Last week I had the pleasure of joining an amazing group of people in Ottawa at Quichua World Market on Richmond Road.  They came to hear about the most recent updates from my trip to northern Thailand and to learn about the work that KLEO is doing here in Ottawa and in Thailand.  Quichua has been supporting our work for a decade, first helping me with my efforts to provide education in Maw Wah Khee village, and since 2010 the KLEO Support Group’s work at Jen’s House.

The heart of Quichua is Jill and Jacinto Anguaya and their family.  Most people don’t know that Jill was a childhood friend of my daughter, Jen.  During their middle school years Jill and Jen were bound and determined that they were going to save something…whales, dolphins, the trees; actually the whole world was up for grabs!   I remember songs being written about saving the world and environmental issues being researched.


Jill and Jacinto’s children, Cora and Sami joined in and Sami, their son, sang some of his original compositions. I guess that the song writing is up to him now.  Look out, he is a talent to be reckoned with!

Jill and Jen were second generation hippies.   As life goes, their paths took them in separate directions.  They went about changing the world in different ways but their hearts remained as one in their dreams to make a difference!    Jill and Jacinto’s social awareness and their responsibility to helping others is obvious in the way their conduct their lives and business.  Just listening to one of their children speak or stepping into their shops confirms their commitment.  A truly amazing family!

I provided an update on what’s happening in Thailand and in Ottawa regarding KLEO’s projects.  I also had the pleasure of introducing a new corporate sponsor, Kameleon.  Kameleon, a jewelry supplier of Quichua’s has come on board in a big way.  They have raised over $20,000 in support of KLEO’s projects over the past month.   We are all stunned by the success of their effort and their generosity.  Unbelievable!  Please check out more about their support on the Quichua website.

At 7:00 supporters, board members, volunteers and friends started streaming in and as they did an energy of old friends getting together developed in the room; a kind of re-connecting through a common bond of caring and strength.  As the evening unfolded people shared their experiences and connection to KLEO  in a casual easy way.  People who had heard of each other but hadn’t actually met were able to put faces to names.  It seemed that even those who were relatively new to the KLEO experience, already had a sense of connection.  It was truly an inclusive evening.

I am touched by the support and commitment we all share.  I think it is this warmth, caring and friendship that makes intimate evenings, like the one we shared this week the heartbeat of KLEO.

My warmest thanks to everyone!