Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Haiti, My Boyfriend, and 27 Women!

Steve, partner and co-founder of Think Business Advisors, and my other half, has been an incredible volunteer and resource in my entrepreneurship training programs at Thunderbird over the past year. 

He has literally been there, helping day and night. Whatever I needed a hand with, he would help. He's sat in emergency rooms with sick women, worked late into the evening helping women write out parts of their business plan, and continued Skyping and consulting with our 10,000 Women Fellows after they leave the States. All for free. He is a hero to many, and I am so proud of this journey he is on. This passion he's found, and the generosity he continues to show us all. He has a deep desire to help, to give, to build others up, to help them find success. 

 An opportunity came about over the Christmas break for him to partner with World Vision Haiti. They wanted assistance creating a two-day training program for the 400 youth entrepreneurs they had been training in their basic entrepreneurship classes. World Vision wanted the 10,000 Women graduates to come to the training, and serve as mentors, inspirations, and examples of successful Haitian business owners. He volunteered to work side-by-side with World Vision Haiti to create an agenda that would train approximately 200 of the 400 youth. He asked the 27 women he knows in Haiti if they would be willing to donate their time and be at the training. To our surprise, most women agreed. They traveled from hours away. 

Whenever Steve wasn't in the training, he was meeting one-on-one with the women, consulting on the spot. He was visiting their businesses, their tent schools in parks, their families, and holding their babies. The women even held a dinner party for Steve and Tom at one of their homes. The best part was when we Skyped, and I was able to experience it with them. I miss those women - we became like sisters.

Speaking of babies... two of our dear women were 8 months pregnant while they were at Thunderbird. Steve and I spent all night in the maternity triage emergency room with them one night. Apparently, one of the women felt a special connection to us, as we did to her. When her baby was born upon returning home to Haiti, not only did she ask us to name him (Marco Francis), but we are his god parents! 

Here are the two Tbird babies!

I was unable to travel to Haiti at the last minute, so Steve asked his father, a former Colonel in the United States Air Force, to go with him. Tom has done similar trainings on a global scale, so he knew these kind of things like the back of his hand. ;)

World Vision also served the participants breakfast and lunch daily. Some said that was the only meals they'd have that day.

Steve, Davina (the most amazing dancer and studio owner), and Tom

Madame Solomon is a force to be reckoned with. This woman is the definition of strength. During the earthquake, her nursing school (3 stories high) collapsed. It killed 100 of her students and her son. It buried her. She has since rebuilt several schools, even though they are currently taught in the park under tents. While she was at Thunderbird, Steve was essentially her guy. He pushed her around in a wheelchair, he helped her with meals, etc. She calls him her son now.

Some of the students working hard!

A student asking Steve a question, and their interpreter.

The group! I love how formal they made the chairs!

Certificate of completion: Think Business Advisors, the US Embassy, and World Vision Haiti! So amazing!

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