Monday – Ready Set Go!

Conner writes:

Well, I can officially say I was pretty terrified when I woke up this morning. Today was the day that I officially met my entrepreneur, and I was honestly very worried that it would be difficult to connect with him. Since we were launching similar businesses, Trae and I shared a translator. When everyone arrived, the five of us grabbed a table and quickly sprung into conversation. We learned a little bit about their faith, family life, why they wanted to be in the taxi business, what their dreams are, and much more. We tried to go into detail with them on certain financials when Trae’s entrepreneur spoke up. “Business is Business”, he told us. This man knew no English but threw this phrase at us out of nowhere and we got a kick out of it. Both of these guys were so awesome and we had a great time with them. They were ready to work, stoked on their faith, and were an overall joy to be around. After going over a few more things, we went our separate ways to prepare for the celebration dinner that night.

The celebration dinner was such a cool experience. All the entrepreneurs came looking snazzy in their fancy outfits and many brought family with them to watch them “graduate” from the Westmont entrepreneurial program. Getting to meet their families was so special because we got to see what is motivating them to come start their own business and better their lives. Many of them just want to be able to make their families proud and provide for them, so when the entrepreneurs were presented with their graduation certificates everybody was overjoyed. Seriously, if you want to experience God then just come here and see a Haitian man or woman smile.

I just have one more little story to tell, and if you know me, you’ll know that this is a classic Conner moment. After dinner we all decided to go on a walk before sundown, but there’s only really one road we can take to reach the main road. Unfortunately, due to torrential rains earlier in the day, the street was completely covered in mud. Thinking I could make it through with no problem, I went ahead of the pack. I jumped onto a rock, slipped, and sunk my feet deep in the mud. An entire street of people, including my fellow Westmont students, all joined together in an uproarious laughter as I stood there about ankle deep in mud. So I now have a new most embarrassing moment! Thanks Haiti.

Cole writes:

It’s yo boi Cole back again for another daily vlog. Make sure to smash that like button and press subscribe. Meme of the day is #haitifullsend

Today was the day that we had anticipated. Almost three months of preparation for this moment. I desperately hoped that I would build some kind of relationship with my entrepreneur, Fenel. He was one of the first people to come into the room, and I was met with a nervous smile. Over the course of the next three hours, I attempted to form a bond with Fenel through our translator. After asking a few basic questions about his past, we jumped straight to business. It was really cool figuring out how business operated in Haiti, and how to successfully launch a new business. I asked questions that could assess how far along Fenel was in the planning process for his drink stand. He was fairly far long compared to other entrepreneurs, and was ready to launch his business.

I asked Fenel what he wanted to name his stand, and he quickly responded with, “God Bless Westmont Shop.” I was taken aback by his response, and I asked if this was really what he wanted plastered all over his drink stand. He started to explain that he grew up with one brother, and in 2010 his brother saved up and left Haiti for the US. Fenel explained that he has contacted his brother many times and asked for help financially, and not once has his brother responded to his pleas. Fenel then said that Westmont, a program that barely knows him, is willing to give him a loan and help him start a business. He was very touched by what Westmont offered him, so he named his shop appropriately.

It is moments like these that really affirm the work that we are doing here in Haiti. I hope to have more of the moments throughout the week, and grow closer to Fenel and God in the process.

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