“When I make a promise there is no room for failure.  I was determined to make it to Ruby’s home in Putere.”

Ruby and I met at a little birthday party at Ronald McDonald House in Auckland several years ago.  Ruby and I danced together. Afterwards I learned from her Dad that she was born without a fully functioning heart. He invited me to visit them on their farm in the Hawkes Bay if I could ever make it.  I promised I would.

Following a 6.5 hour drive, I arrived in what felt like the middle of nowhere. At that moment, I realised how lucky I was to have this true Kiwi experience.  I was totally unprepared for this unique farm stay in the Hawkes Bay. Yet, it is an experience I look back on fondly and will never forget.

I had my first opportunity to head out hunting before dawn. Usually I would aim for a mini sleep in and a couple of cappuccinos before a give-back event. This time, however, I found myself straddling a tractor, with a rifle at the ready, pointing out deer!

The school was the next surprise. A wonderful calm spot in the midst of farmland. Putere school only had a few children enrolled, all of primary and middle school ages. They all studied together and supported each other in their learning. This was their first ever class of cooking together. I had brought Vietnamese ingredients which we used to make our own lunch. We then took all our delicious platters outside to eat picnic style under the tress.

Ruby was the hero for the day and we are still in touch today as she forges forward at High School in Napier.