Thursday, May 28, 2009

Store hunting in Amsterdam


Amsterdam was so much fun - I had to smack myself to remember that I was actually working . Oh I LOVE my job !

My gracious hostesses and franchisees - Esther and Marianne - pedalled me around Amsterdam in the bakfiets looking at store locations. Now I am told this is not normal practice - such vehicles are strictly for the use of children, dogs and shopping. This might explain the smiles, waves, frowns and comments I received like " very chique " !! Well I just don't care - it was superb fun and I could really concentrate on the serious job of looking at locations instead of worrying about mad cyclists approaching from every angle, traffic driving on the wrong side of the road and camera happy tourists who do not look where they are going. I could focus. And focus I did. On the breeze in my hair, the beautiful tulips in the flower market, the crisp fresh green spring leaves on the trees, the boats plying the canals...........oh, and of course, store locations !!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Amsterdam

Amsterdam and our FIRST OVERSEAS FRANCHISE !!!!

I am so excited I can barely sleep. I leave in an hour for Amsterdam. After almost a year of patient and diligent negotiating with two awesome ladies in Holland, we have signed a licensee agreement with Esther and Marianne for the Benelux countries. Their franchise store in Amsterdam is to go ahead as fast as possible to be ready for season, and I am off to help them chose a store location.
What an amazing privilege for RAIN. I am over the moon. It is a huge leap for us from a sleepy village in the Cape to a mainstream branded franchise in central Amsterdam.
And these ladies are dynamite - they are going to make serious waves in Europe -I feel it in my broek.
Watch this blog for the next exciting episode !!
bye

Easter and the Great Trek North


Easter and the Great trek north


Easter weekend saw the mass migration of Rain workers up country to the Eastern Free State and mountain Kingdom of Lesotho – 12 hours drive to the birthplace of Rain.
The excitement was palpable – some of the workers only see their families three – four times a year. Migrant labour is commonplace in South Africa. Poverty and desperation force breadwinners to leave their families and seek work where they can find it.
It is deeply humbling to see these men and women uncomplainingly leave the love and comfort of their family lives and travel to work far away – unselfishly sending all their money home to their loved ones and living on the barest minimum for themselves.
Some of our Rainmakers are Zimbabweans ( South Africa officially has 3 million Zimbabwean refugees who have fled a despotic president, extreme poverty and starvation and a cholera epidemic to try and find a means of survival in South Africa. These people work only to send money home to their desparate families whose expected lifespan is now at 36 years of age for a man ! These are brave people who have left their homeland to face hardships and uncertainty in a new country with a xenophobic people who lash out and kill Zimbabweans simply for “taking their jobs away “. It is not a pretty picture.
We are privileged to be able to make a difference in these poeple’s lives – to be able to throw them a lifeline and watch as they gradually get back on their feet and have their smiles return to worried faces. It certainly keeps things in perspective and keeps one eternally grateful for everything we have.