SENEGAL NEWS TICKER NO. 3 - ON BUSINESS AND MORE

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What is time ? Here in Senegal time has no importance at all. Of course, when you have a business meeting, you should be more or less in time, but if it's not possible, you just call up and report the meeting or pass at home later at your clients/partner's house. We had a meeting last thursday with a potential partner who is a milliardaire, which means, in Western terms and considering the exchange rate, a millionaire.

 

The guy is remarkably humble, religious, and has problems reading and writing. But he's very smart, call it street wise, which allowed him to become what he is today. That guy has a LOT of land which is not being exploited, mainly because his other activities pay off enough to live and do what he likes, and otherwise because he hasn't realized what can be done with that land other than letting it sit empty. We know - and we have prepared a proposal on how to exploit 5 ha for a start - a tenth of what he has.

 

With an investment of 100'000 US$ he'll get 250'000 US$ turnover in a year, and a net profit of about 150'000 US$. Of course we'll have our share on that, and this will enable us to get known in the area. You see, the first thing is to get yourself known, and the second is that people see that you do fair business, which is often not the case.

 

It takes a long breath to get into business. You have to develop a friendly relation and trust first - and that takes n meetings and sit togethers. This can take weeks if not months, and only then you can think of doing business. Our super-smart businessmen in the West have no idea about culture and the how-to's, that's why they fuck up right at the start or give up when nothing shows up in the first month. Good for us, really.

 

Africa has a LOT to offer when you invest time and are open to foreign culture and willing to integrate. First you have to get rid of the colonial image you have as a White, and that alone takes time. But once you have been introduced and accepted in your business "family" you can count on long-lasting relations.

 

Time is not money here. Time is patience and learning, preparation for money, so to say. They give you time to think and understand, before you start. When you're not able to see and profit from that, you better stay home and let yourself be worn-out by our profit-oriented, emotionless society.

 

Your decision.

 

Like those retired, lonely and sad retired people in Switzerland which have 100'000 US$ sitting useless in their bank account, they survive in retirement homes although they could put up a small house on the beach for 20'000 US$, set up a small grocery store or bar on their property and lead a happy life in a warm climate with lots of social contacts. Just as we do. We're planning to set up our offices here. Off Dakar, but 10 km from the airport on the beach on my land. In 2019, up to then we rent. One has to be realistic.

 

 

Why don't more elderly people try to do something instead of waiting for death in a lousy lonely place ? Because they were and are AFRAID. They were conditioned to be AFRAID of anything that doesn't look or taste like what they call "home".

 

I have no mercy for them. When you arrive at 70, you should have REALIZED and LEARNED. If not, your fault. Stay the way you are ;-)

 

Comments

Ric Wells Added Apr 13, 2017 - 12:03pm
The only barriers you have are usually the ones you put up yourself.
Tom C. Purcell Added Apr 13, 2017 - 12:06pm
Hi Stone,
 
Sounds like you are at ease and happy right now.  That's good.  :)  Keep us informed on how the business is going too.
Stone-Eater Friedli afronum Added Apr 13, 2017 - 12:07pm
Ric
 
That could be an African saying :)
 
Ric Wells Added Apr 13, 2017 - 12:09pm
It could be one for the ages.
Stone-Eater Friedli afronum Added Apr 13, 2017 - 12:10pm
Tom
 
Yep I'm really feeling home here. Sure will inform. I'll be back in Switzerland in May to return in July for a short one and hopefully in November it's bye for long !
 
Bill Kamps Added Apr 13, 2017 - 12:37pm
Hey Stone thanks for the update, interesting reading and hopefully keep them coming.
Stone-Eater Friedli afronum Added Apr 13, 2017 - 12:47pm
Bill
 
Thanks. I'll do my best :)
 
 
Jeffry Gilbert Added Apr 13, 2017 - 1:12pm
Great stuff, thanks.
Bill Kamps Added Apr 13, 2017 - 1:25pm
Stone, you may have said, but what kind of business are you starting there ? or would you rather not say ?
Stone-Eater Friedli afronum Added Apr 13, 2017 - 1:29pm
Jeffry
 
A bit like you guys in Thailand I guess LOL
 
Stone-Eater Friedli afronum Added Apr 13, 2017 - 1:34pm
Bill
 
Simple. Consulting for any Western SME which wants to set foot in West Africa. We make sure they don't get caught on the wrong foot. I'm basically the link between the "West" and Africa. Also because I speak several languages and know both cultures - business and private. We negociate deals for a percentage and I'm looking for investors in several sectors from Europe or wherever.
 
 
wsucram15 Added Apr 13, 2017 - 4:49pm
Left you a comment on linkedIn..and that is a beautiful picture.
Stone-Eater Friedli afronum Added Apr 13, 2017 - 6:45pm
Thanks Jeanne :-)
EXPAT Added Apr 13, 2017 - 7:53pm
Stone. I cannot copy/paste this. But here is a link. You can now get professional for $100 usd.
target="_blank">http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2371334,00.asp
EXPAT Added Apr 13, 2017 - 8:04pm

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Jenifer Frost Added Apr 13, 2017 - 11:14pm
I hope things continue to go well for you Stone-Eater. 
Stone-Eater Friedli afronum Added Apr 14, 2017 - 9:52am
Expat
 
Thanks ! I'll check into that. We plan to set up a LAN using Latops and external keyboards/mice, and that may be a solution :-)
Stone-Eater Friedli afronum Added Apr 14, 2017 - 9:55am
Jenifer
 
They will. We already got an offer for a complete office furniture from a travel agency whose boss is a friend of mine. A 20" container - then put a used 4x4 into it and some stuff we can sell. Also I'll try to get used medical equipment because we plan to set up a local dispensary on the land we exploit for the workers in case of accident or sickness.
Bill H. Added Apr 14, 2017 - 1:10pm
Looks like you are enjoying it!
How's the surf fishing?
Stone-Eater Friedli afronum Added Apr 14, 2017 - 4:19pm
Bill
 
No sea where i live at the moment....that's 50 miles away !
 
 
Mircea Negres Added Apr 15, 2017 - 9:48am
Stone-Eater, most Africans prize human connections above money and place what they know now about the people they do business above what newcomers promise is hidden in the bush. At the same time, to them "soon" can mean anything between today and a month from now, something that frustrates the hell out of Europeans and Americans wearing Chronograph-grade Swiss watches... Once again, good luck to you and your partner in this new venture, and thanks for keeping us up to date.
Mircea Negres Added Apr 15, 2017 - 9:51am
Damn. Meant to write "people they do business WITH". Sorry. A third of Jack "you'll call him John if you've known him as long as I have" Daniel's finest Old No. 7 and beginning of a half of Wellington VO brandy will do that to an "English as a second language" guy like me...
Stone-Eater Friedli afronum Added Apr 15, 2017 - 9:56am
Mircea
 
....and it's good that way. That's what I try to explain to our people but once on site they seem to have forgotten ;-)
Stone-Eater Friedli afronum Added Apr 15, 2017 - 9:59am
BTW: No booze here, and that's also good for me. I mean you CAN get it, but not on every street corner or resto. Finally it's Muslim country here.
Mircea Negres Added Apr 15, 2017 - 10:15am
Stone-Eater, this is the world we live in, with all its wonders, despair, weirdness and diversity. All one has to do is at least try to embrace it and I'm glad to know a guy like you who does...
Stephen Hunter Added Apr 15, 2017 - 10:19am
LOVE IT! You have hit the nail on the head Stone. FEAR holds us back from leading the life we were put on this earth to lead. 
Go for it people!!!!
Mircea Negres Added Apr 15, 2017 - 10:36am
Stephen, while you get no argument from me for the accuracy of your answer above, I'd like to state for the record that for my attempts to live by it, I have been:
 
a) tortured (along with my friends, classmates, recruits and confederates) and accused of working for the CIA because I founded an anti-communist organization in Romania at age 11.
 
b) accused of insanity by family and friends when I informed them of my desire to join the French Foreign Legion.
 
c) accused by fellow recruits and put under months-long surveillance by SANDF's Military Intelligence for spying on the South African National Defence Force on behalf of the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI)- for the record, under oath and everything you can think of, I was innocent of it.
 
d) called everything ranging from "potentially dangerous" and "paranoid" for calling attention to said surveillance and protesting against the harm I suffered as a result, as well as indicating a desire to avenge myself on those who are protected by the law for the harm they did by the passage of time and "proscription"- the South African equivalent of "statute of limitations", even though treason is not covered by proscription and neither should groundless accusations thereof.
Mircea Negres Added Apr 15, 2017 - 10:38am
Stephen, this was just my bitter two cents, true though it is, and not in any way directed at you.
Stephen Hunter Added Apr 15, 2017 - 11:23am
Mircea, thanks for saying it as it is. WOW! I cannot imagine this. 
Stephen Hunter Added Apr 15, 2017 - 11:25am
But sure is revealing the lengths that those in power will go, to keep their control over the minds of its citizens. Scary shit! 
 
Stone-Eater Friedli afronum Added Apr 15, 2017 - 12:52pm
Mircea
 
Just tryin' :)
 
Stone-Eater Friedli afronum Added Apr 15, 2017 - 12:53pm
BTW: I don't know if I had the power to carry on when I'd been through the things you have been...
Stone-Eater Friedli afronum Added Apr 15, 2017 - 12:55pm
Stephen
 
Fear is the ultimate weapon. Especially fear which is not clearly directed at something but is kept in a fog.
 
Mircea Negres Added Apr 15, 2017 - 1:53pm
Stephen, never underestimate yourself- if you can imagine it, chances are somebody else did too. If you think it happened, chances are it did.
 
Stone-Eater- never think you're less than somebody else, because you're not. I've seen, been through and done heavy shit, then came out the other side with a  "snaggle-toothed motherfucker" (thanks to Richard Pryor in Harlem Nights movie for the quote) grin (yes, I am missing a lot of teeth) and weapon by my side, but that's just me. There are others who went through "Hell on Earth" I can't even begin to comprehend, like the Holocaust and WW2. Now those people get my respect, along with the heavy dudes (SSgt Jerry "Mad Dog" Shriver, Capt. Larry Thorne et al) of Vietnam-era Military Assistance Command Vietnam- Studies and Observations Group (MACV-SOG). Gotta tell you, bud, surviving that kind of hell I can sort of imagine (got a pretty good imagination, made me a fearsome- aka fuckin' scary- scenario planner during my SA military and private security stints), though there are those who did survive those eras and I take my hat off in response...
John Minehan Added Apr 15, 2017 - 2:08pm
"It takes a long breath to get into business. You have to develop a friendly relation and trust first - and that takes n meetings and sit togethers. This can take weeks if not months, and only then you can think of doing business. Our super-smart businessmen in the West have no idea about culture and the how-to's, that's why they fuck up right at the start or give up when nothing shows up in the first month. Good for us, really."
 
Actually, that the right approach in the States, also, in most cases.
 
Would I suspect that the PRC does better on that?  I'm guessing that is the case based on my year in OEF in the Horn of Africa in 2004, PRC already had a huge presence.  
 
Stone-Eater Friedli afronum Added Apr 15, 2017 - 3:20pm
John
 
What's PRC ?
 
Stone-Eater Friedli afronum Added Apr 15, 2017 - 3:22pm
Well....after reading Jeffry's last remarks in his article "Atomic Cafe" I wonder if it wouldn't be wiser to stay down here instead of returning to Europe. If my daughter wasn't there I'd do that for sure...
Stone-Eater Friedli afronum Added Apr 15, 2017 - 3:23pm
...never know if I get the chance to return again...
Mircea Negres Added Apr 15, 2017 - 3:34pm
Stone-Eater, the PRC is People's Republic of China.
I don't know about Europe and returning there, but you can always come to South Africa, where you'll be blamed for apartheid by virtue of your skin tone even though you had nothing to do with it...
Mircea Negres Added Apr 15, 2017 - 3:38pm
Oh, yeah. About PRC, it's also an acronym for a (in)famous American Vietnam-era radio carted around on the backs of luckless operators who were only second in line to be taken out by VC and NVA after the lieutenant. That particular radio set was the PRC-19, less affectionately known by those who had to carry it as "the prick nineteen"...
John Minehan Added Apr 15, 2017 - 3:52pm
Yep, "People's Republic of China."
 
In my day, it was the PRC-77.
Stone-Eater Friedli afronum Added Apr 15, 2017 - 3:56pm
Mircea
 
LOL I prefer here. No discrimination or accusation at all :)
 
Mircea Negres Added Apr 15, 2017 - 4:07pm
John, was it still called "prick"? I'd guess yes, indeed...
 
Stone-Eater, you may eat stones, but I eat sins...
 
To both of you, a traditional Romanian greeting at this time of the year- "Hristos a inviat!" The response is "Adevarat a inviat!"
Translated from Romanian, it means "Christ has risen!" and "Indeed (truly) He has risen!" respectively. A blessed Easter to you, your families and everyone on Writer Beat (or "Beat a Writer" as I like to call it). Speaking of beating a writer, I just chewed out Jeffry Gilbert about Atomic Cafe by using some of the covered up "glorious" deeds of communism in contrast to American atomic research...
Stone-Eater Friedli afronum Added Apr 15, 2017 - 7:12pm
Mircea
 
Thanks. No easter in Muslim countries, but I'm not into any religious stuff as you know.
 
Bè su be as we say here - c u later (or tomorrow) :)
 
 
 
John Minehan Added Apr 15, 2017 - 7:35pm
"John, was it still called "prick"? I'd guess yes, indeed..."
 
Depended how far you had to carry the thing . . . .
Jeff Michka Added Apr 15, 2017 - 9:28pm
Of course, there's also setting up equipment donations to aid "spreading the word," since you already are an NGO.  Some old Fidonetters did that for a group in Africa years back, when dailup was still the complete weapon of choice in Africa.
Bill H. Added Apr 15, 2017 - 10:46pm
 
One of your pics showed a beach, so the fishing question!
Stone-Eater Friedli afronum Added Apr 16, 2017 - 8:08am
Jeff
 
We will do that. In the area where we plant we will set up a dispensary not only for the workers but also for the locals. Also get some water pumps for the village.
 
That way we are not only able to provide work but also create a social climate which eases work and avoids hopefully sabotage and theft by the villagers since everybody profits.
 
 
Stone-Eater Friedli afronum Added Apr 16, 2017 - 8:11am
Bill
 
The beach is below my land not where the plantation will be. But I plan to build a small house there for our offices since no rent is the best rent :)
 
Jeff Michka Added Apr 16, 2017 - 12:26pm
SEFa writes of pending efforts: We will do that. In the area where we plant we will set up a dispensary not only for the workers but also for the locals. Also get some water pumps for the village. - Sounds well-thought, at least.  Best of luck with that program.
 
Stone-Eater Friedli afronum Added Apr 16, 2017 - 7:33pm
Thanks Jeff.
Jeffry Gilbert Added Apr 18, 2017 - 9:37am
I just chewed out Jeffry Gilbert about Atomic Cafe by using some of the covered up "glorious" deeds of communism
 
Gee, is that what that was? LOL
 
BOTH were/are bad. DUH! Relative merits are meaningless when comparing evils.
 

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