31 October 2009


I've been talking a bit of late about the increase in sales, but it warrants an explanation.

Alfonso, the chief baker has started to find me customers in the local town, starting with 5 here, 10 there etc. Then he came to me and said there's a fair sized demand for bread in the area he lives. "Cool" I said, take 20 breads home, sell them and bring me the cash tomorrow. Which he duly did - he's good like that. Then we went up to 50 breads a day and yesterday was 100! Now he doesn't sell these alone but has his wife in charge of it, and of course I can't let her do this out of the goodness of her heart, she must be paid.

As with all things involving money here, a sit down meeting was called, which also warrants the services of a translator. Luckily I have my friend and colleague Pedro who not only speaks Portuguese as a first language but also knows a thing or two about local labour etiquette so looked after my side of negotiations. I am of course exaggerating, and wasn't fighting for cheapest labour but needed a gauge on the going market rate. With that sorted I now have a third employee, albeit a casual and not on the books, but a daily rate.

Dropping off Alfonso one night with the consignment of breads I noticed he was carrying something else. In the car headlights I saw it said "Vende se Pao" ("Bread for Sale"). He had made his own sign with some left over paint and a piece of roof sheet off-cut I had at the bakery. Who said Africa can't do entrepreneurship! I'm really happy he has done this under his own steam, so much so that I went to Bela Vista - where he lives - to see where he had put the sign up. That's obviously what the photo above is of, although please note it isn't me standing there but my friend Mike.


  1. hey is that guy in the photo also for sale?

  2. could be i'd have to ask him...

  3. Hello, you have a very nice blog, and your photos are very beautiful, I wish a nice day, Radka.

  4. Sure sounds like Alfonso and his wife have taken a keen interest in the business end of things -- wonderful to have some invaluable help, surely!