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Trip to India 2018 - Part 4: Mud, colour, guns

Trip to India 2018 - Part 4: Mud, colour, guns
A lazy morning, it being Holi. Breakfast at 10am. Someone explains that all the food is vegetarian because hotels are owned by Jains. The same source assures us that all Jains are very rich because they eat no meat. This, plus the fact that they drive very large cars and either wear white clothes or no clothes at all, accounts for their stunning business acumen.

There is a kind of poetic justice about being filthy rich but condemned to walk around in your birthday suit, eating nothing but salad.

The taxi arrives. There are four of us: David and I, Febry and her friend Toby. We have booked for a large car. What arrives is probably the smallest car in Delhi, aside from Tuktuks.

Empty roads. The only people out on the streets belong to the species homo colourfulus. Red faces, yellow faces, multi-coloured faces Ö Quite a few are very definitely drunk. As convoys of motorbikes carrying multiple passengers kick up the dust around us I am reminded of a spaghetti western. A tuktuk lurches across a junction, four guys standing, leaning out, dancing and swinging their arms wildly in celebration. Struggling to keep the three-wheeler upright, the driver clings the handlebars with the grim look of a condemned man.
Created On  4 Mar 2018 21:55  -  Permalink
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Trip to India 2018 - Part 3: Birds, Butterflies & Punjabi Rap

Trip to India 2018 - Part 3: Birds, Butterflies & Punjabi Rap
Today we are visiting Karm Marg, an ashram 12 miles out of Delhi.

Enough traffic talk except to say that today is the first day of Holi Festival so actually there is comparatively little traffic on the roads. In next to no time we are in the countryside. The village of Kheri Kalan does deserve a special mention for the highest and nastiest sleeping policemen I have yet Ďenjoyedí. I lose count of how many times my head actually hits the roof of the car. We have almost arrived, according to the Ola map (a local variation on Uber), when we find our path blocked by a huge water or sewage pipe. The pipe is surrounded by villagers, male and female, who are busy digging and shifting earth. 

Having got advice from a stander-by we turn round. A big detour round the village takes us past a lake complete with ibis. Dozens of roadside cows chew lazily as we pass. Eventually we reach a narrow track leading to the open countryside and, last stop on the left, a colourful gate and the words "Karm Marg Ė Chritable SocietyĒ. (yes, it does read Chritable).
Created On  3 Mar 2018 22:19  -  Permalink
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Trip to India 2018 - Part 2: The day Taja 8 met a ghost

Trip to India 2018 - Part 2: The day Taja 8 met a ghost
Q. What do camels and elephants have in common?

A. You find both of them on the wrong side of the road walking in the fast lane on dual carriageways in India.  

Today we are spending a second day at Tara, Tara has been a Fair Trade company for over 40 years, even longer than Shared Earth has been around Ö They supply us with jewellery, stoneware, bike chain giftware and more.
Created On  1 Mar 2018 12:41  -  Permalink
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Trip to India 2018 - Part 1: Traffic and "Fork Handles"

Trip to India 2018 - Part 1: Traffic and
A first visit to a new country is always a mixture of excitement and trepidation. What will I experience? Will I get ill? This visit to meet our many suppliers in India is no exception. Five days into our journey I have a few moments to walk you through.

First of all, being ill. I can write this now because I feel much better, thank you. I had succumbed to Delhi Belly within twelve hours of arriving. Yes, I know, pathetic. You rush back and forth from what is politely called the washroom feeling stupid; your body has let you down and you cannot focus properly on the task in hand. Thankfully the world has invented Immodium and within six hours I was feeling better. 

So, my angry bowels out of the way, letís talk about what David and I are doing in India.

Working with a Fair Trade company we are here to meet the producers and suppliers of a huge and varied range of craft products from across India. Every day starts with a car journey. There appear to be no useful maps of Delhi and only occasional pavements. There are tuktuks but only chain smokers would appreciate what tuktuks do to your lungs.
Created On  26 Feb 2018 21:08  -  Permalink
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My First Trip to India

My First Trip to India "Never again,Ē I said to Jeremy (Shared Earth MD) after our trip to Bali. "Itís too far, I canít cope with the heat.Ē I was adamant that me and trips abroad were a one-off. An experience of a lifetime, not to be sullied by excessive time spent in airport departure lounges with swollen ankles, and yet, here I am sitting in my hotel room in New Delhi, with the air conditioning blasting out, eternally grateful to be granted this experience once again.

I have never been to India. Iíve seen it on TV, Iíve heard other peopleís accounts, Iíve read all our producer stories and yet nothing was quite enough to prepare me for what I was seeing first hand; it really is a different world.

Created On  24 Apr 2017 13:58  -  Permalink
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Caitlin Moves to York!

Caitlin Moves to York! Hey Iím Caitliń-rose, you may recall my last post about Crystals.

Today Iím going to talk about a major life change Iíve undertakenÖ Moving to York!

I moved up from my hometown (the absolutely amazing Liverpool which I will always love) to the stunning city of York around the second week of September, my main reason for moving was to make the most of a brilliant opportunity offered to me by Shared Earth, to progress into a full time role, and also to satisfy my wanderlust, I adore travelling! Conveniently, the tenancy on my flat was coming to an end anyway so it seemed like it was just meant to be!

Created On  7 Apr 2017 13:25  -  Permalink
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A Visit to Meelarp Ceramics in Lampang

A Visit to Meelarp Ceramics in Lampang

We didnít see wild elephants today but there was a chance we might and on wildlife treks that is often as good as it gets.

We werenít trekking to be fair, this is a business trip to Meelarp Ceramics in Lampang, 95km from Chiangmai. The road cuts through mountains and forest which make up one of Thailandís nature reserves. Between them Chiangmai and Lampang have 13 nature reserves.

The heat was intense; without air-conditioning Jeremy and I would have made a good impression of chickens browning in a rotisserie.

Created On  8 Mar 2017 15:20  -  Permalink
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On a Buying Trip in Thailand Ė Chakuchat Market in Bangkok

On a Buying Trip in Thailand Ė Chakuchat Market in Bangkok

Buying trips are nothing but hard, hard grind. Honestly. And the occasional wonderful meal Ö particularly in Thailand.

We spent two days at Chakuchat Market in Bangkok, remaking contact with existing producers and seeking out new contact and products.

Imagine pacing backwards and forwards in a 4 kilometre long sauna while pushing past 200,000 shoppers and a million different products and you will get the gist of it. The market is 1.1 square kilometres in size (27 acres for farmers out there) and contains 15,000 different stalls. Plants, t-shirts, incense, jewellery, art, dream catchers, lighting, cuddly toys, carvings, electrical products, kitchenware, pencils, candles Ö the list is endless.

Created On  6 Mar 2017 10:22  -  Permalink
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Christmas at Shared Earth Ė Getting the Windows Right

Christmas at Shared Earth Ė Getting the Windows Right As you can imagine, Christmas is a super important time of year. Christmas sales are what drives you through into the next year and keeps you going during the quieter months. Itís also the time of year you donít have to persuade people to part with money, they want to.. itís just whether itís in your store or not that is the issue. That is why shops go all out for their windows to be the best dressed Christmas windows around to drive people into their stores and Shared Earth is no exception.
Created On  17 Nov 2016 16:33  -  Permalink
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Shared Earth in top 40 exhibitors at Autumn Fair 2016, NEC Birmingham

Shared Earth Wholesale is delighted to have been picked by Business and Industry Today as one of the top 40 exhibitors at the Autumn Fair at the NEC, Birmingham this year!

Business and Industry Today gave the following review:

"Shared Earth was one of the pioneers of Fair Trade in the UK, opening its first shop in York in 1986, and starting to wholesale to other retailers in 1992. Its founder Jeremy Piercy is also very concerned about environmental issues, and recycled and sustainable products are to the fore. These include not just recycled paper and glass, but many ranges unique to Shared Earth, such as best selling bicycle chain products from India, bags made from cement sacks from Cambodia, and recycled tin from Madagascar.

Created On  29 Oct 2016 15:37  -  Permalink
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