Sunday, January 10, 2010

India & Fundraising Part 1 - Juice

This morning I’m drinking fresh pressed pomegranate juice. I discovered this fabulous elixir in the heat of India.

It was the end of a long trip, it was August and it was hot. The conference was over and while fabulous, I had that post conference fatigue common to fundraisers everywhere. Adding to the exhaustion was a seven hour drive north in Indian rush hour traffic the night before. And, savvy world traveller that I am not, I appeared at the airport a full 30 hours early for my flight which left me scrambling to find accommodation in the largest most chaotic city I had ever seen.

So when finally settled with decent but not too expensive place to sleep I decided to make the most of the situation and hire a guide to show me around. My guide (whose name I sadly didn’t write down) was lovely. She looked cool, like she had a bubble of air conditioning around her. She was very proud of her English and enjoyed demonstrating for me her university level education.

Our journey started with a simple question: What do I want to do in Delhi? I honestly had no idea. Truthfully I just wanted to get home and I told her so. I probably wasn’t very nice about it either. Then she turned to me and in the sweetest most gentle and yet directive voice she said ‘Miss Kimberley, I think you need a juice. Let’s get you a juice. Would you like that?’ 'Yes, sure' I replied.

When we found the juice bar (picture above) I was feeling unsure. Having been very careful about my food for ten days I didn't want to risk illness. The view from the juice bar (below) had me feeling less than confident.

'How do you know it is safe to drink?' I asked. My guide's response, 'I just do. And there aren't any flies on the fruit.' Okay - good enough for me!

As we drank our warm sweet juice (because of course both she and the driver also needed a juice) I felt renewed energy and excitement about the day ahead.

Now then, an interesting thing happened this morning. After having watched how pomegranate juice is made in India, I spent 90 minutes this morning painstakingly extracting the seeds from the fruit. The result is the most fabulously sweet burst of flavor and energy you can imagine. I gave up after 8 pieces of fruit. With four pomegranates left my husband (the chef) came down and told me all I needed to do was run the entire fruit through the juicer to get the same result. Which he did.

Was it the same? No. Not at all. All the bitterness from the skin was now in the juice. We could no longer drink it.

The patience, determination and detail in the way Indian's made the juice resulted in a sweeter, more satisfying product.

Perhaps we can apply this lesson to our fundraising also?

Here I am now in rural Ontario in the middle of winter I’m thinking about that fabulous trip. I learned a lot from the people and the fundraisers I met and in the coming weeks I'll share more of these lessons with you.

To be continued…

Thank you for spending time here.


  1. very interesting Kimberley. Funny how the more painstaking and slow process to create something taste better than the automatic 'throw fruit in here' 'get juice from here' version. I think we all can learn something from that.

  2. Thanks John. Yes we can learn a lot from what seems like the most mundane activities.

    Plough through and get it done may not always be the best way.

    Food (or rather juice) for thought isn't it?!

  3. Thanks Kimberley. Wise words - some things can't be circumvented, you just have to do it the hard way!