Today was the first day that we actually put our business plans into practice. There is a fair bit of apprehension that I woke up with this morning because I fear that the drink stand that our entrepreneur wants to open will not be a profitable business because of the high price of ice in Port de Paix. Fortunately, in a meeting this morning, our entrepreneur told us that he had a friend with a freezer that for a much more reasonable price could freeze his ice to use for his drink stand. We gave him a loan and are planning on meeting him tomorrow to see his stand and see if there are any ways that we can improve it. I still have some fear about the drink stand because of the sheer quantity of drinks that Vilsaint will have to sell. I’m not sure that his stand is unique enough to compete with the numerous others like it in the market. Hopefully his location will make all the difference.
I also had the privilege of working with the charcoal project. We were able to burn our first batch today. It burned way faster than we thought that it would. Despite this we were able to gather a fair bit of raw material to produce the charcoal mixture that we will be compressing it into briquettes tomorrow. The whole time our entrepreneur showed so much energy and a great work ethic. I have to admit that by the afternoon I was very tired and getting runned down though, because of his motivation, we kept pushing forward. His strong work ethic truly reinforced the fact that this is a partnership and not a handout. I have great hope for the charcoal business; it all comes down to our experimentation this week.
In my experiences in the marketplace I notice staggering impact of being white and being in the minority. I have never been in a situation where I was in the minority and the difference has been so sharp. Much of the integration that has occurred has been very pleasant, though there has been some negativity directed at me. This experience will shape the way I view and experience minorities when I am in the majority. It has been a rare privilege to see and embrace the paradigms of others through their lens. It gives me more wisdom about the world to take back and use it in my day-to-day life.
– Maxwell Schwan