EDI sent us (Bradley and Addison) to Varanasi to investigate the local branch of the Producer Company, an organization of weavers, dyers, master weavers and other members of the crafting process. Our last days there were challenging but very productive. After finalizing our objectives and completing the last of our interviews, we spent our final day touring Varanasi. The tour was a great way to see Varanasi and the surrounding area. We started by checking out a temple dedicated to Gandhi that included a stunning 3-D map of India in the middle of the temple. After purchasing more souvenirs than were necessary, we headed to a handicraft store to buy even more! The handicraft store sold everything from historical paintings of India to diamond encrusted jewelry. Whilst we were tempted, we stuck to our student budgets and purchased enough chai to last us a lifetime. If you haven’t tried chai yet, you need to visit India!
Since a trip to Varanasi wouldn’t be complete without purchasing a lifetime supply of authentic handloom products, we asked our employers to bring some stalls and scarves for us to try. After weavers from the Producer Company Limited bought scarves to our hotel room, we realized the true potential of such a personalized service. Consequently, we aim to offer such a tailored service to other tourists in Varanasi to attract more international customers to the Producer Company Limited. After purchasing 15 scarves between us, you only have to ask Addison and I how successful this business could be!
After 2 amazing weeks in Varanasi, it was time to fly back to Ahmedabad. Although we thoroughly enjoyed our 42-hour train ride to Varanasi, we felt it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity not to be repeated anytime soon!
Our first couple of days back in Ahmedabad have been really nice and have allowed us time to catch up with our friends on the SEWA and EDI internships. To celebrate our reunion, we went for a group meal to BBQ nation, a full buffet of skewers of chicken, shrimp, lamb, and fish. It was all-you-can eat and was, in fact, just too much to eat!
-Bradley and Addison