Here we come 2016

  •  Benjamin Whitaker
  •  January 15, 2016
  •  blog

I’m back in Argentina after my round of fundraising in Oceania. We had our annual event in Melbourne and also our first fundraiser in New Zealand. I also had time to switch off and spend Christmas at home with the family, which was bloody great!

Last year we applied for a grant to build a kitchen from the Australian embassy in Argentina. Our plan was to use the kitchen to cook for the children of Food for Thought and also to provide cooking workshops for children and adults of the community. Fortunately, the embassy liked our project and we were selected to be one of six locally based organisations to receive funding for a community project.

We received the money for the project in November last year, while I was away in Australia. Unfortunately, in December, while I was in New Zealand, there were elections, and a new government was voted in. This meant that there is a lot of uncertainty within the country and due to various factors, the price of pretty much everything went up.

So this means that we won’t be able to fit out the kitchen with us much equipment. To look on the bright side, it was a good lesson for us about the difficulties of working within Argentina. (Note to self: when there’s an election on, don’t hold onto Argentinean Pesos!) I actually just checked the price of an oven that we want to buy for the kitchen, and it has gone up 10% since yesterday. This is on top of all of the other price rises! I better get spending!

We don’t open the doors of Food for Thought until February, so for now we don’t have any children. Valeria and Justine have their well earnt holiday break during January so my project for this month it to get the kitchen construction underway.

“It’s not what you know it’s who you know”. This saying rings very true here. There are a lot of cowboys working as plumbers, electricians and builders. I have heard many a story of tradespeople doing horrible jobs, ripping people off or just outright stealing client’s money and taking off. Luckily for us, we have a trustworthy architect who is part of Foundation ARCHE, whom with we now collaborate. We have also been put onto a builder who is a family member of a friend. We had our first meeting with the architect last week, and a joint meeting with the architect and the builder that followed.

We have been given a space of 5×7 meters to construct the kitchen, which is quite big. That gives us the flexibility to be able to plan the kitchen with the idea of doing cooking classes within it. At the moment the plan is to have bench space and cooking equipment around the perimeter and a large island in the middle that is made up of a few smaller tables that could be separated when needed for individual groups during lessons.

Having a big commercial kitchen will be a big game changer for us. We are very thankful to the Australian embassy for their confidence and support. The kitchen could take anywhere from two to six months to build, but once it’s up and going it’s all on!

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