Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Sabor de Huaraz

I usually attempt to entertain my blog readers with stories of my misadventures here in Peru. Most recently: finding a rat in my room, freezing while camping, and almost dying on a mountainside. But every once and awhile, I like to talk about something that makes me sound like a fairly competent human being. It doesn't happen too often so bear (bare? What does that even mean?) with me.

After a month of hard work and sleepless nights, we finally successfully held the First Annual Sabor de Huaraz (or Taste of Huaraz). I alluded to this fundraiser in the entry about “A Long Way Home” so here are the details. This event was brainstormed by my close friend, John William, who promptly left for a trip to America, leaving the work to his peons back in Peru (just kidding, J Dub!). Patrick, Sophie, and I spear headed the project, receiving a lot of support from other Peace Corps volunteers.

Will and Bumble, working hard at Chilli Heaven

Sabor de Huaraz was based on events like Taste of Madison or Taste of Chicago. We went around to various restaurants in Huaraz and asked them to donate small samples of a menu item to each paying participant. The participants bought tickets for 20 soles each and were able to go to six different restaurants to sample foods. All of the proceeds would directly fund our girl's self-esteem camp and our HIV/AIDS awareness camp for youth.

Michael and Patrick at La Rotonda

It was a revolutionary idea. We checked and double checked with each participating restaurant to make sure they understood what was expected. Contracts were signed. Some people had their doubts. We become more determined to make sure the whole event was a success.

Satisfied customers!!!

The night before the event I got, at most, three hours of sleep. Yoss and I were working in California Cafe, taking tickets, washing dishes, serving food, taking orders, pretty much helping to make sure everything got done, and the word had gotten out to the participants that California was the only place serving dessert. We expected to have a rush towards the end of the day but as the first hour of the event passed and we had only served two people I was starting to panic. What if no one showed up? What if things were going horribly wrong at the other restaurants? What if all of those doubters were right?

More satisfied customers - also, some of my best Frisbee Friday friends.

Well, they weren't right. People started coming in waves at around hour two and we were busy pretty consistently for the next two hours. Once I realized the event was a success, I couldn't wipe the smile off of my face. Even now, two weeks later, I feel a little glow-y thinking about it. The restaurants came through with some truly spectacular food, including a chicken curry sandwich, individual pizzas, a curry wrap, papa a la Huancaina (my favorite Peruvian dish), spaghetti, and a brownie with ice cream. And all six restaurants said they would participate in this event again. Participants gave rave reviews of the food, planning, and overall organization of the event.

That's me, working at California Cafe.

We raised over 1500 soles to educate and empower kids in Ancash. Easily one of my biggest Peace Corps successes and a day I will always feel proud of.


CarynD said...

Awesomeness!! So proud of you!

Anonymous said...

Hi Beth,
This is Aunt Jane: I admire your organizational abilities! Hope you have a GREAT time when your mom comes!
(ps. it is "bear")