The month of April is a busy one. I am in Lima, working as much (or more) than could be expected of anyone who is gainfully employed full-time. All I can say is I must be accruing a huge amount of good karma from all this cos I’m certainly not getting paid in the normal sense, hopefully the river gods will shine on me. I am happy making progress and achieving what I set out to do, and the expeditions are getting really really close. All this computer time will be worth the 3 months on the river from May 23 – August 10. Lima has some nice surf too, buying a playboat was a great move (title lied, there is play), so I can go for a paddle at least every second day and keep fit.
In Lima, working with the Remando Juntos team we have been putting together website & campaign materials. It should be reasonably straightforward, however graphic designers and web developers seem to keep on disappearing. We find someone, then they cancel, or it turns out they don’t have the time they promised, or are not willing to work to the standard we are expecting… It makes getting things done really hard, i guess this is life when you can’t offer any pay; either find someone who’s all in with heart and soul, or you get nothing. At least the rest of the team is super committed.
The other side of my work is coordinating fundraising, logistics and organisation for the expeditions. We are looking at bringing in a south american director to help make a higher quality video in July, which will help to reach more people in Peru. That also requires more funds, and opens up a huge can of worms about post production expenses & promotion and other skills we need. It turns out this stuff is expensive…
That brings me to the fundraising side of what I’m doing; each international volunteer has their own fund-raising campaign, which will help raise base funds for the expedition and video. I am assisting this process as much as I can, but there is only so much advice I can give or times I can push before people get sick of hearing from me (it turns out other people have lives outside of this project…). I understand that when people are doing their fundraising, it often feels like they are getting no-where, but then afterwards, once they have hit the target it seems so simple. Just keep posting and promoting, and you will make it. All this fundraising should raise $10 000 for the May expedition, and $15 -$20 000 for July. That will cover base expenses for each expedition, and allow for a small video & campaign budget.
I am dreaming up ways to increase this funding further through sponsorship, corporate donations and other avenues; however time seems is ticking by faster than I can put the wheels in motion; tapping those kinds of funds is hard! If we did secure some more funds, the video production would be pushed to a new level, and we would have additional opportunities for the campaign here in Peru; there’s no limit to the funds we can make use of. We will see how it all plays out. Big or small, my main objective of engaging a group of young Peruvians around this issue is working, and we are all definitely learning a lot.
This is a video I made last week to help promote the training expedition & secure the last funds needed through our volunteer campaigns. After spending a full day putting the video together (including the hour trying to retrieve files after hard disk issues…), I was wondering whether it is time well spent, or if i’m better off just finding a real job and using that to fund my crazy plans. It was validating to see quite a few donations come in once the video went up, especially an epic $500 from my friend Wu!
I’ll keep doing what I’m doing for now. The learning curve is a steep one, spread across many different areas (project management, film production, photography, graphic design, video editing, cinematography campaigning, fundraising, logistics, risk management, HR…I’m sure there are more hats), I feel like I’m learning a lot, but it would be nice to become a master of something!
I’m starting to wonder what to do after the project ends in September-October this year. I think my role in this will be over by then; I don’t believe I have the energy for more long, unpaid, confusing weeks. The Peruvian team seems like they will be able to stand on their own and continue as they see fit. There would be opportunities for me to do other projects down here, but I’m not sure if that’s what I want most; it’s the kind of thing that could go on forever, the battle will never really end.
One very tempting option would be to go to Chile in October and blow the rest of my savings on an old Kombi. Find a very cool crew and then cruise around Chile for 4 or 5 months until I am well and truly broke; at which point I would need to start on the next adventure. Either return to Australia, or maybe try find some work in Canada (sorry mum!, I promise i’ll see you definitely sometime in 2016!). We will see how this idea progresses…Chile is nice in summer & I feel that travelling South America in a painted up a Kombi is a very valuable life achievement.