Day 139

Quick Updates at the Foundation!

It’s been a good week back at the Foundation, now that Dia de Comercio Justo is over, which has allowed us to refocus back onto some of our remaining projects. Here are some quick happenings!

Another Artisan Wants a Video – Now that Sarah had officially finished all of the videos for the QR code project, she was finally ready to move on from all the video editing she has focused on. Of course, as a result of last Friday’s event, an artisan that was present saw the videos and expressed that he would like one done for him as well. I think we were both curious why one wasn’t completed for him before, as he’s a member of Rakizuam, but we just assumed that he didn’t want one. Welp, time to get another one scheduled and completed in the coming weeks.

Adventures of a New Volunteer – As we’ve alluded to in prior posts, there is a new volunteer that has started with the Foundation as of last week. He’s from France, and is really nice. He speaks decent English, but his Spanish is pretty elementary (which we think he was advertised to the Foundation has having a little more, but he’s doing well and trying hard). Anyways, we have been driving him home from the foundation since he lives a little outside of town, but it’s on our way home – this way, he doesn’t have to wait for the bus at the end of the day. On his first day, we drove him to the foundation to ensure he knew where he was going etc. We have since offered to drive him in the mornings as well, but he has insisted that the bus is really easy and he’ll opt for that to get to the Foundation. Well, this week, when we arrived to the Foundation at our normal 10:30 a.m. time, we came to find out that the volunteer arrived around 8:30 a.m. (whoops!). No one shows up that early. Apparently, Google Maps said it’d take 1.5 hours, but he got there in about 20 minutes. So, I guess it’s better to be early than late! Well, the second day, he arrived around 11:30 a.m. Apparently, he took the bus to the town of Chol Chol (not to be confused with the Chol Chol Foundation, which, ironically enough, is not located in Chol Chol). He got a little lost and someone from town actually drove him to the Foundation. By the third day – it seemed like he had it figured out. Fun little adventures for him, I’m sure.

Successful Wire Transfers! – The donations that we raised have officially been deposited into the Foundation’s bank account. Wahoo! We were a little concerned because it took about 2 weeks, and we were under the impression it would take less time. So after a little sweating, all is well. We’ll be working with Susana in the coming weeks to help figure out how to allocate these funds towards the artisans, projects, operating expenses, etc.

Meeting with Arturo – Arturo (head of the Chol Chol Board) was in town this past week and he wanted to meet with us. We haven’t sat down with Arturo since our 3rd day at the Foundation, so we were excited to chat with him, and discuss our experience, all that has been done, and also share with him the donation amount that had been raised (Susana did not tell him the amount, just that we were working on a donation). We met at the same café as last time, and just caught up about our experience (which has been awesome, obviously). We then got down to business and discussed the donation, some of his thoughts about how to use the funds and also about if we’d be interested in still assisting with Chol Chol once we’re back in the States. We had mixed emotions after leaving the meeting. I think we were hoping this would be a celebratory conversation and thanking us of the hard work, the donation, etc., but it was more about wanting more haha. Sarah and I talked about it a little afterwards, and if we were in his shoes, I suppose we would have done the same thing. His job is to help the Foundation as much as possible, and to never be content with what’s been done in the past. Anyways, we still need to debrief with Susana about the conversation and see what happens.

Selecting Artisans for IFAM – I’ll be focusing some of my upcoming efforts on completing an application for artisans to participate in the International Folk Ark Market, which takes place next summer in Sante Fe, New Mexico. This is a pretty prestigious event that Susana has always wanted to attend, but the application is fully in English so they’ve struggled getting it complete. Susana mentioned that she’d like Sandra and Franco to be the applicants for it – so I’ll work more with them on filling out key questions, translating and then going from there. It’s nice that they were selected because we’ve already been to Sandra’s home where their shared workshop exists. So we already have a good amount of photos that can be used for the application – not to mention the videos Sarah has created of them both!

Catalog Beginnings – The next big project for Sarah is creating a new product catalog. There is an old version, but they want it to be redesigned with the new branding, and also take new photos of all products. I helped Sarah by creating an Excel file of all the products (Spanish & English), and then we’ll also use the French Volunteer to assist as well. Apparently he has some photography skills as well, so we need to create a schedule of getting everything photographed while Sarah designs the catalog, etc. She has already created an outline that is pending review from Susana, Yasmin, and Viviana. This will be a really helpful asset for the Foundation, so I’m excited that it’s a main focus going forward.

That’s all we got for now!

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