Networks

Because of The Final Step cafe, we have an excellent network of customers, suppliers and the wider community. Having a networking space makes the spreading of any news or information that we have relatively easy. Because of the existing relationships we had made through the cafe, that have grown over many years, it was also relatively easy when setting up SOG to ask for assistance or ask for contacts of people who could help us out. I say “relatively easy” because it wasn’t a piece of cake, but compared to having no existing networks, it was easy.

Here in Buenos Aires we are starting fresh. We do have a small network that consists of Valeria’s family and friends. They are all fantastic people and have been more than helpful. What I have realised is this project would be nearly impossible if we did it all ourselves. So we have a few people helping us out already. I am just saying that the power is in the people! The more people we get involved in this, the stronger we become. Community. In saying that, we do have to be mindful that we are getting the right people on board.

So what we have in Melbourne is a network of friends and like-minded people. I say like-minded because all of those who have helped us obviously have relatively similar views on how things should happen in the world. I say friends because friends are the ones that you can ask for favours, and we asked for a hell of a lot of favours over the last year or so! I didn’t start The Final Step with the intention of it becoming a social enterprise but when we decided to make the shift, what we had at our fingertips was a space where many people from all walks of life and with all sorts of skills came every day. So, what we had was the power of the people!

I enjoy having people around. I love meeting and getting to know them. I want to meet as many different people as I can! I am extremely interested in others because their journeys and experiences in life give them all a different perspective. I find that having different perspectives on hand in any situation is always better than only having my one narrow view of the world. An example of gaining some different perspectives was when Ellie and I met a couple of people on the weekend. We had an ex navy American from Virginia, a half Spanish/German teacher, an Australian law graduate and a barista from New Zealand. It led to some interesting conversations!

Our network here is slowly expanding. We have an amazing nutritionist Yami who is on board. I am really excited about the possibilities that Yami brings to the table as she is really keen to do some cooking workshops in our kitchen with the ladies of the community. We also have Rolo. He has a lot of experience with the delivery of social services. He also is very direct and speaks exactly what he thinks, which is perfect. If we aren’t sure about anything we pass it by him and he gives us a yay or a nay. I have also been frequenting my friend Daniel’s cafe and have been meeting loads of good people! (By the way, best coffee in Buenos Aires, LATTEnTE).

We are currently waiting to gain access to the kitchen so we can measure it up for new equipment and organise the big clean. We don’t have a good enough relationship yet to be able to ask for the key and family problems of the lady who has the key are preventing us from meeting up with her. So we have been visiting many markets and buying second hand cutlery. The local Salvo’s had the best options for us in regards to a fridge, prep-bench and storage cupboards. There are some good hospitality shops around for cooking equipment and they all seem to be in the same street. We have also decided to have a small event at our house to inform everybody of our project and build on our Argentinian network so we have some planning to do.

Alright. Time to practise Spanish. Ciao.

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