours at a time.
Of Tibetan monks walking 18 days across the Himalayas to the Nepal border, knowing they may reach the border only to be told to turn around.
Of one woman risking her life not once, but twice, to rescue a child out of Tibet.
Of young boys running away from home at the age of 11 to live on the streets of Kathmandu because there were no jobs in the villages.
Of women with first grade educations, unable to read, only able to write their names.
Stories of violent revolution and fear, and the unknown possibilities of democracy.There is a beautiful thread of commonality running between all these stories, and that is Ric and Denise and Ganesh Himal This thread has gained strength over 27 years, producing a ripple effect that is multi generational and truly transformative. Our ripple has grown to include 14 groups ranging from 1 to 1200 producers. It is reaching beyond our producers to their children-the mothers who can't read whose daughters are now earning their masters in nursing. The children wearing diapers when Ric and Denise first ventured to Nepal are now taking over for their parents, bringing with them online marketing and college degrees. Young, educated Nepalese are choosing to return to the country they love to help shape it's future, rather than remain in the west. I saw how Ganesh Himal reached beyond our immediate producers, to others within the community-The man who now makes a living collecting tires throughout the Kathmandu Valley for our bags. How beautiful that the personal stories of struggle and hardship don't define the individual they belong to, that through Ganesh Himal, they found dignity and stability through times of political turmoil and economic strife. I saw a ripple of opportunity and hope that is only growing stronger. So THANK YOU, our customers, for allowing this ripple to grow, and continue to grow, and from all those who our ripple has reached, Namaste! .... And here's to the next 27 years!