Small successes aren't so small here.
Best part of the story. Last week I sat down Dadou and we were going over everything for the week. He randomly interrupted me and said he had been saving 75% of his check each month and have been putting it in the bank. I smiled really big. He then continued by telling me he'd saved 3/4 of what he would need to purchase a truck. I just about gasped. A truck?? Wow. Now that's big time. And here's the what made me even more impressed; He started telling me all the reasons he wanted to purchase a truck.
Today I woke up and started my day by inputting finances and working on payroll. Have I mentioned I love payroll? This time, inputting payroll had a whole different meaning to me. This time I was giving Dadou (our Haitian director/project manager/partner in work life) a check for the 12th time. 12 times means he has been working for a year! Time sure does fly by. He has been at my side every step of the journey. He has been a great teacher the last 12 months. Dadou has invested so much into me. He has taught me how to not get taken advantage of, prices in construction, appropriate creole phases, how to be a good boss to employees, and when it's appropriate to give. It's hard to sum up in one sentence everything he has done for me. Let's just say he has played a huge role in Second Mile Haiti and all the successes that the organization has had so far.
Anyways, back to what I was saying. Dadou received his 12th check today. In a year Dadou has been able to purchase a motorcycle. This motorcycle has been a blessing to Second Mile Haiti. He has used the motorcycle to transport employees to the land, pick up random materials we need, and to give me rides into town and to the bank. Every time I go to the land his motorcycle isn't there because he is letting someone use it. That's what is so great about Dadou. He knows he has an advantage over most Haitians and instead of gloating or only using it for himself, he instead decides to use it for everyone and the needs of other people. This is what makes Dadou a great director. The higher he moves up the ladder the more he gives to people.
In a year Dadou has also been able to build a house! Dadou's house is almost finished. He put the roof on last December and today he has workers out at the house putting plaster on the walls. Today, I took a trip out to his house to see for myself. And as expected, It was bel. It felt good to be out at his house. The workers were singing, and there were smiles all around. Most of the workers were employed from his village. They were his neighbors and they were happy for him. There was even 4 other people standing in front of his house talking about how bel it was. This is exciting! There's something about a person 1. having a job, 2. rising through all the hardships, and 3. being able to build their own house. There is pride in that. A pride the unfortunately most Haitians don't get to understand. But, at least those workers and onlookers can look at Dadou, and say, "he did it, it can be done."
"Jenn, when it rains to much it's hard to take Tania (his daughter) to school. I worry about her when she goes to school on a moto. And Jenn, there has been a lot of sick people in our village and people in my family are constantly going to the hospital. I need a truck so that I can take them to/from the hospital. (His mother-in-law recently had a stroke and once a week she goes to a local hospital for therapy.) And…when the organization's truck isn't working I'd be able to use my truck to pick up cement, rebar, and stuff for construction."
Wow. When he was finished talking I half expected him to borrow the rest of the money he needed for the car. But instead he said he thinks that in about 4 more months he'll have saved the rest of the money he needs.
This is why I love my job. I am glad I get to be on the same team as Dadou. I'm glad we have had the opportunity to invest in him, but I'm really glad that he's able to invest in me. I no longer see Dadou's job as an asset to his family alone. I see it as an asset to his whole village. Because he is building a house there have been job opportunities for his neighbors. Through him, his family and friends will be able to have the opportunity to go to the hospital on a minute's notice. And because he's just that good of a guy, his family and friends are taken care of. The money he makes is invested back into the community when he makes purchases for things his family needs. And those people that sell food, and clothes, and materials receive much needed income. It's a chain. It's a chain I'm happy to be a part of. Our role as his employer seems so small compared to the role he plays in his friends and families lives. So yes, this 12th check meant something, and so will the 13th, 19th, and 24th. Don't worry I will let you know the amazing things that come from 24 checks ;)