Day 179

Where do we stand on our projects?

Sarah:

  • Product Catalog: It is ooooooh-so-close to being done. I’m unfortunately missing some content from Yasmin and about 6 photos of Don José’s work. But I hope we can close the book (haha, get it?) on this one soon, because I can then add it to the website. Which leads me to…
  • The website: I still would like to actualize some suggestions of phase 2 and 3 of my website proposal to them. Phase 2 is all about the catalog, so that can be done pretty quickly once we complete it. The other changes include: adding a fundraising page with the PayPal account Nick set up, enhancing the volunteer page, making cosmetic updates to homepage and secondary pages, and figure out their hosting company. I have a feeling we’re going to need to migrate that to a different company.
  • Feria de Comercio Justo: One project that Susana and Yasmin said they’d really appreciate help with is with the signage and other collateral for the Fair Trade Fair in November. It should be pretty simple; I’ve created some preliminary designs that they like.
  • Brand Style Guide: They’d love a style guide that dictates how to use their new corporate image, especially as new volunteers join. MY FAVORITE, of course!
  • Video of Oscar: This isn’t a rush, but we captured Oscar’s story this week, and I’ll need to create that video to put up on the website.
  • Design of the Women Empowerment Model: This is getting translated to English, so I will then put it in a designed template with their branding. Almost like a WMP whitepaper!
  • Configure Google Drive: I’d love for them to be able to use Google Drive for their storage of files, and not carry around two external hard drives. I think it will help make things easier as they are constantly searching for files that are on those drives.
  • A nice process book: Susana has always wanted a nice “coffee table” book on the process of dying wool for business meetings. I’ve gotten a lot of the legwork done for the catalog, so it will be filling out the information a bit more for a nice presentation.
  • Misc. small requests: Postcards of popular products for artisan fairs, new bag designs, a volunteer onboarding kit, lots of things! None of these things are super urgent or time-consuming, so I’ll plan on tackling these one-by-one throughout the rest of the year .

Nick:

  • International Folk Art Market Application: I submitted it last week! Woot woot! We won’t hear back until Nov 15-Dec 31, but I think the foundation has a good chance of being selected. Unfortunately, I’m not holding my breath in terms of getting them all the financial support needed for it – as the IFAM committee informed me that they normally only provide financial assistance to one person per application (and we were hoping for 3), but we’ll see what happens. There are other ways for the foundation to get some funds in Chile for these types of purposes. Anyways we’re hoping this works out because Sarah and I would love to go to the Market next July if Chol Chol is there to attend!
  • Volunteer Onboarding: Things have been good in this area. We got some recent inquiries from volunteers with some quality work experience. I’m going to be transitioning this back to Susana, but still willing to help vet those that are primarily English-speakers. But I think we’ve elevated the game in this space.
  • Patagonia Grant: Another thing I’ve started to work on is a grant from the clothing company, Patagonia. They award grants less than $15,000 so it’s not a huge amount, but could help some projects with the Foundation. Since the Patagonia grants only support environmental causes, we needed to be strategic in what we focus on, so we’ll be seeking funds to help bring back a native plant to the region that is used by weavers for red dyes. We’re just in the beginning stages, so this will be a project that will follow me back to Chicago a little bit. There is a deadline of August 31, so it won’t drag on forever.
  • UniversalGiving.org Portal: I have been working with this organization for a while to get Chol Chol access to their site. There has been lots of back and forth and much vetting from the organization on Chol Chol’s operations. I’m happy to report that just earlier this week we got approval, so Chol Chol is able to leverage their network! Hopefully this provides some funds and potential volunteers down the line.
  • Women Empowerment Model: One suggestion we provided to Arturo during our final dinner with him was that they should get their women’s empowerment model professionally translated to English so that it can increase their chances of receiving grants down the line. They took our suggestion and ran with it. Apparently the English translation is almost ready and I’ve offered to give it another look through to ensure it reads well in English. So this will still be on my plate this summer. Who knows, maybe I can get some interns to help?
  • Other Projects: Still trying to get Chol Chol linked with The Little Market, and communications with them have been continuous but slow. I’ll continue to support as I receive emails. Additionally, Susana and the board are preparing for a big meeting on July 5 to receive/approve funding for the rest of the year. Based on how that meeting goes, it’ll help them determine how best to use funds received from the West Monroe donations. We still plan to work with them on properly planning and budgeting on how to use that money.

And finally, a bonus topic … Lemmy Update!

Story told by Nick:

It has been a while since we’ve provided an update on our beloved PT Cruiser, but here goes the final story…

So about two months ago we started posting “For Sale” posts to various Facebook groups for Lemmy. We posted for $2,500 and then dropped to $2,000 and got a good amount of interest. Unfortunately, most of the interest was from Chileans wanting to buy the car. However, a local Chilean is not legally able to drive a foreign-plated vehicle in their own country. So we needed to explain this to several people. Some people felt they could get it “imported” and re-plated to Chilean plates, but after more research, that is quite a process and actually the only way to do that is if you have been out of the country for 18 consecutive months, and you have a form saying you need the car for work purposes. (PS – our intentions were to donate the car to the foundation, but alas, these processes got in the way, so they wouldn’t be able to take Lemmy). Needless to say, it didn’t work for anyone. Long story short, we were coming up dry a bit for eligible candidates. After looking into some local used parts dealers in the area (sad to think about), we just decided to drop the price to $1,000 and see what happens.

Well, $1,000 got a lot of people’s attention. We had many people reaching out to us, but it was finally a Thomas K on Facebook that peeked our interest. He was a foreigner living in Argentina, and he was interested in coming to Temuco, to pick the car up on the date that we needed. He was adamant that he wanted the car and could pay for it. Based on some additional vetting, we decided that we’d trust our luck with him and start working through the process.

We exchanged emails a few times back and forth (of course, the name on the email is not Thomas, but it’s Anastacia), and start to agree on time and place for the exchange. They provide me with the necessary information for me to create a poder (if you recall, we need to create a poder which says these new people have the legal authority to drive the vehicle), and in so doing, they ask that the car be made to an Erik (so now that’s the third name). I finally call them out for all the different names and they give a perfectly reasonable answer: Thomas K is a friend who found the car – so they communicated through his page originally, Anastacia is the wife, and Erik is the husband. Okay, works for us, we need to sell the car.

Well, a bit of a side track story, but getting the poder is a pain in the butt because we need to get a bunch of information into a legal-looking document with a bunch of information and it needs to be in Spanish. Then Sarah and I need to sign the document in front of a notary. Well, going to a notary in a Spanish speaking country is daunting. Luckily, Juan Manuel and Mily to the rescue! We first share the poder with Juan Manuel – who’s sister-in-law, to our surprise – is a notary! Win! However, after they look over the poder they say, “this is shit” and we have to re-write it. Also, the poder is a bit more technical than Juan Manuel’s sister felt comfortable signing, so she suggests we go to a notary down the street. Okay! We print up a new versions that night and then go to the notary the next day. Luckily, Mily goes to that notary all the time for various business purposes, so she’s friends with all the people. Long story short (and after about 90 minutes there), Mily and Juan Manuel helped us to get the poder notarized. Of course, it’s not done, as we need to get the poder apostilled – or further approved by the local government that the notary we went to was legit. So Sarah and I run down to the only place in town that does this (and is closing in 20 minutes) and we get it signed. (Side note, the address for this government building was 099 Vicuna McKenna. We couldn’t find the building at first because we were looking for 99 Vicuna McKenna. Apparently, only on this street, but 0 means negative, so we were two blocks away, and luckily got there in time before it closed). Paperwork finished!

So now we had everything we needed to give to the new owners, we just needed to agree on date/time for them to come here. They were coming from Bariloche and taking a bus (duh, they don’t have a car). Only one bus from Bariloche to Temuco per day and it arrives at 12:30 am. Therefore, they suggested they arrive late on Monday night and would just meet us Tuesday morning. That worked perfectly for us. We wouldn’t need the car on Tuesday and were just going to the museum that day. We agreed on a 9-10 a.m. meet-up no Tuesday morning. The stars were aligning.

Tuesday arrives. Sarah and I make sure we’re ready by 9 a.m. as they could call us at any moment and say they are at the apartment (PS – we are in a building with many units and 24-hour door person, so it’s fine we gave them the address – makes it easier for us). Well, 10 a.m. comes and goes… then 11 … I finally get an email from them saying they overslept and they will be right over (well, they did send me an email saying they got to Temuco at like 2 a.m. so we’ll excuse the sleepy heads). Iit takes them an hour to get over and so it’s about noon when they arrive. We were expecting a wife and husband. Surprise – we get a wife, husband, and three kids all under the age of 4. We now understand why it took them so long to get over here – three kids is a lot. Anyways, they arrive and we already have the car pulled out of the garage. The husband doesn’t speak great English, but the wife does. I give him the keys to start inspecting whatever he wants to inspect. He comes back and says some fluids are leaking. I say, “yah, they probably are, the car is 15 years old”. They then claim that this is not the original odometer and there is no way it only has 78,000 miles. I tell them it’s the original, but that I can’t prove it, and honestly, I don’t care whether it is or not. Bottom line, the car is $1,000 and they came here for it, and it is exactly as advertised. We even gave it a car wash and filled up the gas tank because we are good people. They keep wanting to haggle, but clearly you can tell the wife just wants to take it. Meanwhile, we’re all standing out in the cold (their kids included), it’s raining and I just want this to be done because we’re running late for a meeting with Susana.

We go back and forth a bit, he is committed to showing me the leak – and I’m committed to reminding him there is probably a leak, and I trust him, and that I’m not a mechanic. They are concerned about safety, and I told them they should be – we were concerned as well when we got the car. I told them they should take it to a mechanic and have them look at it and fix whatever needs to be fixed – however, I told them we did that process 6 months ago and gave them the work order that showed the $600 in repairs that were made. Long story short, I tell them they can have it for $900 if they agree to mail us back the license plates (#memories) once they get it re-registered. They agree. They can enjoy their $100 (minus license place shipping fees). I just wanted this to be done.

Well, now the payment process has to happen. They wanted to do a Western Union transfer – and earlier in the week actually sent us a “test” payment of $1.52 and it worked. Well, they said they needed to use their computer to make the payment. They said they could do it now, or do it later. Regardless of them being late and the guy further haggling us, we were pretty trusting of them and were prepared to just say “yes, we trust you” (especially because we were running late to the foundation). Well, I was trusting until the guy basically makes a joke saying, well if we don’t pay now and then crash it we probably won’t pay (or something along those lines). Okay, well now I no longer trust them. So, I suggest to Sarah that she take the wife to our apartment and then they can fire up a laptop and get this payment going. Well they translate that to meaning to invite the whole damn family up to our apartment. So I follow them all up (not having Sarah alone with them). Well they take the stroller and all up there. We walk into the apartment and first thing the guy does is just take one of their kids into our bathroom along with a new diaper. Yup, completely unannounced he just starts changing one of the kids in the bathroom. The wife is like “oh, is that okay if he does that?” … sure, lady. Make yourself at home.

It takes them literally 15 minutes before a laptop is even pulled out of a bag. They cannot connect to our wifi for some reason. So we grab Sarah’s laptop and get her to start working on that. They are pulling up the Western Union site and it’s being slow in transferring and timing out. They have now probably been in our apartment for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, they are asking us a bunch of questions on best routes to get back to Argentina. Um, did they not research this at all? I suggest to them to take the Hua Hum pass (what we did two weekends ago) since it’s the lowest elevation and won’t be closed. Well, we look up the boat schedule and those boats are left for the day. They then ask what other routes to take. I’m like “there are like 7 passes to take and they are all high elevation and will require chains for the tires, etc.” I do a bunch of back and forth with them and bottom line, I tell them they need to hurry up because we’re late. Well, the website continues to time out, so we don’t get anything transferred at the moment. Then at the end, the wife asks us what happens if they cannot cross the border… Um, not my problem. I previously told them the best way to do this, but they wanted a different approach. I’m just selling them the car and I’ve provided them everything they needed to get out of Chile, no promises on them getting into Argentina with the car. It takes them another 10-15 minutes to pack up their stroller and get back downstairs. It’s about 1:30 pm now when I finally give them the keys and tell them we need to leave.

Long story short, we did not get paid at this point, we won’t know if they actually will pay us in the next day or so. I could tell the wife was pretty frustrated that the website wasn’t working, and she felt really bad that we didn’t have proof of the money transfer (to be fair, they could show us proof and then just cancel it after they left anyways). I basically tell them if you cannot trust a husband/wife with three kids under 4 years old then you cannot trust anyone. Also, I have a lot of their personal information (e.g., passport details), so it’s best not to screw us over. So this experience basically ended with me shooing them out of our parking lot (it’s gated) and telling them that I expect $900 within the next couple days. It was a very annoying experience, and we didn’t even get a fun “goodbye” picture with Lemmy.

Anyways, we had many lovely experiences with Lemmy. We just didn’t have a great first or last experience with him. However, we love him, and hopefully is treated well.

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