Sarah’s Trip to Haiti, plus Dani’s work there…

For those of you following Sarah’s interest in missions, you may know that she will leave this Tuesday (actually, Thursday- Ed.) for the Caribbean island of Haiti for a fact-finding mission trip, ending with a visit to her boyfriend (who is doing his own mission work there all summer) and his family. You can start by reading her recent support letter, and continue with the following report from Dani Auguste, who is working on economic development projects in Gonaives, (a town you can actually find on the Haiti map if you are patient :-)).


Report II

After Eric Peter and Jack Van D. Ploeg left Haiti and after I met with Wilsonor and the other staff of Jerusalem Bloc, I prepared a work plan. The work plan is as follow:

I-Work on the communication system
Work on connecting Jerusalem to internet
II- Working on the accounting system
a.Production report
b.Financial statement (profit & loss statement especially)
III- Sponsorship program (The technical & the regular school)
a.Meeting with Wilsonor and the person in charged of the sponsorship program
b.Finding ways to improve the correspondence between the sponsored children and their sponsors
c.Discuss ways to help the school attract local resources so that it does not depend on outside money
d.Finding ways to enable the school to be self sustainable so that the sponsorship program can help the children from the poor families who would not able to afford the solid education that the Jerusalem school is offering.
IV- Administration system of Jerusalem SA
a.Understand the management system
b.Decision making process- board of direction. Understand how the partnership with the 28 Haitian partners works
c.Understand how the dividend is distributed
V- Understand the impact of Jerusalem SA’s businesses have on the Community
VI- Treatment of the employees (management of human resources)
b.payroll time
c.working condition of the employees

We solved the communication problem. Now, Jerusalem SA has access to internet. They have two computers that are connected to the internet. They also can make phone calls via the internet. I have used this service to call Ed and Jack several times. However Wilsonor needs to find another source of electricity when the city power is out. Whenever the city power is out I am unable to send out emails or to use the computer. Once the power problem is solved Jerusalem SA should have no difficulty to communicate with its Partners in USA. The language problem they might have after I leave is beyond my competence to solve.

We have been working for about four weeks on the accounting system, the production process and marketing strategies. We finished with the accounting system and the production process work. We reviewed and modified the old financial statements. We prepared a new production report sheet that Mr. Edward from Brookfield, WI, transformed into a very good Excel spread sheet. We found a new way to rearrange the blocks produced in order to facilitate their counting and to make it easier to find out if any block is missing. We reviewed the profit & loss form and translated it into French. Now we are going to use these new forms to prepare the June financial statement. With the data I got from the manager, Wilsonor Jean, I calculated the marginal cost and the marginal profit of the cement block so that Wilsonor can have good information in order to take wise decision to improve areas of the business that need improvement. I calculated the marginal cost and the marginal profit for the three types of cement blocks: bloc #10, block #15 and block #20.

The selling price of block #10 is $ H 3.60. The marginal cost of block # 10 is $ H 2.58 which is 71.63% of the selling price. The Marginal profit of block # 10 is $ H 1.02 which is 28.37% of the selling price.

The selling price of block # 15 is $ H 4. The marginal cost of block #15 is $ H 2.90, which 72.53% of the selling price and the marginal profit of block# 15 is $ H 1.10.

The selling price of block #20 is $ H 5.20. The marginal cost of block #20 is $ H 4.062, which is 78.12% of the selling price. The marginal profit of block #20 is $ H 1.14, which is 21.88% of the selling price.

Jerusalem Bloc production is based on 22 bags of cement (22 bags of cement used is one shift for the workers). The workers are paid per # of 22 bags of cement used each time they work. 22 bags of cement produce 1,290 block# 10, 1150 block# 15, 820 blocks # 20. Jerusalem Block should make a net profit of $ H 1265 (1.10*1150) for every 1,150 block#15 sold. You can calculate yourself the profit for block # 10 and block#20.

After this work Wilsonor (Jerusalem Bloc manager) and the other staff are very optimistic about the success of the business. They realized that their biggest challenge is selling the blocks. Wilsonor believes that with our new marketing strategies we can sell at lest 20,000 blocks per month. That would be $ H 22,000 net profit per month. Wilsonor believes that Jerusalem Bloc will be able to pay back its loans and debts without difficulties. It seems that Jerusalem Bloc used to take loans from other people to pay back its loan to Partners Worldwide. He is positive that the business is going to be self sustainable. I believe that the business can be self sustainable.

We finished with the accounting system. Now, we are waiting for the result of our work by the end of this month. Now, we are working on marketing and starting to think of what we going to do with the sponsorship program. We decided to form marketing group of people from the local churches and the community. We offer each person a commission of $ H 0.20 for every block she or he helps Jerusalem Bloc sell. I see this marketing strategy as a way to help the local churches and the community by creating job for the members of the churches and people living in the community. As Jerusalem is selling blocks it is creating more jobs in the community.

This marketing system has already worked. Between June 5, 2007 and June 18, 2007 Jerusalem sold 10,250 cement blocks (4,500 blocks #10 and 5,750 blocks #15). The people who help sell these blocks received a commission of $ H 2,050. They were happy. These were people without jobs. They said: “We are going to work harder to bring more clients to Jerusalem Bloc”.

We are also going on inviting people who are involved in construction to a dinner. At this dinner we are going to show them that Jerusalem blocks have nearly 3cm more than almost all its competitive block on the market. This superiority in height enables the client to save material and labor cost because they will need fewer blocks for their construction if they use Jerusalem blocks. We are also negotiating a TV advertisement with a TV station. This is what we have been doing so far. I would like to see the result of this new marketing before the internship is over. I have 6 weeks left to finish the other things. We are praying so that we can finish them on time. Please, keep praying.

Thanks for reading,

Daniel Auguste


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