A couple of weeks ago James invited me to a Facebook event called “Eating for Animals Christmas Party”. I had so much on my table at that time that I didn’t pay much attention to it but later he asked me if I had signed up for it, a simple click on a Facebook “confirm” button would not be enough. To receive the post address I had to send an email. Apparently I had to deal with it in-depth to know exactly what this event was about. Two girls, Arly and Susan, were going to prepare a delicious vegan Christmas meal to supply 25-30 people with food. The fee was 15 dollar per person and all funds raised should go to 100% without any deductions to Amanda Vella’s S.A.H.A Horse Rescue and Sanctuary. On December 9th from 1 pm to 5 pm the event took place in Morningside, a suburb close to Balmoral, location of my former Riverside Backpacker hostel. Primarily the plan was to go there by Daniel’s car but it was already reserved for his daughter, his friend Kelsey and her little daughter Echo, so James and me had to take two trains and were picked up by Daniel to save us the last 500 m of walk through burning sunshine. The location was a private double storey house  with a pretty backyard in a residential area. We were a bit late and a dozen persons already chilled in the spacious living room upstairs. It was a friendly and relaxed atmosphere. A half-dozen kids played with the four week old kittens and the guests chatted in little groups while munching cakes, pies and salads. Also in the garden was food dished up and lots of soft and alcoholic drinks in a big bowl with water and ice cubes. Arly and Susan were professional hosts, delivered a short introductive speech and raffled off a bottle of wine and a box of exquisite chocolate bits.

At first I was a bit unsure how to make contacts but after a while  I loosened up a little and with all the interacting animals around, it was easy to find a topic to start a conversation. The house looked normal from the outside but in reality it is a little animal farm: 2 Persian cats who were “arrested” in the bedroom during the party, 3 possums (in 3 separate cages covered with towels to darken because they are night active and don’t appreciate company by conspecifics that much), 4 cute kitten in different colours and patterns, a poodle with a Christmas cape and two inseparable male mallard ducks outside as well as a chicken called Elvis. All animals were super patient with the kids grabbing and touching them. I think it was the first time in my life I picked up a chicken.  I was surprised how light it was and it did not try to escape but enjoyed to be petted. After a while I had some interesting chats with other guests. One of them makes money by building cat enclosures, another one is just about to start a business about hydroponic vegetable production systems with integrated fish culture, a third one is graphic designer who works amongst other things for PETA, doing the campaign layouts, flyers, etc. . All in all the event was a welcome variety to my last days with lots of inspiration for cooking and baking. The fund raising was a success ending up with 690 $ for horses in need. I reckon that Susan and Arly spent about 150 $ to 200 $ for the food, apart from many hours of preparation and decoration but they pointed out that they don’t take away any money as reimbursement. They plan to organize these kinds of events more often. I definitely will attend again.