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When I lived in Chad it was the poorest country in the world, PCI was about zero. The only company that was making a profit was the brewery – not even the oil they had was being exported. Bad situation that has gotten worse over the last 20 years.
While there I had an employee that asked me for a $20 loan to buy a piece of metal so his ‘house’ would have a roof during the rains and his kids would not die. He actually described it to me like that.
He had a son that died about a week after I got there because of unclean water and lack of meds. I thought that I could do good so I shipped in all the meds people that worked for me would need for a month. Employees had family that were still sick – it made no sense. I asked why and one guy said that his wife sold the stuff I gave him because the money was worth the risk (of his kids death?). After that I made everyone come to my house – all the wives and kids – every day to take meds. Months 3 to 12 of my stay, no employee family member died.
Same guy with the roof asked for a block of ice one day. I asked why and he said the he could sell it on the way home. Most of the town had no electricity so ice was rare. I had him make all the ice he could every day and sell it on the way home each night. He made more money selling ice (made with clean, filtered water) than he made working for me.
Every time I tell that story, or the longer version, I amaze myself at how little it took to make his life better. If I had a way to give him electricity, I would have given him a freezer.
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