I was able to attend the CHAFF meeting organised by Ildikó Hámos at the Ravintola Marrakech, Oulu. We had attendees from every continent.
We had to limit attendance due to the restrictions in seating available. The meeting room was packed to the brim as Ilari, his aunt, uncle and myself, had to be content to sit out in the main restaurant area.
We had several new attendees, The Joels, Nisha, Sunil and their daughter, Hannah, Sagar Shinde, Janie, Gabor and their daughter, and many more. Several old timers were also present to show their support for the new format CHAFF. The Suomis, Fumi, Ville and little Mari were present, as also Pekka ansd Maritta Keränen and their son It was nice to see Lauri Gardner, Vamsi and Aruna Paluguru, Barbel Fink, Andi Moreno, Benjamin Hayes and friend, Sanna.
The new location for this meeting, Ravintola Marrakech, outdid themselves by serving up a great fare. On our table for four we had a serving of Couscous, a vegetarian curry, a lamb curry and chicken and lamb sishkebab sticks, Moroccan style. There was so much food that we had to struggle to finish it. But Ilari and I did it justice!
The vegetarians got a special fare which was well appreciated!
The restaurant certainly lived up to its name of the great Marrakech market, as the group were humming with excitement and enjoying the delicious fare and company.
Our hostess and host, Miriam and Said, and their staff were great. This was their first exposure to CHAFF.
The ball now rests in YOUR court as Ildikó has raised the question as to how you want the CHAFF social gatherings to continue - once a month, every fortnight or weekly, a full meal, a brunch, on the weekend or a weekday?
Ildikó took the step of asking each one present to make a short introduction as there were so many new faces. In my short introduction and summary talk I thanked Ildikó for accepting this awesome responsibility.
CHAFF is not just these social gatherings but the help we render, quietly, to those in need.
It is, therefore, important to let Ildikó know what form of help you can offer and in what circumstances - physical, knowledge base, or any other, as she can then direct any queries to you.
As you would have noted in an earlier blog entry, very simple help last year helped one CHAFF attendee to save € 1600 in his income tax. It is important to have a meeting devoted to help newcomers to Finland, especially Oulu, to understand the complex tax laws.
I had to rush off early as Annikki needed assistance at home with her mother. I apologise to many whom I could not stand and talk with.
But I greatly valued the resounding support you have shown to Ildikó and I hope you will help continue this tradition of CHAFF in the spirit that Bill Zhang (China), Kamutaza Tembo (Zambia), Saikou Marong ((Gambia) and myself (India) started this in a most humble manner over three years ago!