Tuesday, 16 November 2010

La Chocolatada

La Chocolatada (a hot chocolate fiesta), our third fund raiser, has been a huge success.
I think it will now become an annual event in our community here in southern Spain. Next year we'll have it on a Sunday, so the supermarket owners and other shopkeepers who so kindly donated produce and gifts for the raffle can come too.
Isn't it extraordianry how something can start as just a tiny little idea in your mind one day, and then hey presto, it manifests into a huge group activity, involving a few hundred people. And then magically, something gets triggered in the hearts of others, and good will flows freely, abundantly, and beautifully.

Of course on the big day there were small things that could be improved, and they will be next year. These were nearly all my little blips ! I forgot to assign a team to make the hot chocolate! It was on my list, but it didn't get ticked. How could anybody be so forgetful ? I mean, a hot chocolate morning and no hot chocolate makers !!
Trooper-Piluka came to the rescue and told hair raising tales afterwards about running in and out of the restaurant next door to use their hot milk machine.

But overall, everybody seemed to have had a really great morning, and we made over 3000€.
Piluka , if somewhat frazzled, and her stoic assistant Mabel, lived to tell the tale.
Why not make it all day next time somebody said.

My intention was just to create a bubbly fun family type morning like last year, and whatever we collected money-wise would be a help in Peru. But with a new team of helpers this year, the event quickly took on a momentum of its own, and when Diane joined the team ( a recently retired professional fund raiser), we seemed to rev up a gear, and soon got talking about money spinners !

On the day, which threatened to rain but didn't, Fabio the young Brazilian clown, Gym the accordionist, and Tina and Dave the jazz duo, charmed both kids and adults. The Ecuadorian flautist arrived late but added an wonderful flavour of South America to the event, especially right at the end, which helped the clearing up become a delight rather than a chore.

The auction of favors MC'd by Chris Stewart was a huge success. The favours included riding lessons; a delicious meal for two cooked and brought to your door; a weeks free dog accommodation; a geopathic stress evaluation for your house; a reflexology session, and more. The auction drew great enthusiasm from the crowd, and the goodwill on behalf of the donors of the favours was overwhelming for me. Such kindness, such generosity, such big-heartedness, all to help thousands of little children living in dire poverty in many mountainous pockets of Peru. This was my dream to help these forgotten wee ones. How lovely it blossomed so vibrantly.

There were fantastic prizes for the raffle, including a long weekend in a beauitful sea side flat not too far away from our local town for a couple or a family of four; a stunning pastel drawing by local artist Ainsley Platt; dinner for two at the acclaimed Limonero restaurant, and many more prizes donated from local businesses.

I mustn't forget to mention the hundreds and hundreds of mouth watering cakes people brought to sell; the home made jams and chutneys; Sue's relaxing hand and on the spot head massages; and Glyns Aladin's cave of goodies. Also a 'guess the weight of the squash' stall brought in many euros. We had planned a 'human fruit machine', but this got forgotten ( by me) in the chaos of the lack of hot chocolate makers!
There were wonderful games carefully and thoughtfully organized for the kids by two young mums, all of which made for many smiles, a lot of money, and a real feeling of community.

And thank you to everybody, including all the stall holders, makers of bunting, bringers of flowers, and all the unsung acts of kindness which may have escaped mention here. I feel I need to wear a badge every time I come to town saying thank you for helping, I so hate the thought of forgetting to thank people.



So, here we are now, two weeks on, almost in mid November, and this should be day one for me of a two month trip to Peru. I wasn't on the Lima flight last night. Luckily, on Saturday I managed to change my booking just before the internet crashed for the weekend. I'll leave in almost three weeks time. This will be plenty of time to recover from the counting house incident.

The counting house incident.

After the fund raiser, I had a large stash of notes, and five boxes full of coins that were so heavy I could barely lift them. Eventually,I had to take them to the bank in the shopping trolley, but first they had to be counted.
Just over a week ago ,late at night, I sat at my kitchen table and started to count the hundreds of mainly small brown coins. I felt like the queen in her counting house. I have never ever seen or touched so many coins in my life.
After a few hours I was exhausted. I washed my hands quickly, had a snack, and fell into bed. A few hours later the stomach pains and headache started, then just like thunder approaching, the tummy rumbling arrived, then the rest I won't go into.
I obviously didn't wash my hands well enough, and the filthy lucre attached itself to me. The rest is history. The next four days were not pleasant, and since then my strength has been so depleted I feel like I've had a major operation.
The doctor said I would be very unwise to travel. I knew I couldn't, but part of me was determined to go.

I think Pluto squaring your Neptune indicated you driving yourself beyond good sense for the sake of your ideals - which worked of course, but then you had to pay the price.

This was my wise astrologer friend Pam's response to my question, why did this have to happen?
So, I surrendered, learnt my lesson, and felt huge relief.

I am exhausted yes, but not just by the fund raiser. Having three retreats guests in a row, one right after the Chocolatada was stretching myself too much. I know, I know. All the money I earned from these retreats will go to two other wonderful projects in Bolivia and Peru. This makes me forget about myself, this makes me 'work' without remembering to exercise and look after my physical body. But it's what makes my heart sing on all levels, and sometimes I pay the price with tiredness. A vision without a task is a day dream. A task without a vision is drudgery. And a vision and a task are the hope of the world. And finding balance in all of this is the key to keeping healthy.

Huge kindness and generoisty have been flowing in our area these past few weeks, and I've experienced once again what somebody said to me after the first fund raiser I organized.
'When you help somebody else it puts a smile on their face, and a glow in your heart.'

Yes. Tired, but glowing with gratitude.

Thank you everybody out there.

And get well very soon Val, we missed you very much.