Two-way Learning in Les Anglais
A house in Les Anglais
by Allison Archambault
This post comes from Bill Nichols who has been volunteering with EarthSpark in Les Anglais - Thank you Bill for your time, intellect, and flexibility! Bill is a marketing strategy consultant who occasionally provides his services to NGOs. Prior to assisting us at EarthSpark, Bill spent three months in Ethiopia assisting the German-based Solar Energy Foundation.
"I am in the midst of spending nearly three weeks with ESI in Les Anglais. I am volunteering my business expertise in sales and marketing to assist ESI and their Haitian partner, COREA, in the launch and operation of their new retail store. So far I sense that I am learning at least as much from our Haitian hosts as I am sharing with them.
Lessons so far:
1 . To drive across Les Anglais’ fast flowing river at night one must hire a river guide to wade across in front of your vehicle to ensure that the fording route you follow is only hub cap deep. Apparently it is advisable to avoid the car swallowing passages.
2 . In a town with no running water, willingness to take a bucket shower is essential. (I have found that a bucket shower can be every bit as refreshing as a flowing water shower back home.)
3 . The members of ESI’s local partner, COREA - - a town economic development group - - are highly motivated for the successful launch and operation of their store. The COREA members readily volunteer to take responsibility for each task that comes up…then they follow through and get the task done.
4 . Marketing in rural Haiti requires some tools that we don’t use much in the US. For example, a megaphone carrying barker walking through the weekly market announcing a sales special…or, in a place where literacy is low, product demonstrations become very important.
5 . And of course I have learned that in soccer-crazy Les Anglais, we can schedule no meetings during World Cup matches. When Brazil and Argentina were both still in the Achase, this was especially true as the Haitians are wild about those two teams."
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