India travelers 2013
23
Jun

Travel Tales: Come Along for the Ride!

Ever wondered how to read about some of the trips the Travel Program has taken? This post will show you the easiest way to access the travel blogs, plus give you a taste of our recent trip to India.


India travelers visit AnchalBy Patricia Andersson

“One of my fellow chapter members just got back from [fill in exciting country] and I want to read about her trip! Where do I find their [exciting country] blogs?”

If you’re looking for one particular subject, digging through all the blogs posted on our website can be a daunting task. But for travel program blogs, we’ve got an easy way for you to access them all in one place.   To do so, first go to the Travel Program page (diningforwomen.org/learn/travel) and click on “View Previous Trips.”

This will take you to a page that has snippets for all the trips we’ve taken so far. Clicking on “read more” for the country you’re interested in will bring you to a summary of the trip. By scrolling to the bottom of that page, you’ll find the link “read trip diaries.” Voila! All blogs from that trip are now right there in reverse chronological order.

Our travelers have done a great job capturing the standout moments of their journeys, and their adventures make for great reading as they meet face-to-face with the women and the programs we’ve supported.

Here’s a teaser by Tina Romanseko, one of our India trip bloggers, when visiting one of DFW’s favorite programs, Anchal, last fall:

“Today is a day that all of us have been looking forward to since signing up for this Indian adventure…Today is a workshop day [at Anchal], so the women are sitting on the floor, sewing, measuring, and marking fabrics with Executive Director Colleen Cline… Their gratitude to Dining For Women is palpable. Our grant was received at a critical point. Colleen had just been diagnosed with Hodgkins disease, funds were low, and it looked like her dream would have to be tabled for an unknown amount of time. Enter DFW!

The program has been able to add over 30 women to the original 14, plus more that will be trained beginning today. The procurement of Urban Outfitters  as an outlet for their wares, with Colleen and staff at the design helm, is a marvelous combination. Today they will be working on a vest and a bag. Colleen will be working with some of the more advanced seamstresses this week, teaching them the art of design and color composition. The road has been long and filled with many challenges.

The women here are all involved with the commercial sex trade. Ajmer is a hot spot for the industry, with a recognized belt of sex workers that serve the community and also truck drivers that are often on the road for months at a time. Anchal, in partnership with Vatsalya, offer these women a change of lifestyle, health advice, and access to local clinics.

Often 150 women show up for an informational meeting. A small percentage of them will actually participate, learn the new trade of sewing kantha quilts, and work toward improving their status and changing their own lives and the lives of their children. The Anchal space is airy and inviting. The women sit together, working on projects, talking, laughing, and sewing…For the next hour, we disperse into the group, sitting on the floor in the workrooms, pantomiming, listening, and observing.

Susan Ackland asks about the relationship of three women in her group. She gestures and asks “Auntie?” to which they all dissolve in laughter, sharing high fives. “Sisters”, they reply. Another group of women point to Taryn Walker’s eyebrows and say “new design?” They had also been part of the Anchal partnership in Jaipur the previous day. She motions tweezing and they all make startled faces that grow larger as she suggests the rip of waxing! Threading is the preferred method of hair removal in India. Women’s beauty issues in pantomime. Love it.”

Read more about the India trip here, and explore the 12 other adventures we’ve offered so far. And then, all inspired, sign up to come with us on our next journey, and experience this cross-cultural camaraderie for yourself!