What I'm about to write to you may sound concerning if you don't read the whole post.
So follow me and rest assured that everything is under control.
Yesterday we learned that a moto driver of ours lent out his old moto to his cousin to make some extra money. His cousin was transporting someone in a neighboring town when he decided to pass a vehicle on the left. Unbeknownst to the moto driver, when he began passing, there was a lady standing in the middle of the road. With little time to react, he hit said lady with his moto and she is currently receiving non-life threatening medical care. The moto driver and his passenger sustained no injuries and that is a huge praise. The moto, on the other hand, needs some work.
The owner of the moto is someone who we have been pouring into for years. We talk business often and he is developing into quite the business man in our community. He has stewarded what he has well, for the most part, and personally explores concepts of business that we share with him. He thinks a little differently than many we work with and this has benefitted him.
If you've been following our work for a bit, you know that we do a lot of moto contracts. We do this mainly because they have been the most profitable for drivers, it is something many people know how to do, there is always a demand because not many people have cars, and it benefits the driver in the long run because they get to keep the moto once they pay it off. With the contracts though, there are a few non-negotiables the drivers have to agree to beforehand (mind you, many moto drivers here do not have numbers 2-4 because of cost and thus drive illegally).
1. They agree to pay back a certain amount a week for a set number of weeks
2. They must have a valid license
3. Insurance papers are obtained
4. The moto has a license plate
Once the above conditions are agreed upon and completed, the driver and witnesses sign the contract and they are free to leave and start making money. Meeting these requirements though, takes time because nothing in Haiti moves quickly.
So why am I telling you this? Because of the incident I started out by sharing with you.
Following the accident, the police took his moto and he was summoned to the police station. He went with all of his paperwork for that moto and his license because he knew they needed to check it out. Once they looked it over and everything was correct, they handed it back and said that he was lucky because they wouldn't keep his moto. Had he not had those documents and a plate on the moto, he would have lost the moto completely and been hurting even more. Funny thing is...he had just gotten a new license a few weeks ago because he lost his first one so that's another praise!
The police them told him that since he was the owner of the bike, he was responsible to pay for all the woman's medical care even though she was in the wrong by being in the middle of the road. The police said they were keeping his moto until he had taken care of the lady and this is a prime example of Haitian justice.
Our friend agreed because he had no other choice. Preliminary cost is 10,000 goudes which equates to roughly $105 US. If you know anything about Haiti, you know that money is not easy to come by and saving is especially difficult because daily needs are more important. You can't save for tomorrow if you're not living today...that is the predominant view of the majority in this country. Prices of everything have skyrocketed over the past year and this is an even greater stressor on a country that couldn't handle the stress before.
Our next question to him was how he was going to pay for this unexpected expense.
For a few years Jessie has been talking to him about the importance of opening a bank account and setting aside money as often as possible once daily needs are met in case of emergencies. They've talked about future dreams and how they can be achieved if he would be faithful in starting to save what he can now. They talked through all the benefits and obstacles they could think of pertaining to saving money and ultimately he opened an account. Since starting our business classes, Jeff has been asking each person to look at what it takes to run their business. They look at their costs, their benefits, obstacles, marketing, emergency preparedness, business development, oversight, and savings among other things. However, it ultimately comes down to the business owner and whether or not they see the value in anything we have been sharing with them. Much like sharing the gospel, we're faithful in sharing what we know and leaving the rest up to God to work through.
With that little backstory, our friend responded that he was going to have his cousin pay for what he could and then cover the rest with money from his savings account. Excuse me, what was that? Did he mean that he had money in his savings account to cover this unexpected emergency? Why yes, yes he did. Because he decided to try out what we've been talking about, he has money available to cover this expense without it destroying his livelihood. Granted, he didn't have all of covered with his savings, but he had 80% of it on hand.
This morning he told Jessie that if he hadn't of opened an account and started saving any money, things would have been grave for him. He has seen the value of having all of his paperwork in order for his moto, a license, and a license plate, as well as the importance of a savings account....and it was too his benefit.
He bought in and the payoff was better than he could imagine.
...and THAT is why we will keep doing what we're doing.
We believe in what we do and know that whatever God wills through our work, it will be better than we could hope or imagine.