Monday 19 October 2009

Adventures in Mexico Part 1: The Journey Begins

It's Sunday and I've finally got an evening to sit down and get to the computer. It's been a week of meeting great people and running lots of workshops. The Ashoka Mexico team (Armando, Lorena, Doris, J.J., Veronica, Linda...) are all very forward thinking and there's lots of great initiatives taking shape. The recession has really caused difficulties with raising funds for Fellow stipends, so the pressure is on to create self-financing revenue streams.

The Ashoka Team

Everyone I've met has been fantastic. I've been taken out and shown around, and had at least 5 offers of places to stay within the first two days! I'm now in the Polanco neighbourhood, which is very Rodeo Drive, crashing in a spare room in a great flat with old friends of my brother's fiancee.

I've also met some great non-Ashoka Mexican Social Entrepreneurs - Hugo and Camille from Sustentavia ( and Pepe Villatoro who's set up (revolution with letters), and had my first experience of listening to a creative pitch in Spanish. I couldn't understand many of the words, but it was pretty much the same as the pitches we used to do at Conchango. Not sure the creative guys really grasp the social need behind the campaign they were asked to pitch for, but then they're economically very far removed from the type of people we're trying to help.

Hugo and Camille

Mexico City DF is a city within a city. The whole thing is the biggest place I've ever seen. As mind bogglingly large as you would expect for a place that houses 28m people in low rise housing. I've done some pretty long journeys and still only seen a bit of the western part of the city. Reminds me of Bombay in some ways, but cleaner. I'm assured this is because I've really only seen the good bits, but it's still pretty good!

Mexico City from the air

The food has been great, although I'm still getting used to sauces and lemon with everything! Can't say I'm feeling the various bean pastes, but the tacos rock. Same goes for the Tequila and Mezcal, especially Mezcal which doesn't seem to leave a hangover :D

Awesome Tacos

It's all been so busy that I've hardly had time to sit down and start writing things up about social enterprise in Mexico, but I've learnt some great things. Update on this in my next post!
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