The Dougs Say Goodbye and Farewell Pakistan

Doug and master designer
Chohan, master rug designer at Bunyaad, with Doug Dirks.

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.

Pakistani children.
Friendly, enthusiastic kids from rug making families in Chistian.
Yousaf and Afaq descending the steps on the way out of the Yousaf and Afaq walking out of Lahore Fort with crowds of friendly people on a Sunday afternoon outing.
Yousaf and Afaq descending the steps on the way out of the Yousaf and Afaq walking out of Lahore Fort with crowds of friendly people on a Sunday afternoon outing.
Even the street side shoe repair man was happy to meet us, even though he could not fix Doug Horst's shoe.
Even the street side shoe repair man was happy to meet us, even though he could not fix Doug Horst’s shoe.
Badshahi Mosque in old Lahore. Total capacity is 100,000 worshippers. Minarets are 196 feet tall.
Badshahi Mosque in old Lahore. Total capacity is 100,000 worshippers. Minarets are 196 feet tall.
Spectacular mountain scenery from Shugran, on the way back from Jared.
Spectacular mountain scenery from Shugran, on the way back from Jared.

Traffic was a bit more chaotic than we are used to but we never felt in danger. Our drivers, Ehsan and Yousaf, were safe, careful drivers and courteous to other drivers. Driving on the M2 Motorway between Lahore and Islamabad was smooth, fast and orderly. The M2 in Pakistan put the Pennsylvania Turnpike to shame.

Traffic in Lahore.
Traffic in Lahore.
The M2 Motorway between Lahore and Islamabad.
The M2 Motorway between Lahore and Islamabad.

The food was delicious and we ate our way through a wide variety of Pakistani cuisine. Street food in Lahore, Balakot, Kallar Kahar and everywhere else we stopped for a snack was especially good – pakora, jalebi, samosa, shawarma and a host of other delights were all delicious.

Roadside jalebi stand on the way to Chistian – delicious hot, sweet snacks.
Roadside jalebi stand on the way to Chistian – delicious hot, sweet snacks.

The work of Bunyaad in Pakistan is truly impressive. Fair trade at Bunyaad is alive and well. Bunyaad works with over 800 families of rug makers in more than 100 villages. These people range from families that have generations of rug making experience to brand new folks like the young women in training at the Jared Training Center. All of them need to work to properly support themselves and their families. Most do not have viable alternate job opportunities.

Fair trade at Bunyaad
is alive and well.

The relatively new members of Bunyaad in Chistian have been pushed out of the town into a new community that does not have electricity nor safe drinking water. Bunyaad choose to work with these people because they have no other work opportunities. But, they do have rug making skills that make them valuable members of the Bunyaad family. Hopefully, successful rug making will lead to better living conditions and other benefits like good education for children and access to healthcare for everyone. In the future, electricity and safe drinking water should be available to everyone.

Ghullam Mohammad with his grandkids at the new Jared Training Center.
Ghullam Mohammad with his grandkids at the new Jared Training Center.
Some of the 16 young women taking rug making training in Jared. They will be able to support themselves and contribute to their family's well-being.
Some of the 16 young women taking rug making training in Jared. They will be able to support themselves and contribute to their family’s well-being.
Ehsan, Rasoom, and Mr. Shah enjoy working together in Chistian.
Ehsan, Rasoom, and Mr. Shah enjoy working together in Chistian.

We truly can say that
Bunyaad rugs are amongst
the best in Pakistan.

The people who contract with Bunyaad to do wool dyeing and rug washing spoke highly of Bunyaad’s attention to detail, use of top quality raw materials (wool, yarn, dye), pursuit of near perfection in hand made rugs, encouragement of creativity and variety of design and desire to build strong, long-lasting relationships with everyone involved in the rug making process. We truly can say that Bunyaad rugs are amongst the best in Pakistan. As Wajid from the washing operation and Anayat from the dyeing workshop said, Bunyaad uses the best quality raw materials and produces the best quality handmade rugs made in Pakistan today.

Anayat and Yousaf are looking over Anayat's dye recipe books.
Anayat and Yousaf are looking over Anayat’s dye recipe books.
Washing a Bunyaad Chobi rug at Wajid's rug washing facility
Washing a Bunyaad Chobi rug at Wajid’s rug washing facility
Imran working on final small details of a 4 x 6 foot tree of life Persian rug.
Imran working on final small details of a 4 x 6 foot tree of life Persian rug.

When you buy a Bunyaad rug you can be confident that you now own one of the best quality handmade rugs in the world. In addition, you can feel good about the welfare of the people who made your rug in Pakistan. They were paid fairly, they were able to work in a good environment with their family and neighbors, they were able to access good education for their children and they are looking forward to a better future.

We are very grateful to Bunyaad for giving us this wonderful opportunity to meet rug makers in Pakistan. We can’t wait to return so we can visit with our new found friends all over Pakistan.

Rolling out a rug in the Bunyaad showroom that could be gracing your home someday.
Rolling out a rug in the Bunyaad showroom that could be gracing your home someday.

Thank you for joining us on this journey

We hope you’ve been enjoying the notes, experiences and photos and have been able to follow our adventures so far. In case you have missed any of our posts, here is a link to all of the stories: Read Pakistan Learning Tour

Come and visit us at any of our four year-round stores or at one of our rug events across the US and Canada to see and purchase one of these beautiful and fairly traded rugs for yourself.



3 Responses to “The Dougs Say Goodbye and Farewell Pakistan”
  1. Jane H

    Fascinating trip report Doug! Will have to send the link to my niece Meredith who lives/works in Dubai and frequently visits Lahore for her work! She’d love to visit Bunyaad.

    Reply
  2. Pauline Cober

    Doug, it’s been great to read about your trip, all the best as you continue to support Bunyaad.

    Reply
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