I’ve gone to the work site two days now. The days are very long and tiring. We leave here at about 8:30 am and get to the industrial park at 10:30 to 11. The ride is really turbulent, as you can probably imagine the roads here are not maintained like the ones in the States. Plus traffic is pretty bad. There are large buses crammed full of people, cars, rickshaws, little motorized carts, and people on foot. Have you ever considered driving on the shoulder of the road to pass everyone? Well here, people do that. Our driver did it yesterday…and all I could think was “that isn’t fair for the people who are waiting in line!” No one limits themselves to the roads.
I’ve had two orientation days so far, and have my last one tomorrow. I’ve been going on tours of all the factories and seeing all of the processes. I’ve read about all of this stuff before in school, but it is totally different to see it in person. The machines are huge and loud, and the factories are about as hot as you would imagine. For the most part, all of the people showing me around have been friendly…a few rushed me through or seemed to not want to do it. The language barrier is frustrating me. It’s very hard to want to communicate with someone, without being able to. Whether it’s me trying to understand their english, or them trying to understand mine. I wish I knew some of their language, it’s pretty unfair that mine is automatically what they’re expected to speak to me in. A couple people have tried to teach me some Bengali words: “hurry up” and “uncle”…haha, but I butchered both badly.
My favorite part has been seeing the weaving machines. It’s awesome to see fabric being formed right before your eyes. Also seeing the treatments done to denim…there is SO much handwork gone into each piece, it’s crazy. I was told that it takes one 8 hour shift to complete 5 pieces…if I remember right, that was denim that had tearing on it. While we were walking through, I saw a pile of Calvin Klein jeans ready for treatment; all I could think was “$$”.
In the denim factory, I was abandoned by my guide for about 10 minutes so I took a couple pictures. To the left is the warp yarn dyeing machine in the first picture, and in the second that is the yarns after dyeing being separated and rolled onto a barrel which will then be taken to the weaving area where it will become denim!
I’ve walked around the site a little bit now, it’s really nice…there are plants and trees all over. For lunch, the interns can eat for free at the guest house…which is where visiting buyers go to eat as well. It’s very nice there, there’s a view of a fountain with swans wandering around. The food is pretty good too, lot’s of rice!
It seems like JCPenney is one of Beximco’s most important customers. Most of the fabric I saw being weaved was for them, and there was a blown up picture on the wall of a hallway showing the CEO when he had come to visit the factory…that was pointed out to me. I’m going to be working for the JCPenney account. My orientation is over by 4, so today I got to do a little work. I cut some fabric and took it to the sample room to have leg panels made. I was very intimidated by this because I had never been there and when I found someone to ask to do them for me…they were asking me what length, and how many of each I wanted…and I had no clue. I was able to find out and get them started, but today is the first time I really noticed how people stare at me.
When I walk, I normally look down or just don’t pay attention or make eye contact with people…so it’s easy not to notice when someone is looking at me. Today whenever I went into a new section of the factory, the workers would all turn and watch me. I don’t know how they feel toward me so I don’t know how to react myself. I don’t know if they are just curious, if they like foreigners or if they don’t. Some of the guards that hold open the doors have been saluting when I walked by them as well, that’s really weird. There is absolutely no reason for anyone to salute; to me of all people.
I did a little bit of sketching today, I drew some back pocket ideas for jeans. The design studio is badly set up. There is SO much stuff crammed into the room and there are not enough desks. I’ve been sitting with a designer and another intern, on the opposite side of their table…and I am in the way. People have a hard time getting by me, but there’s no where else for me to go. Tomorrow my new roommate starts, and next week there will be another intern…I’m interested to see how we are all going to fit. Hopefully that will change soon, I would like some space of my own to work…where I don’t need to worry about being in the way.
Both yesterday and today, we left a little bit after 7…so we got home between 9:30 and 10. So I get about two hours to eat, shower, and relax…then it’s all repeated again the next day. I’ve only done two days, but I am already looking forward to the weekend! Hopefully I can adjust to this quickly.