Monday, June 05, 2006


Moses is a member of Providence Baptist Church and owns a charcoal business. The vast majority of Liberians cook with charcoal and so business is always booming. But the work is dirty, extremely labor intensive, and the profit margin is small. Moses goes into the bush to cut down trees, saw limbs, and pile the wood to burn to make his own charcoal, and then transports it back to the city to sell it. Transportation of charcoal is a challenge, as Moses does not own a vehicle and is therefore at the mercy of whatever truck he can hire (another booming but low profit business) to transport the charcoal back to his shack. In addition, his business is situated a mile away from the main road, serving a village away from bigger market areas; Moses has to hire young men with wheelbarrows to carry the bags of charcoal from the truck back to his business. A bigger challenge is keeping the charcoal dry; most of you know how frustrating it is to start wet charcoal, and Moses knows that if he sells wet charcoal, his customers will not come back. Days before we visited his business, a tropical storm came through Liberia and took the roof off of the mat structure where he was storing his charcoal. He now gives up a portion of his very small home to store his charcoal in order to keep it dry. Moses hopes his LEAD loan will help him put corrugated zinc on the roof of his business to keep his charcoal dry, open a second market place, and a future dream is to purchase a vehicle.

Beatrice and Moses are typical of thousands of Liberians attempting to put food on their families’ tables through their micro-businesses. With your help, LEAD is working with Beatrice and Moses to develop and expand their livelihood. Their dream—LEAD’s-- is that as their businesses grow, they will be able to employ other Liberians as well.

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