Hard Work & Hope.
Justin with her first round of manioc waiting to be run through the grinder.
Rachael was the first to meet Justin (pronounced Jou-steen) and her newborn son, Walterson, about a month ago. From the moment Rachael met her, she felt that there was something different about her and that this wasn’t the first and last meeting we’d have with her. She came that first day seeking help for money to take her baby to the hospital and over the following days, we got to learn more about her and hear her story. She is a young mother—too young, actually—but her maturity and the responsibility she has taken in caring for her child, is beyond her years.
While we were walking alongside of her as her child was getting well, she shared with us her need and desire to start working. Seen as we have started working in the micro-loan business realm, we set up a time for her to meet with Kris and share her idea. When the day arrived and Kris sat down with her, he was immediately impressed. She wanted to get started with a manioc business here in Lafferonnay. As she began explaining the process, you could see the sorrow and hopelessness she brought into the meeting begin to transform into excitement because of hope (don’t ever underestimate the power of hope, my friends). Justin fielded every question with a smile on her face because she knew all the answers and believed her plan would work.
Justin was familiar with the business because at a young age she used to help her grandmother produce both manioc flour and something called amidon (pronounced ah-me-doe). The flour can be produced quicker which means a smaller profit can be made quicker. The process for amidon is more intensive, more time consuming, and more materials are needed. However, the profit is substantial and sells well in the market. Justin’s plan was to start with the flour and believed that after 4 or 5 production runs of manioc flour, she should have enough profit to purchase a 55 gallon drum and other items needed to start producing the amidon. Her plan had an expansion plan built in and it was sound. We were ready to have her start producing the flour so that she would have money in hand quicker—which meant she could start caring for herself and her baby. When we finished our business interview, we sent her away to put together a materials list and to find the prices.
The next day, Justin returned with a list in hand. She calculated that she would need 16,000 goude to begin. That is approximately $195 USD—an amount all but impossible for a single mom struggling to feed her baby to come up with.Thanks to a few generous givers, we had money available to get Justin started (again, you all are the real MVP’s—this wouldn’t be possible without you!). PRAISE!
Two weeks later, we took a short moto ride to visit Justin and see how things were going. She smiles, greets us and shows us her new business. We find that things have come full circle and she has now employed her grandmother along with two others who peel and crush the manioc.
After that, she takes it to another person who runs a business and grinds the crushed manioc into a flour. Her staff then sifts the flour through a screen and bags the refined flour to take to market to sell. Her pride in the work and her knowledge was still evidenced by the smile on her face as she explained everything and gave us a tour. She then added a quick impromptu visit to a neighbor who was in the process of producing amidon to further illustrate her future dream. We visit a little longer with her "production team,” prayed for the welfare of her team, and for the success of her company before we left.
One generous donor.
That’s all it took to help a young mother who was seeking help with her sick child who shared her need for a job with us. Two weeks and she was giving us a tour of her new "production run" of manioc flour. Two weeks and she was starting to produce much-needed income in order to provide for her family. Two weeks and she was able to employ two other people and outsource grinding to another. Six people's lives are being impacted for $195 US.
We look forward to our next visit with Justin and seeing how her business expands. Her dream has become our dream, and we are thankful we get to walk alongside of her as she chases her dream. We also invite you to bless others like Justin with an opportunity. God gives the body different talents and functions (Romans 12:4-5). If you feel called to support this ministry, you can donate directly to businesses like Justin's below.
"We're better when we Konbit together."