Reflecting on our 2014 Africa Trip

As we have taken time to reflect back on our recent trip to East Africa and prepare strategies for the year ahead, we feel a strong sense of not just one door opening, but several very positive openings that we anticipate will help us fulfill our mission of creating 5,000 jobs by 2020. As you will read below, one door closed but not after a successful business has launched, and the doors being opened have provided tremendous new energy and inspiration for the year ahead.

Our trip began in Kenya where in 2013 we invested money into a small cattle ranching business in the Masai Mara.  The goal was to train the local Masai ranchers better techniques to help them care for the land and limit their risk of losing large amounts of cattle during times of drought.  As we bought and sold 3 herds of cattle throughout the year we were able to not only teach them new practices, but the business was also blessed with a profit.  Recently, due to some changes in the ownership of the ranch where the project was being run, we have had to sell all our cattle.  While it is disappointing to no longer be working on this project we have much to celebrate.  Our investment allowed the project to get off the ground, taught the local ranchers how to be successful, created broad community impact and provided our first taste of success in our desire to build profitable and sustainable businesses in Africa.

In Uganda, our amaranth project has taken more time to reach that same level of financial sustainability.  However, we are even more excited about the future possibilities of this project than when we first started.  We are currently working to secure organic certification and develop new customers that will make growth even more achievable.  By developing these new markets in which to sell our grains we anticipate being able to buy equipment that will lead to improved efficiency and ultimately allow us to farm more land and develop more jobs for the people in Uganda.

In addition to the improved financial outlook, through the leadership of our extension worker Innocent we have been blessed to see tremendous life and spiritual transformation in many of the people who are working on our farm. One such example is that of a young man who recently committed to stop spending his pay on alcohol so he could begin to save for his family!  We praise God for the opportunity to have an impact on this young man in the workplace and look forward to similar stories as more jobs are created.

Another developing opportunity coming together in Uganda is cocoa.  As the global demand for cocoa increases many companies are seeking to expand not only their supply of the valuable commodity, but the diversification of their sources of cocoa.  Uganda is one of the few places in the world that can help meet that desire. As we visited a small local farmer, explored opportunities for leasing land, and met with key people involved in cocoa growing in Uganda we experienced the tremendous opportunity this project presents.  Two of the largest obstacles to success for the few farmers currently growing cocoa in Uganda are poor yields and finding connections to the market.  Through the relationships we have developed in Uganda the last four years and with large global food companies the past 25 years, we feel we can help provide answers and in so doing transform lives economically, socially and spiritually.

The Bible says in Ephesians 2:10, “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”  As we look forward the work we have been called to in Africa and other parts of the world, we are thankful and move forward in confidence knowing it is God who is going ahead of us and is the one who ultimately closes and opens all doors.

Scott Pothoven

Former Global Director of Leadership Management

Prior to joining PacMoore, Scott was a CFP® and owned a financial planning business working with over 400 clients and small businesses to help manage their financial assets. He holds a B.S. in business from Trinity Christian College.