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  • Writer's pictureREI

Cold Storage in a Warm Country

Updated: Oct 11, 2023

The cold storage facility will enable year-round fruit dehydration.

“Building People to Build Nations” is a worthy calling in spite of the obstacles we face here in Indonesia. Two of our 2-year apprentices have been challenged daily as they work together toward the completion of a Cold Storage Facility at the same location where our Boaz Training and Production Factory is being built.

You might wonder, “Why do you need a cold storage facility?” Good question! The mango season in Indonesia is an intense 3 months of production each year. Having a cold storage facility will enable us to peel and slice mangoes to freeze so that we can also dehydrate them in the off-season. This will expand and regulate our supply of delicious Indonesian dried mangoes.

Initial construction of the cold storage facility

The apprentices started working on the designing of this cold storage facility a few months ago, utilizing their engineering backgrounds. Once the designs (the easier part) were finished, they began to search for various vendors needed to complete the project. They would tell you that they had no idea how difficult this process would be. One of them recently reflected on these challenges, “Complications in the pursuit of advancing sustainable economic development are a constant challenge -- especially in developing countries. These complications have to do with many factors: availability of supplies, expertise of workers, cultural barriers, linguistic barriers, differences in work styles, etc. As a result of these challenges, projects move much slower and involve much more effort than one would initially anticipate or hope.”

The “complications” most often boil down to cultural barriers reflected in the “way things are done” here. It’s definitely not for the faint-hearted! We are thankful that both of these apprentices have the inner strength to endure these challenges with patience and peace, all the while remembering that the whole reason they came here in the first place is to “Build People.”

Chuck (upper left) meets with locals to discuss design and construction.

After a day joining the women in our current production location to peel and slice mangoes recently, an REI apprentice stated, “The woman beside me was expressing how thankful she is for this good work that helps her provide for her son. She explained that right now during COVID, good jobs are few and far between. They work joyfully and are often chatting and laughing together.”

Adjoining the cold storage facility is the Training and Production factory.

The factory is scheduled to be completed in the summer of 2021.

Amidst the obvious challenges, our team is excited to be involved in work that matters in meeting the needs of the precious people surrounding us.

- This article was submitted by Katie Nicholson. Chuck & Katie Nicholson lead our efforts in Indonesia.

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