On New Year's Eve we sent good thoughts to you all around the word and hope you had a happy and healthy start into the New Year.
We at HAVEN were able to start the New Year fairly relaxed. Because we had our major new beginning in December 2015 already.
The Big Move
After 11 very intense construction months, our new HAVEN was ready in November. So we closed our training restaurant on Sok San Road mid month and had two weeks to move and settle into our new space.
The whole HAVEN Family did a really good job and was a huge help. They packed everything at the old place, transported it through town with small trucks and immediately unpacked again at the new place.
We closely involved the staff and trainees in the whole process, and assigned them different responsibilities, so that everyone had an area that he/she had to organize themself (of course we were always at hand when they needed help).
So instead of us telling them what to do, they were suddenly confronted with challenges such as setting up the storage space. Or setting up the bar and the service area according to their workflows and needs.
They mastered the tasks with flying colors – and are now moving around the new HAVEN accordingly confident. As if they had never been anywhere else.
Leaving the old HAVEN (top), moving into the new HAVEN (bottom).
Our House Ghost
Of course we also have a ghost in this house, with which we reconciled with a nice ceremony at the end of November, just before we opened HAVEN.
Now, a month later, we learned that the ghost (it's a 'she') is really happy that there are always so many people around and that she's not that lonely anymore. Well then, if she's happy, so are we!
Did HAVEN start well?
Yes. We sure did. We opened our doors on December 1st and have since had a constant flow of wonderful guests who we were able to welcome and treat here.
And that although TripAdvisor made the devastating mistake to shut down our listing (instead of just changing our address) – and we therefor lost our almost 3000 reviews and our top ranking which was always on 1 or 2.
Of course that was a huge shock. But if we've learned anything in 2015, then it is the ability of letting go. Which we did and now opened a new listing, working our way up again on the TA ranking.
On the positive side, this whole insidence showed us one wonderful fact and that is how widespread our good reputation is, even without TripAdvisor. We are still fully booked every day, with lovely guests who come to us on personal recommendation.
Other good news is, that we will be in the next Lonely Planet Cambodia issue again. This time in the 'Top Choice' section.
The Organic Farm
In cooperation with AGRISUD we've started planting and making the Organic Farm at the trainee house... and it's growing and growing. Our trainees really love the garden and are super excited about every harvest.
With AGRISUD we have found a truly outstanding partner for this project. Besides their assistance in taking care of the organic farm, they also perform regular trainings for our apprentices, deepening their knowledge and understanding for the whole organic agriculture.
So far we have planted: tomatoes, yellow & red cherry tomatoes, eggplant, radishes, lettuce, cilantro, basil, morning glory, lemongrass and papaya.
More good news is that our 2014/15 trainees all completed their external internships in mid December and have all found good permanent positions.
Some were given a permanent position at the place they did their internship, others were allowed to practice interviews and were then hired by other good employers and two of our last year's trainees we hired ourselves, as mentors for our new trainees.
HAVEN NIGHT - Charity Party (in Switzerland)
About 10 months ago Gregor followed a recommendation from a Dragonfly member and visited us at HAVEN. He was so impressed by the food and the whole project that he has now organized a big fundraising event to support our work here in Cambodia.
So if you think New Year's Eve was the party of the year, then think again. Because on January 23, 2016 the big HAVEN NIGHT fundraiser will take place at District 28 in Siebnen, in Switzerland.
Live on Stage are Sonic Tides (CH), Dean Denmark (CH), Riders Connection (DE) and Yakaree (CH). The entire entry goes to HAVEN. Furthermore District 28 will donate a large part of sales at the bar and the artists completely forgo their wages to support our project in Cambodia.
So mark the date in your calendar and go celebrate for us!