The school has been a busy place with the beginning of the 2020-2021 year. But DDL has not been idle either!
This year, our development department has been tasked with developing initiatives that can create jobs and stimulate the economy in our area.
Williamso, Kerby, and Frida work together on plans in the DDL office.
They did a lot of planning in September and October, not only for these initiatives themselves, but also to re-organize and stabilize their staff and the administrative system. For November, they have been finalizing all these preparations...
Believe it or not, this little restaurant area used to be a chicken house!
As hard as it may be to believe, it does not smell bad! And it has turned into one of the cutest little snack bar/restaurant ever! (It is also where the DDL staff eat their mid-day meal.)
It currently employs three ladies, whose main clientele at this point are staff and temp workers who need a breakfast pate or something cold to drink.
The restaurant hopes to expand to also offer full meals and more fare to attract more community members and passers-by. (There is a relatively well traveled road nearby.)
These past few weeks, the DDL staff, Gulbert, and David (a carpenter friend from La Pointe) have been hard at work to get the construction depot ready for stock and for business…
Osselet (who will be in charge of inventory) sits in his office in the MACOL building (above left). Djeffson (who is responsible for grounds management) paints the other MACOL office (center). Georges is responsible for managing the fuel and vehicle maintenance supplies (far right).
While these initiatives will function as businesses, their objectives go beyond profit. Through them, we hope to:
*Provide economic advantage to families in the community by making goods available locally and at a lower cost.
This will in turn help them develop their homes as they are able to acquire necessary things like construction materials, fuel, etc at a lower cost.
*Eventually: Support small businesses by making bulk food supplies available.
Not only will small business owners be able to purchase (and therefore sell) goods at a lower price, but they will also be able to get them locally, instead of having to make dangerous road trips or pay transport fees. We have already started with the food stock on a smaller scale.
*Generate profit that will then be invested back into the community by providing supplementary support to Lemuel’s school or other development projects to benefit the community.
*Create employment opportunities, especially (but not exclusively) for local young people who sought an education and now want a chance to use their talents in their community.
This is more than about simply creating jobs, although that's certainly part of it. Read the post here for more details about the deeper impact. (Scroll down to about 2/3 of the way through the post.)
*Demonstrate the values and heart of Lemuel—to share the love of Jesus—in the way the “businesses” serve and deal with people
It’s a big dream. It’s a big challenge.
First of all, right off the bat, Haiti’s context right now makes any kind of venture like this very uncertain. The economy is all over the place. Baseline market prices change pretty much every week. Getting stock and supplies is like playing slots. The insecurity situation is---well, let me describe it this way: Imagine a line of gun powder leading to barrels of full of explosives. Now, imagine someone is trying to light that line of gun powder and set off an explosion. He has a box of matches, only it got a little wet. He keeps taking match after match out of the box and trying to strike it. Some break. Some fizzle, but eventually, he’ll get enough of a spark….you just don’t know when.
We are very aware of the risks.
Secondly, balancing the objectives of a business that needs to support itself and generate some profit with the objectives of a non-profit ministry that aims to serve people: we are aware that it is a tricky tight-rope to walk.
But as Judy prayed the other night in our weekly prayer time, Jesus didn’t call us to what was easy. He called us to plunge into the middle of the mess and live out His Kingdom values right there.
So, we’re going in.
We need your prayers. Pray for the success of these initiatives. Pray for Williamso and Kerby and their other staff who carry a great weight of responsibility in making these things happen. Pray that God would give them wisdom, humility, and great understanding in adapting to constantly changing realities—gas crises, fluctuating prices, vehicle troubles. Speaking of that, pray for our vehicles. Transport is an essential need, but a HUGE challenge (as any of you who have taken the road can attest)! Pray for open doors to good contacts who can provide stock and supplies at good prices.
Pray that as these initiatives move forward, God would keep hearts in the right place, keeping eternal priorities and values in order in the way these initiatives function for the glory of His name in this community.