Monday, January 29, 2007


Sunday, Jan 29: The Day Started with Party Time

Team Speciose: Lee, Anne, Speciose, Stephanie.

Barbara and the orphans.

Demonstration with samples donated by SoftSheen Carson in the US.

A Figi manicure with nailpolish donated by Essie in the US.

Anne, Lee, Stephanie and Susan went into town this morning to meet with Speciose at her flower and party rental shop. Her accountant, Gakuba Amuza, was also present. Colorful fresh cut flowers, that she sells and uses for arrangements, lined the front of her shop.

Since our last mission her business has increased, but she still needs to secure a loan to purchase a truck for deliveries and a larger tent. Owning a truck would substantially reduce the high cost of deliveries and a larger tent would enable her to accommodate requests from potential customers. We are hoping that Bpeace’s new relationship with Fina Bank will enable Speciose to secure a loan to keep her business growing.

The team discussed her current accounts, which includes supplying flowers to the Supreme Court, and how to expand her party rental business through networking and marketing. Speciose was happy to hear that Blanche Weingarten of Party Time, Academy Chair Rental Company in New York (and a pioneer in women owning businesses), will be helping to advise her on how to grow a profitable party rental business.

Speciose’s, partner Alphonsine Muteteri is in New York, as her husband, H.E. Mr. Joseph Nsengimana, was appointed Rwandan Ambassador to the UN. We will be connecting with Alphonsine upon our return.

Speciose sends her love to Loretta, Julia, Manny who were on the last mission.

Jeanne-supporting orphans through education and business
Meanwhile, Marla and Barbara accompanied by Barbara’s cousin David, visited Jeanne and her business plan consultant. They reviewed plans for her beauty school which will be located next door to her salon. It is Jeanne’s plan to focus on teaching orphans for free to be beauty operators during the first year of operation. Then in succeeding years, in addition to orphans, she would like to open up enrollment to paying students. Barbara brought US design information on beauty schools to share with Jeanne and discussed the practice of offering reduced rates to clients when beauty school students provide services.

David Ross of Orphans of Rwanda is researching equipment for Jeanne’s bakery and working out financial arrangements for their partnership. Jean was very excited to meet “cousin” David who is here from Tanzania, where he was climbed Kilimanjaro. His background includes working in Russia developing an Internet cafe and we are hoping he will help Anne and Golde mentor Nadia, by providing technical expertise for the start up of her internet café.

Barbara and ‘cousin’ David (actually her brother-in-law’s brother) visited Orphans of Rwanda and presented them with a generous check from Barbara’s sister. They were joyously welcomed and extremely appreciative of the donation.

Great Connections
The team joined Chris Lundh, CEO of Terraces for lunch— and discussed ways Terracom (the supplier of telephone and Internet service to Rwanda) can partner and support our associates in Rwanda. Anne pulled out our wish list which included supplying free laptops, Internet access and training for our associates, as well as setting up Nadia’s Internet café. Stay tuned as it looks like we have a commitment from Terracom to supply the aforementioned! We will be speaking with Chris next week to develop next steps and a plan to proceed.

Marla and Anne with Brian J. George, US Affairs Officer, discussed the possibility of including our Rwandan associates for consideration of available grants in neighboring countries, which match our mission. Seems Rwanda is not on the radar screen but with the recent acceptance into the East African block, things may change.

Head to Toe--SoftSheen Carson and Essie Nail Polish Product Demo
Lee, Stephanie, Barbara, Marla and Anne went to Jeanne’s salon where we met Brigitte and Harriette to try out SoftSheen Carson products, one of the most popular brands in Rwanda. The results were quite impressive and it is the hope of our salon owner associates that with the help of Bpeace, the products will become more readily available in Rwanda.

Marla took the opportunity to get a pedicure, complete with geranium oil foot massage, while Susan had her nails done with Essie Nail Polish in Fiji (donated by the Essie company in the US). The manicurist loved the quality and Susan loved the results. Nail polish is another product that’s hard to come by on any consistent or cost efficient manner. Rwanda is a wide open for market expansion of quality brands. The demand is certainly here.

Sabra makes the case
Sabra accompanied Pascasie to meetings at the Brewery Distributor and Fina Bank, to assist her in securing the retention of her brewery distributorship and funding. Sabra made the case by emphasizing Pascasie’s strategy for growth in correlation with that of the brewery’s plan for expansion. Looks like another home run for our associate.

In the afternoon, Sabra held financial counsel once again—this time for Esther who is building a daycare center, Speciose and Languida.

David treated us to a lively dinner at Legends, a new art gallery/restaurant which has great views overlooking the city. Dinner was delicious; we had chicken—something that hasn’t been readily available. Thank you, David. We each stated one word that embodied our feelings about this mission, as Marla, Sabra and Stephanie will be heading back home tomorrow. “Productive, Enlightening, Powerful, Awesome, Fun, Transforming and Hopewell,” come to the February 28th (place TBD) Rwanda Mission Debrief in New York to find out who and what’s behind our “one words” and learn more about our progress.

Anne: It's just fantastic to read about your progress in today's blog. Who would have thought decades ago, as kids growing up, when we lived and played across the street from Blanche/Essie Wiengarten and family, that you would be involved with creating business support in Rwanda. It's just amazing what your commitment and actions of you and your group are accomplishing. A Texas sized three cheers for you all and the Bpeace mission.
I guess our brother Eddie beat me to the punch! I guess Hollis Hills had a great deal of heart - who would have imagined that Anne and all of her children, our niece Emma, Madelyn, Essie, Blanche and I would all be working in the same organization--this is fantatic. I congratulate the team on going the extra mile and bringing so much to the table - just imagine what your hard work will sow in the upcoming months. Love to all, Golde
Hi Lee and Anne. It is nice to be home, but I miss everyone. It feels strange to be alone, not surrounded by the wonderful team, Richard, Susan, Beth and all the associates. Enjoy your final days of this mission! Marla
Hi Barb! Great photo's. Sounds like an amazing experience. Miss you. Vito
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