Vietnam Ambassadors Trip – Jodie Stimson

In May 2018 four Costa Foundation Ambassadors travelled to the Central Highlands of Vietnam to visit Costa Foundation schools. Here is Jodie's story.

Hello all,

My name is Jodie Stimson. I have worked for Costa for almost 6 years. This year has by far been the most rewarding within the company. In April 2018 I was awarded one of four Costa Foundation Ambassador Positions.

This amazing award gave myself and three others within the Costa family the opportunity to not only see where the money we raise goes, how it’s used to build and fund schools but we also had the chance to meet the teachers and children. To see the changes we have made to thousands of lives around the 10 countries in just over 10 years was a life changing experience in its self.

Where to start with this trip, let alone the emotions of this week, is difficult!

Imagine 4 strangers with similar passions and enthusiasm for helping other meeting before a 12 hour flight! A chance to get to know each other and to gather our expectations of the next week. We stayed in a lovely hotel, surrounded by beautiful characters all week.

We where hosted by Dakman, a coffee supplier in Vietnam, of which we were also lucky to get a tour of (for a coffee nerd, that’s amazing) The staff where amazing at doing their jobs, they explained about the cultures and the coffee growing communities, credit to Johno, Sloe Gin and Mrs Dow. The locals welcomed us like royalty!

The most amazing and beautiful experience of this trip was to see the schools.

We managed to see sites for schools, which were yet to be agreed, Building sites being turned into schools, newly opened schools and a school that unfortunately had nothing to do with the Costa Foundation. The reason for this visit was to see if an agreement could be made to build an extension. To sum up the whole trip would take me days! The emotions, reactions from the others, the locals and the children we met!

However this 1 hour we spent there, opened all of our eyes! Apart from a rusted old seat, the play ground way empty. Two class rooms filled with 45 children each! (It should be 25 children per a classroom max) There was no running water. The teachers would have to go to the local well before school starts. The ‘toilet’ was a slab of concrete on the side of the building which was on the main road. The children appeared grubby and shy to meet us at first.

If I could show this image, of these children to you all, you would understand the importance of Costa Foundation. Seeing lives that we had changed, was heart warming, however the lives we haven’t is heartbreaking.

Please take your time to see how much more a Costa Barista is.

So far this year alongside the in store events we have done the Bike ride from John o Groats to Lands end and the Costa 3 peaks challenge. Coming up we have other events involving a twig light walk and I will be arranging my first tandem Skydive to raise money for our amazing independent charity.

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