Spring Cafe’s International Holiday Market

You are invited to The Spring Cafe’s International Holiday Market and 1 Year Anniversary Celebration. This holiday season, find unique and meaningful gifts made by Denver’s refugee and immigrant artisan community. There will also be a live and silent auction, wine and beer available by donation, and aspiring refugee chefs offering global sampler plates.


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International Holiday Market

The Cause

This Thursday the Spring Cafe is hosting it’s first annual International Holiday Market. The mission of the Spring Cafe is to support immigrants and train refugees to work among us. Many people come to this country and work in factories because of language barriers. They work among other individuals who also don’t speak English which makes it almost impossible to learn.

Spring Cafe recognizes this and employs refugees for six week training courses. They learn about customer service in the US, get to practice their English and learn other job skills that add to their resumes. Spring Cafe gets these folks out of the factories and into the American workforce.

How Afro Triangle fits in

Some of you may not know this about me, but I am actually an immigrant. I was born in Barbados and was naturalized as a citizen in 1999. I came over with my mom and we had the help of my grandmother and aunts as we got used to living in the US.  The folks at the Spring Cafe were kind enough to include me in their holiday market. I get to join the ranks of those whose journey to this country was far more difficult than my own.

In addition to the market, there will be a live auction, a silent auction, and food and drinks available by donation. The proceeds will go toward helping the Spring Cafe continue their mission. I will be donating one of my paintings to the cause.

Dicitonary.com’s word of the year is xenophobia, the fear of the foreigner. Don’t let that be this year’s legacy. Come, participate, donate. Show our new friends that this country was built on inclusion. Come and support them as they learn how to contribute to our country and our economy.

I will be donating this piece to the auction at the Spring Cafe this Thursday. If you want it, come get it.
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What I Need In Life -Part 1

As I have made my way on this journey, I have started to take note of the things I truly need in life. This has changed since leaving because I literally can’t carry with me all of the comforts of home and have stripped my life down to the bare essentials. Here of some of the things I’ve written down.
1. A comfortable bed
A Comfortable BedIMG_0039
There is nothing like sleeping in a different place every night to make you appreciate a comfortable bed, not simply in how soft or firm it is, but also its proximity to, say, a bar on karaoke night or the ocean breeze. When moving around, you begin to cherish a good night’s sleep, especially after the overnight busses which seem to have looked at La-Z-Boy technology and said “nah, I’ve got a better idea. Instead of tipping the whole seat back and raising the feet so that your weight is evenly distributed while you recline, let’s only tip the seat back 160° so that you spend the night sliding slowly downward and your weight finally settles in the delicate tail bone, right where you want it.” I have never appreciated my bed so much.
2. Good, healthy food
We have discovered that Peru is the land of meat and potatoes and Chile is the land of bread and cheese, at least as for as the restaurants are concerned. Ok, this is not entirely true, but it mostly is. When eating out, vegetables have been hard to come by, to the point that even my carnivorous nature is being put to the test. I have found that I am a bit less energetic than usual, something I attribute to my lack of green leafies in my diet. Now, we are taking the time to cook for ourselves and it has been glorious. I can’t wait to get back to our garden.
3. Snacks
I am giving this its own category because until I was on a bus for 22 hours in a row, I never before appreciated the importance of having my own food to sustain me. This has something to do with not knowing when the next meal will be, what the next meal will be, and whether it will have the correct nutritional values. Bananas, nuts and raisins will trump cookies, bad tea and soda every time.
Thanks for reading. I have more thoughts to share, so check back in. And if you have any questions or suggestions for me, please feel free to contact me either in the comments below or shoot mean email.

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Parque de las Papas – Part 3

The driver took us back up to this greenhouse we had passed some time before and there we waited for the others. The man and woman we had gone up the mountain with were finished and were walking down along with the two men Marin had come to speak to in the first place. When they arrived, I translated while Marin asked questions about the park and about the work they were doing internationally. These guys are up to some amazing things!
As I mentioned in part 1 the purpose of the park is to preserve over 1400 varieties of potatoes and tubers indigenous to the area. They believe that the only way the crop is going to survive climate change is to retain the biodiversity that will allow some species to thrive while others fail. Their mission is to spread their message and their potato seeds around the world, working with organizations of other indigenous growers around the globe to share their techniques and their culture.
Both men, who were in their fifties, had been invited to multiple conferences across four continents to talk about their work. They hold the passionate belief that food is the most important thing in the world. It nourishes us, brings people and cultures together and its destruction will lead to the destruction of the human race.
After the interviews, we said goodbye to our new friends, headed back down the mountain with our original companions, ate some dinner, and headed back to our Air BNB apartment. We were sun burned, a little dehydrated, and sore, but we agreed that it was an amazing day and that there was no way we would have had that experience had we stayed on the tourist track.

Ironically, we saw no potatoes.

Marin with her interviewees. They are showing off the gifts she brought (Chinese tea) and the bag they picked up in Burma (where they met her friend).
Marin with her interviewees. They are showing off the gifts she brought (Chinese tea) and the bag they picked up in Burma (where they met her friend).
The whole gang.
The whole gang.