Thursday, October 9, 2008

Behind on blogging and background

The past few weeks have been busy with too much to process and write about and no time.  I've realized that I didn't even touch on Ramazan (Ramadan) or the Iftar meal I attended.  I haven't written about my new job.  I didn't even mention that I was leaving for two weeks on a Fair Trade idea trip with some ladies from Chapel Hill.  Needless to say, I am way behind!  With so much to share, I thought I'd start with the most recent and fresh topic and work my way back to Ramazan and the job.
The reason I didn't write about my trip to India and Nepal beforehand is that there is a certain amount of disbelief that comes with leaving the country.  There are a lot of variables from visas to cancelled flights that can make a trip disappear or delay.  Even buying my tickets was a two week adventure.  I didn't believe I was going until I had made it through Indian customs.
If I had written about the trip before I left, I would have told you all that I was very excited to be included in Chapel Hill's Fair Trade Vision Trip to India and Nepal.  On the trip we planned to visit several fair trade initiatives in both countries and get some ideas on how Chapel Hill can be involved in fair trade.  
For those of you wondering what fair trade is, here's the definition accepted by the four major fair trade associations:
Fair trade is a trading partnership, based on dialogue, transparency and respect, that seeks greater equity in international trade.  It contributes to sustainable development by offering better trading conditions to, and securing the rights of, marginalized producers and workers.  Fair Trade Organizations, backed by consumers, are engaged actively in supporting producers, awareness raising and in campaigning for changes in the rules and practice of conventional trade.  Fair trade products are produced and traded in accordance with these principles - wherever possible verified by credible, independent assurance systems. 
One of my dreams and goals in Afghanistan is to get involved with a fair trade initiative for women who often have little means of income generation.  This trip was the first step towards that goal.  
That's the basic background.  The trip was filled with many adventures including a Nepali dance party, the longest bicycle rickshaw ride ever, tons and tons of chai and momos, and some of the craziest driving I've ever experienced (and that's saying a lot!).  These stories and many pictures to follow.


Kelly said...

I am all about fair trade. The thing that impacts Jonathan and I the most is fair trade's amazing (as in horrible) how badly the producers of coffee are treated.

Natalie said...

Julie, I'm totally glued to your blog! I googled PACTEC as you had suggested... I can't even fathom the type of work you and Joey are doing right now. What an amazing thing to be a part of! I can hear your voice in the way you write, even your sense of humor. I love it and I really miss it! Can't wait till your next entry!

The Gores said...

I am so glad you had fun! I can't wait to see pictures!! I am about to google Pactec right now! Tell Joey Hi for us....will we see you here in the states before your time is up there? I am excited about your goals for Fair Trade. God Speed dear friend.

Mary said...

Can't wait to hear more. I get to have some time with Shari on Tuesday. Will we be able to skype soon? I want to see your face. Dad leaves on Wed. Let's plan before that to connect.