More Meetings and a Field Visit to Cazuca with the Sole Colombia Team

Coming into the Social Sabbatical program, we knew there would be pressure to deliver strong results that would create positive and sustainable results to allow Fundacion Capital to succeed even moreso in the future, but now that we are coming to the last week of the program, we can definitely start to feel the pressure of time.  We’ve grown a very close relationship to the client, and they are really trusting us as trusted advisors, and looking to us to help with their overall vision and strategy.

We had some great open dialogue with the client’s CFO and HR consultant, and we feel really good about what we would like to recommend and what we would like to try to achieve over the last week, as they were very open, honest, and sincere in our discussions.  The meetings lasted until 8pm, and then we grabbed a very tasty Peruvian meal at a nearby restaurant to finish off the day 🙂

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On Friday we decided to work at the SAP Colombia office in the morning time, as we had a Field Visit with Sole Colombia to a Sole session in Cazuca (south of Bogota).  The views at the office are second to none:

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We had a productive brainstorming session and meeting, but we were happily interrupted by some colleagues from the Bogota office as part of “Fun Friday”, and we were given some chocolate covered strawberries to enjoy as a snack.

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We also had a minute to take a quick picture for the SAP month of service.  Georg, Gek and I have definitely improved our physiques during our stay in Bogota 🙂

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Traffic was pretty crazy as we headed back to the hotel at lunch time to meet the Sole team.  It took us almost an hour to reach the hotel (if there was no traffic it would have been a 15 minutes drive).  Due to the traffic we didn’t have time to grab lunch so we rushed to the bus station to meet the Sole team.

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We were travelling to Cazuca which is just south of Bogota, and we were told that it wasn’t that safe a city, as a lot of displaced people in Colombia are placed into the town.  We were told not to bring an valuables or our iPhones, so unfortunately we weren’t able to take many pictures.

We reach the town shortly after 2pm, and it actually looked like a normal town, but we were told that there was a curfew for kids at 5:30pm, and that there were restrictive boundaries within the town that people had to stay within, due to troubles with gangs.  The good thing was that there were truces between the gangs to allow children and young adults to roam free during the day, but it was sad to hear that the kids couldn’t be outside beyond 5:30pm…

Once we arrived in the town, we went to a small kindergarten/after-school centre to meet some kids for the Sole session.  The kids were all Elementary school aged, and seemed to be fascinated by us, as we were a team consisting of people all over the world.  Sadly, some of these kids don’t get to go beyond the town limits, and some haven’t even had the chance to go to Bogota which is only 30 minutes away…  It was great to see the kids were happy to see us, and had smiles on their faces.  We first sat in with the kids for a Sole session (basically kids use computers and the internet for a self learning session), and we got to see first hand how bright some of these kids were.  They had a good grasp of how technology works, and you could see that some of the kids were extremely bright.  Hopefully these kids will have the resources and support to pursue their academic studies, as the sky is the limit for these kids.

After the Sole session, we went to the soccer field to take part in some fun activities and to play some soccer with the kids.  The kids were so cute, and then we were asked to play against a group of teenagers in a game of soccer that we lost 😦  The high elevation sucked the air out of some of us, and being out of shape definitely did not help me!  I better start to exercise more often once I get back home…

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The day was truly an eye-opener for me, and I really enjoyed being with the kids, and seeing the direct impact NGOs and Social businesses have on communities and people that are less fortunate.  It was very sad to hear about how some of these kids live, but at the same time, it was beautiful to see the smiles on their faces, and I no realize that the smallest gestures can really brighten up people’s days.  I’ll definitely look for more opportunities to volunteer, after seeing the impact we can have on the less fortunate.

-Daniel

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