So much has happened this month that I didn’t have a chance to post it all in time, so it is December and I am writing about November. I’ll start from the beginning with our visit to Afghanistan during Eid. I hadn’t expected to get much Beshtar work done over the holidays, but I was lucky – I managed to see a few people and even get a few projects started:
First, I met with Kerry Jane Wilson and Lotta Sandstrom of Zardozi, a wonderful organization set up to help talented craftsmen and women to find markets for their products. The works produced by this group and the collective of artisans in Gangina, their retail venue in Kolola Pushta, is a terrific initiative and one which I hope to continue to work with in the future.
I brought back to Dubai several of their most attractive small home items to test the market, but have high hopes of developing items specifically for Beshtar. Take a look at the photos and see what you think.
I visited Anna Hacker, my tireless friend and amazing charity worker at the new AWEC model center on Kabul, now called Anna’s Educational Center. She had just received and was busy organizing the shipment of school supplies sent from the American School in Dubai.
The women and children from the neighborhood and ‘tent city’ right outside the walls of the Center were waiting as the Turkish army delivered Eid donations. The children loved taking photos of themselves! Click to see photos.
Two women from the Center, Bibi Gul and Rokhsar, agreed to do some embroidery on some trousers for me as trial. I hope this grows into a proper business for them.
Gardens for Life
My embroidery program with the women at the Gardens for Life Center in Kariz Mir got off to a great start. Several women chosen for their skill are embroidering labels for the apple, pear and strawberry jams made on our farm, Afghan Bahar, on the outskirts of Kabul.
Darla Milne, the director of Gardens for Life, told me about their first successful Rose Oil production made from the new distilling machine which she was able to procure through donations (some of it from Beshtar!). I smelled the rose attar, made from the Rosa Damascena, the Damask Rose, and it was heavenly.
Some of my favorite moments in Kabul are when we go to the markets and shops, meeting the merchants, artisans and their families. I not only got some wonderful fabric but had a chance to develop my relationship with the people who help me make Beshtar products. Meet some of them: