Highlight Indonesia & Jesaja Lemke
Updated: Feb 17, 2019
Resource Exchange International recently hosted an orientation for new staff – nicknamed a “REI-orientation” – at REI’s Global Headquarters in Colorado Springs. One of the participants, Jesaja Lemke is a recent graduate in Mechanical Engineering from the Colorado School of Mines. He will work as an apprentice alongside resident REI staff in Indonesia. While his initial interest in working globally came from some of his experiences studying and traveling internationally, now he has an opportunity to invest his skills in the rural communities of East Java, Indonesia.
REI has developed local technologies for the production of dried fruit – mango, pineapple, and papaya – called Java Bites. While tropical fruit is prolific throughout Indonesia, the process of drying fruit in Indonesia is relatively new, and serves to augment the incomes of impoverished Indonesian villagers. REI leaders have been able to create a quality product that is reaching wider markets, decreasing in production costs, and adding value by improving the lives of those involved. REI’s innovations have increased the family incomes of local employees who are now able to buy more nutritious food for their children, pay for better education, and work in close community with their neighbors. Instead of barely sustaining a minimal income through the hot and dirty jobs of making gravel from the rock quarries or building roof tiles in their homes, these men and women are fulfilling their hopes and dreams for their families.
This is the work Jesaja is stepping into as he looks to partner with the resident REI staff. With not only the chance to apply his engineering education to solve real-world problems, but also receive personal and professional training, Jesaja’s apprenticeship is full of integrated development. Under the supervision of experienced leaders, he will work to address poverty, create value, and enhance the welfare of individuals, families, and communities in the context of agribusiness.
Jesaja could have accepted an $85,000 / year engineering job building things. Instead, for a few years he will “give his life away” to build people to build nations.
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