Sunday, 22 December 2013

La Chocolatada, Spain Peru Bolivia.

Thanks to so much good will, generosity and focus, we have collected over 6400€ for  five Christmas  projects  for children in Peru an Bolivia. Little did I know seven years ago - when I first arrived in Chile - I would become a fund raiser.

Christmas ...

hopes dreams fears surprises...

simple complicated religious non religious

treats... no treats...

joy... aloneness


hot chocolate in Peru


more hot chocolate in Peru

hot chocolate being made in San Pedro prison for the 350 children who live there with their dads..

San Pedro jail La Paz Bolivia...

compassion is a verb

thanks to so many friends in Spain and around the world... we  can....

bring small Christmas gifts...

some fun....

something yummy to eat...

this Christmas...

 to children who suffer extreme hardships, year round,  in Peru and Bolivia...

'When the eye becomes the heart, the heart becomes the eye.'
-Wasif Ali Wasif.

Happy New Year to all  of you who follow Drawn by a  Star. I wish I knew who you were!

And thank you to all the wonderful  local people who  have supported our  6th Chocolatada  fund raiser in Orgiva, Spain in so many ways  - and a huge thank you to the generous supporters around the world . You are amazing. Really, you  all are.   My dream that started small  has now  found a huge family.

Feliz Naviada a todos/as 

Friday, 1 November 2013

choc drops 2013

Gearing up for our 6th Chocolatada  Fund Raiser here in Orgiva Spain !
Last year we raised 5000€.

Like to help us raise more?

Have a look at the brand new website?

Chocdrops  aims to put smiles of hundreds of little faces in Peru and Bolivia this  Christmas.

Our fundraiser La Chocolatada will be on  the 7th Dec at the top campsite La Puerta de la Alpujarra, 11.00 -14.00.

Stalls, live music, Father Christmas, hot chocolate, Tombola, Fantastic Raffle,  Auction of Favors, Human Fruit Machine, Kiddies corner and much more!

The pics above:  Our 2nd fund raiser at the Molino de Benizalte in Orgiva, 2008.
Each year we have increased our total by about 500€

Like to help us give underprivileged children in Peru and Bolivia  a treat at Christmas? This is likely to be their only present.

Masses of info and pics on the brand new website,

we still have some website tweaking to plz  bear with us....

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Nicaragua minus pottery

Thanks to the Internet, my summer project has been a hop skip and a jump from a funky  pottery in Prague, to an eco community in the Nicaraguan 'jungle.'  

 Actually, read steamy tropics for  jungle !   Whether  jungle or sweltering tropics, I'm preparing myself for lots of unfamiliar animals, barking dogs, slithery beasties, and lots of torrential, tropical rain. 

  It's going to be an extremely long hop skip and jump from Granada Spain (never made it to Prague) to Granada, Nicaragua.  Then  there'll be a drive into  the sticky unknown.

Previously, anything to do with jungles seriously freaked me. Wasn't attracted.
Outdoor wildlife fine, at a bit of a distance.  Indoor wild life, no thank you.  

 Mosquitoes, scorpions, snakes - love  the  photos, love the films - but I do not love any of the above in my bedroom !  

However, something has mysteriously changed.  I seem to be 100% game to zap this life time phobia !

Every summer, apart from always eagerly learning more Spanish,  I love to immerse myself in some aspect of drawing, painting, ceramics, writing, or leaning a new skill.  Usually this requires being alongside other artists. Always it involves living communally.   Last year  I spent 3 weeks  at and arts center in the Spanish Pyrenees working on my screenplay.  This year it's going to be 3 weeks in Nicaragua, potting.

My first Internet search led me to Prague.  Two weeks of  making and decorating pots in a  funky studio with a talented teacher plus afternoon visits to colorful  local places, home stay or hostel.  Sounded wonderful. 

 Expensive and complicated  to get there from here though.  

No reply to my email.

Next search: a  fab studio near Valencia,  Raku pottery, right up my street.  

No reply to my email.

OK I though, how about combining Spanish  and pottery ?

Immediately  up popped NICARAGUA. 

Learn Spanish 3 days a week, make  and decorate pots with local potters in  indigenous villages 3 days a week  Home stay. Transport, local buses.

'Si señor,' I said out loud.
' Me voy !!'  ( I'm coming)

Yeah!  Love the sound of this. The fact the journey is long, complicated and expensive didn't seem to  come into it.
Sent the email . 

No reply.

So having landed, so to speak in Nicaragua, quickly all sorts of other info arrived about this volcano studded country, I could feel the adrenalin rising. 

La Mariposa Eco School then popped up and it quickly  became a definite possibility.  No pottery though. Never mind. 
 They replied to my email immediately. A good omen I thought. 

Truth be told, my biggest longing  for this summer is to take my Spanish to another level.  A level of competence  where all those  pesky little  words  don't trip me up...... a level of confidence I  need to be able to speak to prison directors in Bolivia, and to people in Latin  American   organisations  related to my  fundraising work.  So I decided to enroll at the Mariposa Eco School ( The Butterfly School).  

I chewed on the decision for days. 
 Real adventure versus  real improvement in my Spanish?

The Eco School  offers interesting field trips  three afternoon  a week, and at weekends . I'll post their website below.  It's at the heart of an eco community set up my an extraordinary English  woman,and  it's s run entirely by local  people.   No  English is spoken. Good.

It's  going  to be awesome I know!  

  Possible challenges may be: getting bitten to death by mosquitoes, catching Dengue fever, getting bitten by a snake, devoured by scorpions, being buried alive by an erupting volcano...

Yes I am  taking sensible precautions.  

The  tropical medicine doc  gave me a great bit of info the other day: 
'Mosquitoes bite at night' he said,  'the ones  who carry the Dengy fever bite you by day.'  

Did you know that ? Double lathering of Deet during the  day then ? How many bottles will I need to take?

Having decided on La Mariposa School, the pottery school replied!  

Oh the decision was so difficult to make....

 La Mariposa came tops.  
 Sound teaching versus a real adventure into the completely unknown?    

 Maybe  week 3 I can venture into one of the  pottery villages? 

Contacts in Nicaragua ( from friends) are arriving daily.  I now have a Buddhist nun to meet;  the owner of a wonderful pizzeria in the capital to chat with; a poet-priest-sculptor to track down, an island to visit.. but  first of all I´m going to spend  3 nights with Irish Gerry in Granada- beside- the- lake, in his  hostal Casa del Agua .  
Looks lovely on the Internet !   A  friend of his will pick me up at the airport.  

So, thanks to emails not being  replied to, I'm off with hand luggage only for the next Latin  American adventure.

I hope to return spouting the subjunctive effortlessly and with a sketch book full of lovely memories. .

Malaria ,scorpions, food poisoning, hurricanes, scams  any  of these might show up.. but hey ho... we live in the moment don't we.. so...  no worrying allowed !!

'The heart has reason the head cannot understand.'

So, once again, I'm following the call,  being drawn by that  same shinning star !

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Venturing into the unknown

When I get a call to go somewhere new....

I usually always respond !!

Because I'm mostly Irish... I am bold... sometimes...

                                                                  and a little crazy sometimes... rash even..


Sunday, 21 July 2013

Deliciously creative

Postre en love puddings

a small thank you to the chef....

supper in La Paz

a  small thank you to the chef...

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Finding a name

There has to be

a name that encapsulates

the essence of

 these children's lives, even those who live in San Pedro prison with their dads

what is the name that invites our compassion to support 5 Christmas projects ( hot chocolate fiestas)  for them ?

A few thousand children in Peru and Bolivia will receive a mug of hot chocolate, a sticky bun ( of course they LOVE this) and a small gift, and a  fun fiesta in their remote villages the week before Christmas.  The children living in San Pedro prison last year enjoyed a fab show from local clowns, as well.  Organizing this was a new project for us.

Ivan's clowns in San Pedro prison last Christmas.

I need to find a name and join  these 5 projects to network and fund raise successfully .  Friends from around the world want to support  and donate. All the creators of these 5 projects are friends of mine, they're  people giving back to their communities, except Barbara, a  young Italian woman who has created the school in San Pedro prison. 

Any  suggestions for a really punchy name ??

The road to Ccapi  and numerous other villages where many Chocolatadas were celebrated last year.

Tags:  La Chocolatada/ Peru/ Bolivia/  5 Christmas  projects/ hot chocolate in remote villages/ hot chocolate to  kids  living behind bars/  hell hole  Bolivian San Pedro  prison -yes  honestly  more than 300 kids live in this jail/   Father Christmas/ musicians /clowns in tow.  

Sharing the spirit of Christmas  to spirited children who know how to share.  

Click on any photo to start slide show.