Lumelang batho ba lefatše (hello people of the world),
Happy New Year from Lesotho! I brought in 2015 here in Thaba Tseka with some great friends. The countdown is one I’ll never forget as an all too ominous thunderclap struck at midnight. This was followed by scores of Chinese fireworks and gunshots into the air. I used the latter as an opportunity to explain how gravity works to a few of the police offers, but I don’t think it mattered. The Basotho rarely stay up past 10pm, so this was a new experience in itself.
♪ Working at the Car Wash, yeah! ♪
I recently received a generous grant from my brethren at the St. Mary of Vernon Men’s Club for an educational movie screening project which is still in the works. There was a surplus so I began seeking out business owners to see if I could help them improve their operations. I met one young man of 21 years who had serious ambitions of starting a car wash in town. Being the eldest orphan of 3 siblings, it was his responsibility to care for the family- a struggle that’s all too common in this country. I could immediately tell he had serious intent and dedication to making this business work. It was a matter of livelihood and I was more than happy to help. This was his first endeavor into entrepreneurship so it was a great opportunity to educate and assist.
The first step was to create a business plan. We met and wrote one out on paper in a manner of few hours. He insisted it be done this way since he doesn’t have a computer/smartphone. I told him it was important to eventually transfer it to a digital medium for redundancy/prosperity sake. Once we crunched the numbers, he was ecstatic to realize he’d only need to wash 8 cars per day (one per hour) to turn a nice profit. One that would not only put food on the table but also allow for further savings/investment into the business. I told him a major condition to receiving this grant was that the money be used solely for his business/family and he agreed almost vehemently.
He sought to operate on his friend’s compound on the main road by the markets. This was an ideal location and also didn’t have any overhead. The grant was mainly used for the purchase of a pressure washer which cost about $80 USD. He already had a vacuum (ubiquitously called Hoovers here) and the towels for drying were a very cheap purpose. The only monthly expense was electricity which we calculated to $10 USD/month.
He’s been up and running for a month now. Business has been flowing as expected. He says some days he’ll have more business than others which is to be expected. I instructed him to keep a log for every customer he services. I plan to write a follow-up in the following months.
Back in September when we were consolidated due to security concerns, I regrettably had to leave my beloved cat Motse behind. I ensured enough food and water was left out to provide sustenance for a month. I also gave my key to a trusted local friend to check in once a week. Alas, this wasn’t enough to keep a socialized cat caged in a house by herself. By the third week she managed to push open a window which required strength I didn’t know a cat could possess. I imagine her heat cycle was also a driving factor. Either way, when I returned, she had been out for 48 hours.. more than enough time to find a gentleman caller. Female cats have an astounding 98% conception rate while in heat so I knew she took my absence as an opportunity to multiply. And multiply she did, giving birth to 3 kittens on 26 November.
With the help of a friend I prepared a nice little nest and fed Motse milk and chicken to keep her calcium and protein levels up, respectively. Other than that her instincts took care of the rest. It was surprisingly effortless. As of now all 3 kittens have been placed in new homes to my relief. Towards the 10th week they became rather insane with nonstop kitten energy. Cuteness turned into destruction and it was time to say goodbye. It was a fun little experience however, and it turned out to be an interesting process to observe.
Here are some pictures of the little rascals:
– – http://imgur.com/a/twAjg
Thanks for reading!
Great to hear of your adventures and the lives that are changing from your experience (including yours).
Car washes and kittens!!! I love reading your posts:)
Good to hear from you Travis! It’s the little things that make the biggest impact, keep up the good work!)