It has been an interesting and inspiring couple of months. I spent November in Australia, December in New Zealand, a week traveling south from Misiones in the northwest of Argentina with my nephew. Now I am back in Buenos Aires preparing to start Food for Thought’s 2017 edition.
We had two events in Melbourne, Australia. Our first Australian latte art competition, and our annual fundraiser event. The latte art competition was hosted by our good friends John and Steph at Maker Fine Coffee in Richmond. The talent of the competitors was something quite spectacular! Here are a couple of photos. It bodes well for another event later this year.
Our annual Food for Thought fundraiser/action night is our main event for the year. This is our opportunity to spread the word of our work in Argentina and to fundraise a big chunk of the money that we need to function for the year. We had some beautiful performers on the night and raised some good money from auctions and raffles.
At this event I have the chance to address our supporter base in Australia. My speech was about our form of holistic education that we are developing to cater for the needs of the child as a whole. We are focusing on the true needs of children in today’s world. What we want to support is the growth of children as confident, social, and empathetic members of society. I think I will write a whole separate blog post about this. Watch this space…
I got the chance to work a few shifts at The Final Step. It’s great to see so many customers who are still supporting our social enterprise after so many years. I reminisced with customers who began buying coffee from me in 2009 and are still doing so. I still love the busy but relaxed feel of a bustling Saturday morning with the smell of freshly ground coffee and avocado, goats cheese and lime toasted bagels in the air.
Then it was off to New Zealand. Our big event in the land of the long white cloud is the Little Big Day Out music festival. This year we had 18 acts demonstrate their talents on stage. I have said it before and I will say it again. There is some amazing talent in the little town of Alexandra! We had a children’s dance group, a collaboration of children singing an old Colombian cumbia song, adult ukelele group, children’s ukulele, solo artists, and an array of bands. We doubled attendees on the previous year and we also raised a little more money, so we are getting better, slowly but surely. Then it was time to put the feet up and relax with the family over Christmas time.
At the beginning of January I came back to Argentina with my nephew Ben and went for a little bit of an adventure starting at Iguazu falls in the northwest and then making our way south to Buenos Aires over a week. We did some hitchhiking, camping, couch-surfing, 2 days in the jungle with some hippies, and a bit of time on the bus. A new experience for Ben and myself.
Now I am into the planning for the year. We have started two ambassador teams, one in Australia and one in New Zealand. Their role is to meet once every month throughout the year to assist in planning, communications, and fundraising. It is going to be a huge help for us as we have been a very small team doing a lot of work leading up to end of year events. We are a small homemade NGO trying our best to cover all areas necessary so hopefully now we can be a little more effective in doing so. A big thanks to those ambassadors who are now part of Team SOG Oceania.
We have a team meeting tomorrow before our first day with the kids on Tuesday. We will be having just two staff members, Justine and I, for at least the next 4-6 months as Valeria is expecting her baby boy Otto to arrive in a month or so. Her belly is bulging and we are all very excited for her and her partner Bernardo. She has put her heart and soul into Food for Thought, but now is her time to put her heart and soul into a different type of project.
I am truly excited about this year! We are improving every step of the way and I believe that we are also getting closer to the treasure in our quest to develop a new form of holistic education. It will be a lifelong quest, as society is forever changing and even more so rapidly these days. The question about our success lies in our ability to adapt and evolve within this swiftly changing world.