We got up early on Sunday morning and went with Yousaf and Ehsan to the flower market. Ehsan goes every Sunday morning to buy flowers for the church service at St. John’s church in Saeed Park, right across the street from the Chaman family home.
After the flower market we picked up Afaq at his home and went out for breakfast at the Bundu Khan outdoor restaurant. We had the ‘Desi Nashta’ (local breakfast) that included 2 puri, bhujia, chany, halwa yogurt, lassi and chai. What a great last breakfast in Lahore.
Next we drove over to the old city of Lahore and toured the fort. The foundations were laid in the 2nd century BC by Hindu people. Later in the 15th and 16th centuries, the Mughals improved and enlarged the fort. Mughal emperors who added to and embellished the fort included Akbar, Jehangir and Shahjahan (also built the Taj Mahal in India). The British also used the fort during the Raj when Lahore was still part of larger India.
We finished up the day with relaxing and visiting at the Chaman family home. In the evening we packed our bags and headed out to the airport for our 3am flight on Emirates Air to Dubai and on to JFK airport in New York. We’ll be back home by Monday evening, November 23.
Hang in there, one more trip post is coming
We hope you’ve been enjoying the notes, experiences and photos and have been able to follow our adventures on the Bunyaad blog so far. Here is a link to all of the posts: Read Pakistan Learning Tour.
We’d love for you to share our adventures and the stories and faces of Pakistan, especially of our Bunyaad artisans.
On Sunday morning we walked across the street to attend church at St. John’s Baptist Church. Chaman Masih, the founder of Bunyaad, is the founding and lead pastor. We met the associate Pastor, George Gil, as well. During the service Doug Horst and I (Doug Dirks) were introduced as guests from the USA and asked to say a few words. After church we got together with a few people at the Chaman home to visit. We ended talking about our religious origins and beliefs – interesting stuff.
When you come to any of our rug rooms and during all of our rug events across the US and Canada you get a glimpse into the world of rug making and see the artisans at work in the video “Introduction to Oriental Rugs” that is shown throughout the day. As staff I have watched this video hundreds of times. My work in the Bunyaad office also involves working with lots and lots of artisan photos. So when visiting Pakistan this year it felt almost surreal meeting these same artisans for the first time and yet feeling like I have known them for a long time.
It is with great pleasure that I get to introduce two of these young women to you who have both been rug knotters with Bunyaad for the past eight years. Fauzia and Sofia live with their parents in the small village of Halwan about two hours north of Lahore. After finishing their schooling, they both started knotting rugs as this allowed them a good income and the ability to stay home with their parents.
We enjoyed a great time in Pakistan. Everywhere we went we met friendly, helpful and incredibly hospitable people. It seemed like everyone wanted to shake our hands and give us a hug. On Sunday afternoon, while touring the old Lahore Fort, a number of people wanted their pictures taken with us. Contrary to what we hear and read in the media about Pakistan, it’s a great place to travel – safe, friendly, hospitable and very scenic.
Gwen Repeta, manager of the Ten Thousand Villages store in Winnipeg, MB and Rug Program Coordinator for Ten Thousand Villages Canada, joined us on our two-week trip to Pakistan this past January. This is Gwen’s second trip to visit the Bunyaad artisans (her first in May 2005). Gwen’s long-term commitment to the program showed in her interaction with the artisans and deep interest in wanting to learn more about how Fair Trade really works.
In the morning we left Lahore and drove down the M2 Motorway towards Islamabad. The M2 Motorway between Lahore and Islamabad is a 6 lane divided highway, about 400 km long.
After about 2 hours of driving we stopped at Kallar Kahar, a lake near the Motorway. This is a stop for migratory birds from Siberia and a popular tourist spot for Pakistani people. We saw lots of school students out for the day on paddle boats, riding on the Ferris wheel and on a furry white camel. We took a motorboat ride and stopped to photograph some birds.