Bangladesh Artisans

IMG_5222I recently returned from a trip to Pakistan, where I was to meet the artisans who work so skillfully on the rugs for Bunyaad that Ten Thousand Villages carries year-round in two of our stores: Winnipeg Plaza Drive, Manitoba and Oakville, Ontario. While there, we ate together, sat around the fire together, played Dutch Blitz, and listened to each other, with a whole lot of laughter sprinkled in!

Despite spotty electricity and gas for heat, people continued in their day-to-day activities – whether it was work or play, taking a shower, or cooking. It’s humbling to see a huge breakfast ready for you, when you realize the people making it had no gas to cook with that morning, and had to get up at 4:00 AM to start the cooking fires.

artisan-rafia-nasir-s72I sit beside Rafia Nasir on the loom, where she works on a 6’ x 9’ Persian rug with her two sisters.

Rafia is a new mom, just like I am. She holds her nearly eight-month-old little girl, letting her grab at the taut warp threads as she takes a break from her work. Rafia chuckles as I have to run and change my son’s diaper, tossing him down on her charpai – a rope bed, in the middle of her home – and asking if she minds if I change him there. It’s my son’s first trip to the villages of Pakistan. And at age two, he’s taking it all in, including the chicken running into the house from the outside courtyard.