Time for an outrageously overdue Spain post! Aliza and I arrived in Spain two weeks ago on the express ferry from Tangier. After a VERY interesting overnight bus to Madrid (most of the passengers were Moroccan and broke the Ramadan fast halfway through the ride) we arrived in the beautiful capital city! Aliza had studied abroad here several years ago and was thrilled to be back and took the time to show me some of her favorite old haunts (tapas galore!)!
The next day we had our first Spanish site visit. We met with Fundacion Juan XXIII, an organization that helps educated and rehabilitate adults Spaniards with mental disabilities. We toured their extensive facility where we met with both volunteers and beneficiaries. I particularly loved the mock-apartment the organization has set up in order to teach these mentally handicapped beneficiaries how to independently perform day-to-day tasks like bathing, cooking for themselves and getting dressed in the morning.
The Fundacion also generously provided us a space to host our Madrid workshops, where we met with a representative from Dell and several health-related organizations. Aliza and I then spent our last 2 days in Madrid taking in the gorgeous sites (Royal Palace and Cathedral! Plaza Mayor!) before heading to Barcelona!
We arrived in the iconic beach-front city last Friday, and promptly took advantage of the weekend to do a bit of site-seeing! We toured through Gaudi’s massive Sagrada Familia Cathedral and museums, enjoyed an afternoon on the (very crowded!) beach and ate delicious seasfood paella!
Yesterday, we hosted our workshop here in Barcelona. Even given the smaller turnouts in Spain (the entire country is on vacation!), Aliza and I have been thrilled to see that these workshops involve high capacity organizations with prior experience in online fundraising!
This morning we had the pleasure of meeting with Aseel Honein, our project leader who flew in from Lebanon earlier this week to meet with us. Aliza and I were very curious about this project, which strives for social inclusion of the homeless community in Barcelona. We learned about the extensive research that Aseel’s team has conducted through canvasing, interviews and community challenges. We look forward to seeing what next steps Aseel and her colleagues take towards ameliorating this issue!
Aliza and I are sad to leave Spain tomorrow, but we are thrilled to be heading first to Lyon and then to Paris to finish out our last two weeks with the In-The-Field program!