Monday, March 26, 2012

Days 40-43: Palmerston North to New Plymouth to Palmerston North

Leadership Day #2
We spent half of Wednesday in Palmy (Palmerston North) with meetings and internet and organizational time, and then we headed West to New Plymouth for the second of the two Leadership days with Ruth and Chris.  We set up for the next day, and Thursday was basically a repeat of Tuesday, just in another place.

Thursday night we had to say goodbye to Chris and Ruth, when they dropped us off back in Palmy and headed back to Wellington.  Our hosts in Palmy were a wonderful couple, Lance and Juliet, that we came in contact with through Warm Showers, which is a site just like Couch Surfing, but specifically for cyclists.  They immediately got on board with what we were trying to do, and Lance helped us to organize a fundraiser there in Palmy.  We hadn't planned on doing one there, but with his help, we knew we couldn't pass up this opportunity!  He did all of the organizing for us, and we just had to be there!  Thanks so much Lance!

Our World Vision Lantern
And us in the Parade!
On Friday we were to be in a lantern parade, where the people in the city made their own lanterns, moving around the town square to put them on display in a parade.  We made our lantern a globe and an eye, to symbolize World Vision, and with the words "WORLD VISION" hanging in between the two.  It was a lot of fun to make, and it turned out quite well.  We fixed them to our bikes and walked through the parade with the mayor of Palmerston North, all 3 of us wearing our World Vision t-shirts :)  It was quite a sight!  The participation in the parade was quite impressive, and the energy of the locals both participating and watching was great!  Even the bit of rain spitting down didn't put a damper on their spirits.

Some of the participants in our game!
The next morning, the festival continued.  There were rows of stalls set up all around the square, with people from different cultures, selling food and drinks and treats of every kind, as well as constant performances up on the stage to keep us all entertained for the day!  Thanks to Lance, we were able to get a stall and raise some money for World Vision.  We had the idea of playing "Count the Jellybeans" but then Lance embellished the idea, coming up with "Count the Fish" instead!  We borrowed 43 neon fish from Wet Pets, and Lance bought the tank, and for a gold coin donation, anyone could come along and guess the number of fish in the tank!  It was a great hit with the kids.  They were really attracted by the fish, and loved trying to count the fish as they moved all around the tank.  Some people said it was impossible, some sat there for what seemed like hours trying to count them, and some just threw down a random guess.  In the end, there were 3 winners who guessed 43 fish.  We put the three names in a hat and drew out the name Neeve.  Congratulations to Neeve, as the winner of the fish tank, and she can go to Wet Pets and choose 2 of her own Comet Fish!  Thank you to Wet Pets for donating the 2 fish as a prize!  We also sold some World Vision postcards that I made up from some of my photos from Kenya, along with the World Vision logos, and Lance had them printed off at Destination Manawatu (THANK YOU!!!).  It was a great opportunity to share about some of my experiences in Kenya with the people that were interested in the photos! 

The day ended at 4:00, just as it started to rain, but we were happy to have had a really pleasant 2 days in Palmy, and got a chance to be in the cultural festival, in a parade with the mayor, and to meet the wonderful local people of Palmerston North.  We went back home and shared a lovely dinner with Lance and Juliet (made by Lance, the celebrity chef I might add...) and went to bed, after our bikes had had a long break, ready to be ridden again the next morning...

We managed to raise $190 in Palmerston North.  Thank you to everyone who participated in the parade and the cultural festival, who helped raise money for the famine in Africa, and for making our stay a lovely experience!

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