‘Twas the night before the Fellowship…
After a relaxing evening in a crazy dome structure we found on Airbnb in Chillan, Chile, we hit the road to head down to Temuco, where we’ll be staying for the duration of our Fellowship. The drive was about 3 hours, so of course, we pre-downloaded Hamilton on Spotify and blasted it on the car ride down. When we arrived in Temuco, we got into our apartment, did some grocery shopping, and unpacked since we’ll be in this apartment for the next four weeks (we’ll share more details on the apartment later this week once we figure everything out).
Up until this point, Sarah and I have been basically on holiday vacation – enjoying various destinations in Chile – spending too much money, dining out all the time, being tourists, etc. It’s been great. But like many of our trips, near the end we get that feeling of being ready to be home. However, this time it’s different. We don’t get to go home to Chicago. Instead, we were excited to get to our new (temporary) home in Temuco. And in most instances, after we get home, we unpack and get ready to head to work. Well, this is no different, except for the minor detail that we head to a different “employer” tomorrow (oh, and that employer primarily speaks a different language).
I’d say that Sarah and I are both anxious and eager to get started. We aren’t really sure what to expect tomorrow, but we’ve been in contact with the Executive Director at Chol-Chol (Susana), and she’s planning to have a translator join us for the first two weeks so we can be as effective as possible to start (which is relieving). But that also adds a bit of pressure. Susana knows that we have a good amount of work experience and therefore we need ensure we get the most out of the translator. These two weeks will be huge.
We have gotten the following question a lot from friends/colleagues: “So, what will you actually be doing for them?”. To be honest, we aren’t entirely sure. At this point, we’ve shared with Chol-Chol a bit of our skill sets and we’re letting them take it a bit from there. Until Sarah and I get to better understand the daily operations and the projects at hand, we are trusting them to deploy us where they most need us.
We received an email from Susana two days ago, much of which was information to prepare for our first day. In addition to telling us about the translator for the first two weeks, Susana also took stab at detailing what she thought each of us could do during our time. Below, I present you with the super official google translation version of what she emailed us. Needless to say, I think we have our work cut out for us:
- Improving institutional website. Taking into account that is in WordPress and we need to enhance its functionality; making it more dynamic in connection with applications, videos, networks. With activation of catalog products within it. (It is self-administered and we cannot use it very well. So we have not taken advantage and if there are flaws programming, we support the company that structured waiting for us to tell where to intervene).
- Update on platforms (English) associated: volunteer – WFTO – campaigns – Google for Nonprofits account, which is a project that we won in 2015 and did not take advantage (see if we force).
- Advice on the institutional corporate image: message we seek to project, protocols publications on social networks. Support us with a line of graphic design / digital material: photographs, audiovisual, among others, which is transversal to our employees.
- Advice on the improvement as a social enterprise, resulting in funding strategies and institutional strengthening. Considering define the relevance of obtaining economic sustainability of The Foundation by: Grants – grants – funding partnerships.
- Support in the interpretation and link for connecting artisans or foundation in cultural spaces in USA: Museums Fair 2020 Santa Fe or other – support Sandra San Martin Scholarship for nomination to National Museum of the American Indian / Artisan Leadership Award. (Investigate whether this program is still in force or similar)
- Support software installation inventory for Fair Trade shop we have in the Regional Museum of Araucania and review of administrative inefficiencies.
- The IDB offered us the opportunity to increase the visibility of the Foundation and must be applied with information on this platform. If you can help us there would be fantastic because it requires putting a strategic project as a basis to potential financiers.
** In addition we will accompany you on field trips for CJ monitoring, visit craft workshops, activities that are added on a daily basis …
Honestly, the bullets above are a bit overwhelming. While Sarah and I are experienced, we’re not necessarily sure we’re experienced in the areas listed above (oh, and I have no idea what any of the acronyms are haha). But we’re going to take this one day at a time. I keep reminding Sarah (and also reminding myself at the same time), that we will make a difference. Yes, we aren’t that great at Spanish, but we’re hard workers and we’ll find a way to make a positive difference for this organization and those that it supports. What is also important to remember is that we have the support of West Monroe behind us. So for anyone at West Monroe reading this, please feel free to let us know if you’re an expert of anything listed above :).
After over a year of communicating with Chol-Chol, and multiple years or planning, it’s crazy to think that it starts tomorrow. Go time!