SixFifty

lessons from America

Divine Minnesotan connections

On the eve of what hopefully should be the official announcement of Al Franken as victor in the Minnesota Senate race, I thought it apt to recount (poor pun!) my own little Twin Cities tale and set of coincidences.

I stayed in Minneapolis a week before the election and spent a day volunteering in the Obama office just outside downtown. During one of my stints of phone canvassing, I was sitting on the same set of desks as a fellow volunteer called Allison and I chatted briefly to her in-between calls. She was a star as she could speak Spanish and so we handed her the Hispanic-sounding names on our call sheets just in case language was an issue.

Allison contacted me in December because she had seen my name as a fan of the Divine Chocolate Facebook group, which she had just joined, and was wondering what my connection with them was (3+ years as an employee, now occasional volunteer and very regular consumer). Actually, that doesn’t do justice to my fandom. To show how mad I am, on the day I flew back to London after the election I went to a huge Green Festival in DC and got to meet the Divine US team. Then I went straight from Heathrow airport to central London and to an exhibition that Divine had celebrating their 10th birthday … and the next day met with one of the cocoa farmers who was over at that time.

Anyway, turns out Allison works at the Ten Thousand Villages fair trade store in St Paul. And sells Divine chocolate there. Even more of a coincidence, her colleague knows me too. Mindy came with her husband to London 5 years ago and had a tour of Divine’s offices and activities, given by ….. me! Impressively, she remembers me and even has a photo of me in a scrapbook about the trip! So it can be a small world indeed. Though I suspect there is also a strong correlation in person type of someone who is a fair trade activist and someone who would actively support Obama.

phone-banker-alison

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(from top: Allison at the Obama office; Allison and her husband Ajay; Mindy and Kraig; the scrapbook page; me posing for a press article long ago. NB that photo of me was one of my favourites from my Divine days and my colleagues turned it into a mini-jigsaw and gave it to me when I left. I still have it in my living room ready to entertain guests)

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January 6, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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