Mathilde and Sébastien are 2 good friends of J.A.C.K. who have recently decided to find a way to help our sanctuary. You’ll find below their long story written by themselves as J.A.C.K.wanted them to share their feelings and their experience…
Many thanks again to Sébastien & Mathilde as well as to the so many other people who gave their time, their patience and their contribution to our action. It makes us feel good to know we aren’t that alone!
PS/ pour les francophones, le récit original français est disponible sur ce lien
The fantastic epic of Mathilde and Sébastien at the flea market of Leyment
Everything started approximately 2 months ago with a simple question: » How to find some money to help J.A.C.K.? « . Since we are not rich, we have to solicit people. A lot of people. And where can we find a lot of people ready to give some money? On a flea market, of course!
The decision is taken to book a stand on a flea market in order to sell objects for the benefit of the chimp sanctuary of Lubumbashi, DRC. But not just any kind of flea market: nearby, we are lucky to have the second biggest secondhand trade market of France (1.300 exhibitors and 100.000 estimated visitors), which takes place every year, the last weekend of August, at Leyment in the department of Ain (near Lyon). The project is therefore launched.
After having received Roxane’s approval, we open our cupboards to take out all the useless and unused things, and that is not an easy thing knowing our extreme difficulty in throwing things away.
We also do it at our respective parent’s houses and manage to gather some diverse and varied objects: childhood games, clothes we grew tired of, the cat’s playground which Brindille (our cat) was never able to approach without being terrorized … Then we send a call to our families/friends to know if they could make searches and pick up some things for us. Posters were also hung at my new office and on my car (we never know!). In parallel, our forgotten talents of artists were solicited to make information panels about the association, its functioning and its purpose.
Mid-August, we quietly collected, inventoried, cleaned, labeled and stored at my parent’s house quite a lot of items. The weather forecast announced sun; the event seemed to be on a good way. But it was too beautiful to last…
On Saturday, August 20th: the stand’s reservation. Being beginners in the domain, we visited the spot and discovered that:
1-the choice of the place was totally free and in spite of the necessary material (that we didn’t have) for its marking, nothing guaranteed us that it would not be pricked by somebody else;
2-the event is usually so gigantic that most of the exhibitors come on the spot the day before, because the organizers close the village in the morning at 6 a.m. We actually were not crazy about camping – this news didn’t sound very good. But, because it was for the chimps, we decided we could make the effort. So, Sébastien and I walked around the area to find the most ideal and convenient place to set up our tent and stand. Fortunately, our future neighbor, a regular participant, lent us 2 pegs. We found a small rope and with little pieces of carboards managed to limit the piece ofland we had decided to settle for the coming days…
So this was done! We only had to keep our fingers crossed no one would prick us the place. But the real drama arrived the next day, on Sunday, August 21st, one week before the flea market.
The weather was very warm and we drove to Lyon. Besides filling the car of clothes and objects in all kind, our friend Nathalie wanted to give us additional help and sent a call to all her address book. Then, a tidal wave of help and objects propositions fell upon us from people we mostly had never heard about before.
In a few days, about ten additional boxes arrived. The trailer we planned to use for the occasion seemed not big enough and the rent of a small van had become a priority!
Pressure was rising. The message got even spread among animal welfare organisations of Lyon. We were contacted by other unknown people, and a Facebook event was even created without us knowing about it!
Let me tell you that the next days had been epic, and that we had restless nights (note that both of us are working and, at this moment, I only come back home for weekends). Between Thursday and Friday, more people brought us extra items that had to be sorted out and labeled. The office we usually use as temporary warehouse was full!
D-Day -1. Sébastien and I were feverish. Everything was a matter of organization and thank God, this is my key point! We collected the last things and did the final shopping – nothing had to be forgotten.
Then, with our 2 fully loaded cars, we headed to my parent’s house at Rignieux-le-Franc to gather everything, finally!
6 pm, meeting with the renter of the van. Anxiety suddenly was at its highest level: the van we had asked for was apparently far too small to contain everything and we were not sure a bigger van was available… We were lucky as a small truck was still to be rented and there we left to now start the other huge step of the day: to fill up the truck! At this stage no signs of weakness would have been accepted and in an hour time everything got piled up in the big van!
There even was enough space inside for us to sleep which avoided us the painful adventure of unfolding and folding the 10-year-old tent. We thus arrived on spot at 9:30 pm and – good news!- our little piece of land at the flea market was still free!
After a light meal, a small tour in the area, a quick cardboard check to find out that the flashlights were quite at the bottom, we found it was high time to go to “bed” as a hard day was awaiting us.
When the alarm clock rang at 5:45 am, it ended a sleepless night – again!. The noise, the total lack of comfort, the stress and especially the cold prevented us from closing our eyes.
But never mind, it was now time to set up the stand and to dress up warmly with 5 layers of clothes to face the cold and the dew. Luckily, my father joined us early in the morning with some coffee and his woderful gift as a negotiator.
After some fixing this is how our 10-meter-long stand looked like !
So much place was indeed necessary to exhibit all our items, the furniture, the closet and of course our moneyboxes and our propaganda!
And so the big parade of negotiations begun. Sebastien’s strength of persuasion was put to heavy contribution all day long, to negotiate indefatigably, trying to keep moderate prices, collecting donations (there were some) and making people sensitive about the J.A.C.K. action. Again…
And again …
Even if visitors clearly came with the single purpose of finding the best deal (especially in the morning), others on the other hand stayed a bit longer to talk about J.A.C.K. Few of them bought items with the only idea to help the chimps and there was a lady and her daughter who purchased for about 10 Euros of books because she blindly followed Sebastien’s literary advice. Another lady downright claimed » when I see this action, I know I must buy something but as I can’t find anything interesting, I give you the money anyway! « .
Most of the people visited us, left without giving any donation but took the small cards on the table with the details (address and websites) of J.A.C.K. Maybe they will be willing to adopt a baby chimp?
Later that day, when dew was fading away, Sebastien and I settled panels, and added a placard to direct the passers-by’s eye that had an almighty tendency to remain very linear at the tables’level.
In the afternoon we had Isabelle’s visit, whom we met for the first time.
She came to bring us extra things and finally bought a lot of others! Her presence enabled us putting the advertising posters we had prepared to introduce J.A.C.K. and to locate our stand.
Then Carole and Hakim joined us too. They had additional stuff to sell as well; we were then 5 people holding the stand.
A last guest, unexpected, popped in as well!
At the end, time had come to tidy up – this certainly was the most painful moment of the day!
We used our last strengths in the battle and put back in boxes all the unsold articles.
We were surprised to notice that certain things we didn’t expect to sell gad been sold, while others still remained. The flea market is definitely not an exact science. When we’re filling our boxes, one of our exposing neighbors offered us some of his unsold items for J.A.C.K., amongst them a very nice set of plates. Pleasant surprise in such hectic day.
8 p.m: it is time to go. We stayed one more second to take a last photo and drove our loaded truck to my parents’ house.
After a quick meal, it was already dark when we finally unloaded all our stuff that we neatly piled up in a garage. (Some items broke but I believe this was inevitable). Then, it was time count the cash desk. By adding the sales of the day and the donations we received until then, we reached the nap of 431,50€ (=588,67 USD)
We also had Irene’s callphone, a regular customer of the secondhand trades for the benefit of associations, saying that she had collected some money for us. We shall fetch it in the week. It concludes a well filled weekend.
We went back home satisfied but exhausted!
Sunday, September 4thThe sunburns and the aches are gone, it is time to a final review. Since last Sunday, we gathered some more money thanks to the last second donations. And we would indeed say that vocations were born because Martine, Sebastien’s mother, also decided to participate to the flea market organized next to her home, in Le Muy, in the department of Var. In spite of rain that interrupted the event in the middle of the day, she managed to collect 76€ (=103.78 USD) for J.A.C.K. Wonderful result for a last-minute decided action!
Although Martine had been short in time to prepare the event, she managed to make some home made posters. Congratulations!
We can announce a final amount of 620€ (= 846.67 USD)for J.A.C.K!
Our main conclusion after such event is that the adventure is far from being over!
A lot of things remain to be sold. We shall return very soon to sort them out and to tidy them up more decently. We will put some of them for sale on the internet. The rest of the objects will go on our next flea market table. Ideas and suggestions are already on the way. See you at the next episode!
We are satisfied and proud to be able to bring this sum, certainly modest but it’s better than nothing, to J.A.C.K.
But all this would never have been possible without the participation of many persons whom we shall not hesitate to list:
– Pierrick M (Sebastien’s father) for renting the truck (it is not nothing, and thanks to the guy of Rent-a-Car who was nice also!) and giving objects and for his donation.
– Martine G.(Sebastien’s mother) to sorting out the garage, for her donation and the last second flea market
– My parents, Maurice and Dominique, for their logistic support and in particular my father for helping us at the most critical moment
– Isabelle D. for being on the stand with us, for giving us many objects (thank you to her colleaguestoo), for buying from us many others, and for helping us to pack up at the end which is as exciting as to do the dishes after a birthday party
– Nathalie D. for sharing with us her objects, her donation, her knowledge and network and more than all, her big heart (and it is not finished!)
– Carole V. and Hakim B. for their objects, their availability, and all that they have already made for JACK, and that well before us.
– Stephanie R. for her objects, her donation and for activating the network of the association “Respect Animal”
– Catherine G. for coming to our place to bring her objects
– Thierry P. and Catherine P.for their objects and for coming to keep our poor Brindille left alone at home
– Brindille M., of course, for supporting all these events with serenity and for her participation in the elaboration of posters (see photo)
– Isabelle E. for her objects
– Didier B.,Sébastien’s uncle, for his donation
– Jean-Sebastien C. et Tiffany P. for their donation
– My cousin Marie-Eve and my uncle and aunt Gilbert and Simone for their objects
– My colleague Jean-Paul P. for buying from us objects a little bit more expensively than planned
– Irène T. for all her advice, her objects and her donation
– Lisa B. and all people who launched the information on Facebook
– All the people who showed an interest in the association on the stand by buying an object or by donating
– Those whom I forget or whom I do not know, in any case thanks to everybody! I think that if there is a lesson to be kept from this adventure, it is that everybody can contribute, at his/her level, with his/her skills and possibilities to help the association.
The most important thing is to be able to unite our strengths, and by helping a good cause, we collect good energies. Good luck to J.A.C.K. and to all of those who fight every day for a better world.
Mathilde and Sebastien