28 February 2010

wholesale

 
Sophisticated Establishment - one of my new bread customers

Check out those wagon wheels, what a shop! well its more like a little bar actually or "Baraka" as they call them here.
After months of slogging away for more sales I've changed direction and moved away from trying to sell the odd bread here and there 'retail' and tried to find some wholesale buyers. So far so good and I now have 3 or 4 regular customers who take approx. 30 breads each. Of course, to enable them to make a mark up I've had to drop my price by 20% but for the number they are buying I think its worth it for now. My profit margin is slimmer but hopefully the volumes will make up for it. I'll let you know how it progresses over the coming weeks but for now all seems well :)

25 February 2010

Orphanage

The orphanage - almost complete

I thought I'd give a mention to another one of the projects we currently have under way here. The Alulamile Children's Village. A place to provide a home, love and care to children orphaned in our surrounding community.

Construction is almost complete (when are builders ever  on time!?) but we are still outstanding some materials so I spent the whole of the afternoon yesterday drafting an appeal letter with photo's to show to local building suppliers in a hope of receiving donations that can see us through to completion.

Today some of my colleagues are off to Maputo to see if they can make any headway in getting the outstanding materials. I wish them luck! and hope they return with the car overloaded!


 



23 February 2010

the worst 4 x 4 x far

 
another happy customer

Following last weeks flour theft episode (see previous post) I have been behind on stock of ingredients. Today I have a new regular customer - see pic above, a shopkeeper - who wants 30 breads. Great so make him the breads! If only it was that simple. With no flour today and stock only due in tonight from Maputo I have sent a friend off to buy some flour in the local town (at an extortionate rate). My friends car got a flat tyre this morning so he took the Land Rover.
Not 5 minutes later I get a call: "the bottom has just fallen out of the car!".
Great! that's one car in Maputo, one with a flat tyre and the other along the way with the drive-shaft sitting on the road... This could be an interesting day. I have to try and get the car rescued first, then worry about how I'll get hold of some flour...

22 February 2010

rice factory

 
Local Rice processing Factory 

The above pic shows the interior of the local rice processing factory, full of bags of seed and fertiliser at the moment as you can see. My phone has a program that is supposed to 'stitch' together multiple photos into a 'panorama' view that's why the quality doesn't look too great. You can see the machine that actually separates the rice from its husk on the middle right of the photo. Its actually pretty small, but in a larger industrial operation the machines take up the whole floor space of huge warehouses.

19 February 2010

Coffee Time

 
 The pleasant surprise that arrived today!

There's nothing we like more here in the bush than a good cup of coffee, whether its that 6am wake up shot, or a long relaxing one after supper.

Having shared my love for coffee with a few other bloggers out there, I had a very kind offer from someone to send me some decent coffee. Having worked in the charitable business for a few years now I have unfortunately developed a slight scepticism towards people's promises of well-doing as they often don't follow through. So how pleasantly surprised I was to hear from my colleagues in South Africa (where our postal address is) that I had received a parcel all the way from Seattle in the US. "There's only person I know there" I thought, Melody from www.StarbucksMelody.com. Wow she was actually true to her word! I shouldn't be so surprised but I am, so a BIG thank you to Melody for the effort of posting me some delicious coffee, much appreciated! My hope in people's good intentions is restored!

See picture below for an interesting spot to enjoy one's coffee on the go!

Mobile Coffee spot / 3 piece suite and coffee table

17 February 2010

Burglar bars installed

 
Burglar bars - a necessary evil


"Let me out!" - Hendrik doing the fitting


Finally getting the necessary security in over the windows, you can see from the bottom picture above the mosquito netting on the window is still broken. Just in time as we had new ingredients arrive last night which I really can't afford to replace.
The one bag of flour we had stolen meant we couldn't bake yesterday so that is lost earnings. Good news is I secured an order of 50 breads for delivery this afternoon. That's quite a large one off order which hopefully will bring repeat business!



16 February 2010

Burglar bars

Nice Shades! - Grinding / cutting the steel to size for burglar bars

Despite the poor aesthetics of having steel burglar bars over the bakery's windows I think it is a necessary evil (see previous post)

I have another 150kg of flour and other ingredients arriving today and can't afford to lose any more, so the construction of burglar bars is well under way. I hope to have them installed by later this afternoon. Will this deter the thieves? lets see, but I hope its a psychological barrier that will stop them trying again. If they really want to get in they can always smash down a door but the bars should keep them out for now.

As for the bag of flour that was stolen it has meant that I have no flour with which to bake today, a big hassle... that's a big chunk of the weeks income lost. I've asked the bakers to come in later tonight when the new stock of flour arrives but they are notoriously unreliable at obliging to these requests.

15 February 2010

Maize / Mielie Harvest

Car and trailer full of corn harvested today

Still suffering in the heat and humidity here, but we started the harvest of our maize / corn / mielies (what ever you care to call them!) which is good.
At the moment they need to dry out in the sun for a few weeks, then they can be processed to make maize meal, the by product of which (bran) we can use to feed the pigs and the horses we have here.

14 February 2010

Thieves :(

Alberto holding the flap where the break-in occurred

Received some bad news this morning.
It appears that sometime over the course of last night someone cut through the mosquito netting over the bakery windows, climbed in and stole one 50 Kg bag of flour. Monetarily this isn't such a huge loss, although it might affect next weeks production, but it is a real disappointment. I was always quite sure the bakery would be safe enough with just locked doors, unfortunately I can now see this isn't the case.
The solution? It now seems i will have to put together some sort of burglar bar with steel re-enforcing over the windows, which to be honest will look ugly :(

13 February 2010

Bread tray rack

3D design of bread tray rack / shelves

Yes I know it looks a bit, ok a lot, like a bunk bed but it is in fact a rack system I plan to build for bread trays. It is important when making the bread to allow it to rise - and after baking - to cool down on the right surface. Namely wood, preserves some of the natural taste apparently. I've been meaning to do this for ages but so far have yet to get around to it

11 February 2010

aerial farm pic


Nice Aerial Shot of the farm where we stay. the bakery is unfortunately just out of the frame, to the left about in the middle.

10 February 2010

Flooding

 
Waiting to go up in the helicopter
 
Flood damage to crops and house

 
our rice - fortunately survived

Flooding can be both a good and a bad thing...

Today I have news of both. On the negative side there has been some severe flooding of the local population's farm land with some corn fields and a neighbouring rice project particularly affected.
Not all doom and gloom though as a veritable flood of new orders for bread have come in this week so far. including a possible contract to supply +/- 100 breads a day to a local business down the road. I have ordered a larger 'production run' already of which i'll take 50 with me tomorrow and see if we can get them sold first. If we can it will be a great start to getting things back on track!

6 February 2010

back again

Wow so I'm finally back in the land of the third world. In case I forgot where I was flying to yesterday I was soon reminded upon my return by the 3 hour wait on the pavement at the airport to get a lift, then a flat tyre at 9pm on the way home scuppered any attempt to be back in time for supper.
Good news though came in hearing the bakery has been well looked after by my friend and colleague Pedro. Even returning a little profit and meaning I had enough cash on hand to pay the bakers today. They sure were happy to see me, apparently Pedro had been ruling the roost with a heavy hand! (not literally don't worry...)
Just a quick update for now to let you all now things are back on track. I've returned with some fresh ideas so look forward to getting them implemented and writing about it on-line over the coming few weeks.