Day 60

Two months down.

Every month, we’re taking “Time Out” from the hustle and bustle of every day to think about how the last month has gone and what has changed:

Are you getting any better at Spanish?

Sarah: There are days when I feel great and that I’m making progress, especially for those interactions that we have down (like getting gas, getting groceries, etc.). But then there are those days that someone says something and I have absolutely no idea what they are saying. So it’s a roller coaster. I’m feeling much less reliant on google translate in terms of writing emails. My writing confidence has very much improved, but I hope that speaking will improve in the coming month as well.

Nick: Nope! I don’t feel I’m speaking it any better and I still lock up a lot when trying to form sentences, which is frustrating, but happens. I do feel I do a good job having conversations with the men who pump our gasoline because all I have to say is the type of fuel and “lleno” which means “full”. I’ve come to realize that you don’t have to understand the language to understand what you think they are probably saying based on common situations. For example, Sarah’s family has been with us the last couple of days, and when we have been at restaurants, we’ve been able to order food for everyone. However, the waiter may say a few sentences and we just reply with “Sí, perfecto!”. Sarah’s parents then look at us and say, “What did he say?” and we reply with, “No idea, but assume it’s just normal waiter talk.”

How’s Lemmy doing?

Nick: Great! Currently driving (as Sarah is typing up my responses). It feels like a new vehicle ever since we got him a car wash and I thoroughly scrubbed the inside from all the dust from our artisan travels. He is keeping us on our toes with a potential issue as he has stalled twice on us; once while pulling into the garage and one at a toll station, but he started up after. So we’re keeping an eye on that. Lastly, on a road trip with Sarah’s family, the battery on their rental car died and I immediately thought to myself of the two cars we were driving, I didn’t think it would be their car (a rental with less than 15,000 kilometers on it) that would be causing issues. #InLemmyWeTrust

Did you guys adopt a puppy yet?

Sarah: We came very, very close, haha, but no. This is the year of the dog, though.

What’s your favorite Chilean food?

Sarah: I would have to say my favorite Chilean food is sopaipillas. I could eat a sopaipilla at any time of the day. It can be sweet, it can be savory, it’s quite versatile. A close second is humitas, or a tamale-like dish with mashed corn and meat/cheese filling wrapped in leaves. They are like little packages of happiness.

Nick: Kuchen. Though we haven’t had it ton, every time we’ve had it, it’s been delicious. Kuchen is a german-influenced dessert cake made with fruits. It’s consistency is somewhat similar to cheesecake.

What has been your primary focus at the foundation the last month?

Sarah: I’ve been able to cross some things off the list this month. I’ve completed almost 7 artisan videos and we’re continuing to film more every week. I successfully migrated their email to the gsuite, although I’m not sure how much they actually use it. (They continue to use their personal emails for communication). Along with that, I’ve created their social media strategy and am beginning to post on channels 2x a week to build their brand. We’re in the final stages of choosing a new logo, though it’s not over the goal line just yet. And I’ve created invitations and banners for an event being held at the foundation next week for International Women’s Day.

Nick: Since I’ve been accompanying Sarah on all of the artisan visits, my primary focus has been to drive us safely to all of the locations haha. However, when at the locations, I focus on asking the artisans about their processes; how long it takes them to spin wool and make their products. Additionally, I have been in charge of the three Brazilian volunteers, ensuring they have projects to do, answering questions, and helping them make progress.

What are you looking forward to the most next month?

Sarah: Next month, I’m hoping I can make some progress on their website and online catalog. I also want to create a page to house all the content about the weavers. With the website improvements, I’m hoping that I can improve the donation portal as well. And once we get the logo finalized, I can look into getting the labels created for the items in the museum store.

Nick: I’m excited to see how International Women’s Day goes; it will be great to see many of the artisans get together and celebrate their accomplishments. The foundation keeps joking (I hope) that they want me to have some sort of speaking role at the event. I think they enjoy my reaction to it. It will be really nice seeing many of the artisans again after our first visits with them. Also, I believe the Foundation will be utilizing some of the new community space rooms for the celebration, so that will be exciting. They also told me that I need to light the fire in the ruka, which I refuse and am terrified because the person that lights the fire in the ruka unleases thousands of spiders that come down from the ceiling when the smoke rises. No Bueno. Additionally, I hope we can make progress on selecting a software for the store, because if we find a tool that works, that’s going to unlock a lot of work for me to do.

How many artisans have you met so far?

Sarah: We have met a lot of artisans! But as for filming for visits, we’ve gone to 12 artisans’ homes.

What are those visits really like?

Sarah: The visits are really great, I sometimes have to pinch myself that we get to do these visits every week. The artisans are so incredibly welcoming. It helps that Juan Manuel is with us and adds another layer of trust. Many times after we’re done filming, we stay and visit with them a bit. Sometimes they offer us lunch or coffee, it’s really nice. I don’t know how often they get visitors in the countryside, so I think it’s a nice experience for both sides.

Nick: Each are unique. Because we aren’t setting up the meetings, we aren’t entirely sure everything that is told to them about us and what our role is at the foundation. Therefore, we go into each visit with an open mind. Some visits have been strictly business; we’ve gone in and identified a spot to shoot, have asked questions, and left. Others have included lots of small talk, tours of their homes, coffee, tea, to full course meals, and even opportunities for them to take pictures with the gringos. The visits themselves have all been very enjoyable, however, the quality of the roads to and from many of their houses has definitely increased my blood pressure at times.

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