My last blog was back in October before I travelled off to Australia and New Zealand for my annual fundraising trip. My first destination was Melbourne, Australia. There I connected with Jason (Australian director), Dale (Operations manager of The Final Step Cafe) and the Oz volunteer team (group of legends helping out with event coordination) and we planned and executed two fundraising events. Our first event was our Latte Art Competition at Maker Fine Coffee in Richmond. See a few photos of the night "here"
Our second event was our fundraiser/auction night at Top Paddock Café in Richmond. See a few photos of the night "here"
Good news from our social enterprise cafe, The Final Step. The suburb, South Yarra, where the café is located is growing rapidly. The number of apartment blocks that have been constructed, and are in construction within the suburb is ridiculous! What this means is that there are plenty of customers around to buy coffee, so business is going well. A special thanks to Jason and Dale who are doing an amazing job keeping the café ticking over, not to mention the staff too. The coffee was tasting spectacular! Keep up the fantastic work with the coffee roasting Maker Fine Coffee.
From Melbourne I flew to Auckland New Zealand. I went to visit St Johns Primary School who did a mission day for us in 2014 and raised some money for Food for Thought. It is the school that my cousin sends her children to. So, I popped in there to say thanks to the teachers and the kids. I gave a small talk about our organisation and took a couple of music lessons with a couple of the classes. Big thumbs up St Johns.
I also visited a class of Spanish students at Northcote College. They are organising a trip to Buenos Aires in April, and their teacher, Susan, contacted me to see if they could come and visit the project for a day. The class will come to Food for Thought and participate in a games and activity day with the kids. I stopped in there to meet the class, give a little talk about the project and see how we can make the most of their day at Food for Thought in April.
I believe that it is extremely important to make the project as accessible as possible to schools and young people from all around the world. It is not only greatly beneficial to the kids in Monte Chingolo in having contact with young people from different parts of the world and from different cultures, but also to the young people who get to know of the project to see and feel the environment and circumstances within which many young people around the world live. It is also great to involve young people so that they can contribute and understand that their drop in the ocean can make a difference.
From Auckland I travelled to my home town of Alexandra in the south of New Zealand. There I connected with my family and the NZ volunteer team to organise and execute our music festival ‘The Little Big Day Out’. See a few photos of the event "here"
I also engaged in a little project with my dad and nephew. We were donated a large bouncy castle that had a few holes in it. We patched it up, cleaned up an old trailer of dad’s, and constructed a system for the 200 kilo castle to be lifted from and onto the trailer. See a few photos of the process "here"
The idea is to lease out the bouncy castle as a fundraiser for Food for Thought. We also received a signed All Blacks jersey of the 2017 team (My sister works for Adidas. Thanks Steph!) which we raffled off for a good little bit of $$
After all of that, I had time to relax with the family for Christmas and New Years. Nothing like time at home with the family to recharge the batteries!!
I have usually found the transition from little ol Alexandra to big ol Buenos Aires a little difficult. This year to make the transition a little easier, instead of kicking off with a crash and a bang, I travelled to the Córdoba province to spend a week in nature before the engaging in the hustle and bustle of the big smoke. I visited a few friends and helped a German lady in the construction of her mud house. Now here we are, back in Buenos Aires planning the big year to come.
We received some funding from a local bank to improve our infrastructure, so currently the venue for Food for Thought is a building site. I can’t wait for it to be finished because it will truly help us in providing better support for the community.
Current workshops that are continuing despite the construction are: Samba Reggae – percussion and dance, Athletics, Hockey, Metal work, and Gardening. We will be starting up other activities and the kitchen when the construction is complete. There are various stages of the construction, so we will use certain classrooms when they come available.
So here we come 2018. Watch this space...