4 May 2009
I’m enjoying a night by myself after a good, long work week. Last Tuesday Alia Kate, founder of Kantara Crafts, came to Morocco yet again. Some months ago she put in orders with the Cooperative I work with and came by for a few days to hang out and pick up the work. She was very happy with the results and bought out the other great hanbils they had (including one for the Caid, which wasn’t actually available, but they like her so much they said she could buy it, the Caid could wait!). An important part of her business is to understand the women and the culture as well as supporting them by purchasing their work; her site is much more informative and accurate than I of course, so visit it! Here’s what she writes as Kantara’s Mission: "Kantara Crafts imports fair-trade rugs and textiles directly from women's cooperatives, thereby empowering the artisans to promote their financial independence as well as their creative freedom, while spurring growth and development in rural regions of Morocco"In the process I too learned a lot about organizing command orders with the women, and have since begun thinking about what I am going to order to bring back with me to the states. I emailed my immediate family about what they might want because I do want to be able to have something tangible to give those I have missed and have missed me for over two years, but have been informed that more of you may want to order something. These women are incredible and the product is of the highest quality. You know I’m not a business person, and I’m not advertizing or even asking because it will benefit them. I’m just being honest. You really get the better deal. In fact it even kinda sucks for me because it’s a pain in the butt to ship stuff from here, but I’m of course happy to do it. Anyhow, I have put up an album entitled Cooperative Atma on facebook so check that out if you’re interested.
Be specific, or at least give me a guide. With a command order with these women you will get just what you ask for. If there is a particular color scheme or design you like then let me know, and the size. Prices vary greatly and depend on size and the complexity of design; areas of solid color, for instance, cost less than areas of pattern. They are all cotton warp and wool weft (meaning, the tassels you see on the end are cotton, but all you see in the rest is wool). They can do solid wool warp and weft but it would cost a decent amount more money and time because they have to process and spin the warp yarn very differently than the rest. If you are interested in that let me know. I just wanted to open this up to anyone. I figure anyone who dares read this ridiculous blog is among those that might be interested in a product of the amazing women and community I live among. If you do want something email me, comment on this post, or on the facebook album, or any other of the various ways you can think of to contact me. I’m not getting a cut or anything so the money will go directly to the women who made the work and shipping (unless of course someone wants to visit me sometime this summer-to see beautiful Morocco and take some rugs home, hint, hint, HINT)
above photo courtesy of Alia Kate
Now onto the rest of the weeks work…On May 3rd the first annual SIDA (AIDS) marathon was held in Midelt and it was a hit! Some other awesome volunteers and an awesome Moroccan association have been planning it for months and I just went to help out. I arrived to find I was on dinner crew, ha, but what’s new. I’m way out of shape so I happily took the photography job rather than running. The Moroccan support and interest was phenomenal, the kids were excited, and the whole thing really went well. It really helped to promote SIDA and STI awareness and I’m so grateful I could take part in it. After the great success and hard work we (just Americans) had a grand evening of drinking and dancing. I’d been holding off on drinking since returning from Europe, not only did I want to savor the memory of truly good beer, I’ve also been trying to save extra money and staying in site keeps me from both drinking and spending. Wonderful how that works actually.
And now I’m home, with my wonderful boy Bu and the great calm I feel when back here. Among the many glories of spring I’m discovering once again that veggies actually mold and go bad when not frozen, and I need to do some house fixing like the screens on my windows, to keep flies as well as foreign cats out. Work is going great and my only sadness stems from thought of how much I’ll miss this wonderful place. I’ll post again soon on the wonders of spring.