Three years ago, when I met Medellin the first time, I felt this peculiar connection; I knew I would see her again. But I had not imagined that the second encounter would be in the context of that venturous experteering adventure.
Last year, after deciding to quit my job and leave my comfortable routine zone in exchange of a six month trip through South America, Silvia, my friend and worldly social media virtuosa, sent me that decisive link to a Venture with Impact post. I knew this was the thing I was hoping to find. A program with like-minded people, that would bring me back in a decent working mood and inspire my future career. Because one intention of my sabbatical semester was to reflect my preceding years of work and map out possible future paths.
So it happened that I landed in Medellin a second time in July of 2018, got comfortably accommodated in the hip center of the city and found myself some days later on the grounds of a beautiful jungle finca one hour out of town. The finca domiciles the Aiunau Sloth Foundation, which was established a long time ago and is ever since prospering thanks to the unconfined dedication of the owner Tinka. One of her central concerns is to raise awareness in the public, about the different conditions that endanger the wellbeing of Sloths in Colombia. Our task was to help with a concept and the production of educational material, which was planned to be used for the International Sloth Day.
As opposed to sharing the details on the project, however, I want to focus on my personal learnings in this article. There are two main insights I took home. Firstly, I got the opportunity to see behind the curtains of a non profit organisation, their daily tasks and challenges. This was new to me and an interesting experience. Secondly, as I found myself in a new environment, with unfamiliar people working on a short-term project, I could easily observe myself from a meta-level view. It made me reflect about the qualities and contribution I can bring to any given project and the way I get perceived. I noticed how I function in a new team and where there is potential to improve. This awareness is valuable for me, on a personal as well as on a practical level.
Beside the project work, there was also time to discover Medellin and its surroundings and along the way of a salsa experiment or paragliding dare get to know and relish my inspiring, entertaining, enlightening and sometimes challenging Venture with Impact fellows. Muchas gracias amigos!