The feast is magnificent. On the large dark-wood table in front of me are platters of the most delicious food spaced evenly by large candles. Chicken, pork, fresh bread, cakes, Fanta. But on the plate in front of me, the juiciest half pound cheese burger. I have no idea how on earth they managed to find sliced cheese lettuce or BBQ sauce in the village, but they did. I have a huge smile on my face as I slowly lift the sandwich of happiness to my mouth, pausing for a moment to take in the aroma. I go to take a bite, closing my eyes in the hope my taste senses will be heightened, and...
I wake up in a cold sweat. I blink rapidly to try and get my bearings, squinting at the bug net gleaming white in a beam of moonlight that has filtered through the thatched roof. It takes the better part of 10 seconds to accept reality.
"DAMN!... Not again."
Like a kid who has been woken from a dream about going to Disney Land, I will myself to fall back asleep and re-enter where I left off. Nothing. I let out a soft sigh and accept my fate. I resume a depressingly dreamless sleep after 45 min of laying in desperation with a watering mouth.
It is hot. I'm hot. Sweaty. Frustrated. I'm tapping my phone against my thigh impatiently.
Yesterday, after he missed the meeting, Austen called Emerson. He apologized for not being able to attend and rescheduled for us to meet him at his house. HE rescheduled. HE set the time. HE set the place. HE does not show up. His madam walks over and tells us he had some police business. We leave. I mean, there is care free, and then there is having no regard for other people’s schedules. Let's get real here.
My biggest challenge so far working in Chinjara isn't the language barrier isn't lack of trust, isn't some uncontrollable abstract complexity. I simply can't get four men together for one simple hour of discussion. Facilitator fail.
On the walk back home we pass though the village center. I point at a two-story brick building with power lines entering at a junction with the tin roof I hadn’t noticed on our previous trips.
"Austen, what one is that?"
"Ahh, that is the Chinjara Livestock Cooperative"
Livestock cooperative, CLAs, veterinary services, cooperative, lots of animals, lots of animals who would need lots of veterinary services. I ask Austen if we can go have a look.
I walk in the door of the coop building. For some reason I was expecting more than an empty room with a single 2,500L storage tank for milk. The manager and coop chair drop what they are doing and make their way over to us. They start to explain to me what the coop does, its challenges, and what they need.
Their main focus is on dairy products. Belonging to the cooperative is about 800 heads of cattle, 680 local cattle and 140 exotic dairy cows from guess where, Canada. They hope to expand the number of exotic dairy cows to 600 in order to improve milk yields, since the exotic species gives 10 - 15 times the local Angoli breads.
After explaining I would not be able to do anything with a proposal for a pasteurizer, cold storage room, or a packaging machine, they move on to discuss another issue. They only have one Vet for the entire cooperative and very limited amounts of drugs.
I smile at the opportunity just presented. I ask the cooperative if they know anything about CLAs. They have heard there had been four individuals trained, but had no idea who they were. I introduce Austen, and we organize a meeting for Friday between the coop vet, the coop chair, and the four CLAs. We also set a date and time for the following Thursday at 09 hours for the CLAs to come and the cooperative and present to the farmers on the services, and products they provide, provide them contact information, and collaborate on how they will work together. Austen and the coop chair both seem excited to start working together.
Huge potential market, apparently willing and able players open to collaboration, and both sides will have a clear benefit. The cheeseburger of opportunities.
But wait… If these CLAs are supposed to be entrepreneurs and business people, why haven't they identified and perused it already?