Work is still a bit slow at the moment due to that fact that I am waiting to hear back from Nest whether or not there can be a partnership between their non-profit and Sunder Rang. If there is potential for a relationship, it would be a great help to the organization, the women, and myself. Once a group is established as a partner with Nest, they will work in the areas that are needed most for the artisan group, and for our crafts center those areas include teaching English and business skills, quality control and efficiency, capital growth, and other necessary areas for the center to grow successful and sustainable. This would be a great help to me because I do not have the language skills in Hindi yet to teach the women business, or much else for that matter, and it might take the entire time I am here to get far enough along in the language to help in these areas.
Being the technical manager currently, this leaves the everyday duties for me to do. This week was no exception and I actually found myself finding more things I needed to get done. First off, I went to a city about two hours from our village and ordered handmade paper diaries to cover and sell at the center. The paper factory was a great business to see, especially in India. All the paper made in the factory is made from recycled cotton scraps bought from clothing factories. I had begun to think that no one recycled anything in India, and it was a great relief to see a business that was using recycled materials to make an amazing product.
They first buy the cotton material from the factory and separate them buy color. After separation, they soak the material in vats of water to make a cotton pulp, much like factories do with wood chips for papermaking. The pulp is then layered on top of a screen in the next vat of water then pulled up to make a sheet once dried on the screen. The paper sheet is then placed between two steel plates and rolled out to ensure the paper is compressed and smooth. The paper is then dyed if needed to be a different color and some are screen printed on as well. They sell the paper only, but can make different products if bought in bulk.
The week went by fast after that, and I kept coming up with things that needed to be done in the city. So this weekend, my trip to Jodhpur was one full To Do List and involved shopping for materials, running errands, and trying to find time to relax with friends. This sounds easier than you would think. It is almost impossible to shop in India and get a fair price as a white person. Due to these circumstances, I had to wait for someone who could go shopping with me to translate and ensure a low prices point for the materials needed for the center. Once this was done, and many bags later, that was one thing off the list and it was already Saturday evening. So the next day I spent getting my errands done as well as running more errands for the center and buying leggings for the girls in the village, since they are unable to go to the city or make them like the ones I have bought.