I was able to hear the thunderous pattering of rain hitting the metal roof just outside for most of the night. Our team arose not knowing if the weather was going to cooperate and allow us the freedom to physically launch the businesses today. After a delayed start, the entrepreneurs met us once again at the hotel. We all eagerly greeted and re-established the connections we had worked to develop the previous day. While every group was in very different stage of earning trust and developing relationships, it was inspiring to see smiles and laughter across uniquely different cultures. While communication and translation were challenging at times, all the teams remained diligent in empathetically connecting with their respective Haitian entrepreneurs.
By mid-morning it became clear that some entrepreneurs were clearly ready to begin their businesses, while others remained unclear on some of our proposed business models and processes. My entrepreneur, Josette, was excited to get started with her retail clothing business, but was a bit apprehensive to our proposed inventory system. In Haiti, accounting, inventory and pricing systems are not a cultural norm and hence, a challenge to teach and implement. These challenges remained consistent amidst many of our proposed business models.
As a result of continued unsettled weather and delayed delivery of essential products for our businesses, we released our entrepreneurs for the remainder of the day. I believe all of the teams were eager to go out and walk alongside our partners as they physically start interacting in the marketplace. Because we saw this hands-on approach as a better teaching opportunity, we where discouraged to learn that we simply were not ready to make this step. We spent the rest of the early afternoon sorting, tagging and pricing clothing for the pepe businesses.
Fortunately the weather cleared, and that afternoon we all were able to travel into the hillside of Port-de-Paix in order to watch and play basketball with some of the boys from the church. While putting up a great fight, the Westmont men did prevail over our Haitian counterparts. Of course we followed the true competitive nature and leadership of our professor, Rick Ifland. Meanwhile, the women painted the nails of some of the locals. After a long game, thankfully benefitting from cooler temperatures, we gathered at one of Haiti’s more prominent restaurants, located interestingly enough, above a gas station. Here, we had the opportunity to relax and enjoy a meal in fellowship with a few of the boys from church.
When reflecting on our day, we all expressed concern and unease about each of the business models, our relationships with the entrepreneurs and a delayed schedule in which to launch the businesses. All in all, unpredictability and uncertainty seemed to plague our minds. After needed prayer and group processing we turned our unease over to the Lord in order to calm our spirits and set our minds on His great ability.