Imparting Wisdom in Indonesia
Updated: May 21
Imparting wisdom about fruit dehydration, and about life, is what Chuck and Katie Nicholson and their REI staff team do in Indonesia. The Boaz Factory is designed to train local entrepreneurs how to start their own fruit dehydration businesses. The process of building the factory, begun in 2015, has been an arduous one, but the team is finally seeing the beginnings of fruit resulting from a vision.
Over the past five years, the process included gaining clear title and raising monies to acquire the land, drawing up plans, building a retaining wall, hiring a contractor and supervisor, and preparing for construction—all amidst ever-changing regulations.
Boaz Factory Land
FAST FORWARD TO THE PRESENT
Breaking ground and acquiring construction materials during the COVID-19 pandemic (and also the months of Ramadan-fasting) has been challenging, but the process is underway. The building contract calls for construction to be completed in 12 months, with fines assessed if it is not, so a new factory should be standing by May 2021.
The Factory Group: Billy, Agus and Chuck discuss when Agus will begin his one-year agreement as the contractor of the Boaz Factory
The REI staff team recently checked in on a factory they helped design in Sulawesi, an entirely different island in Indonesia. The workers there would now like REI to provide technical advice for the factory’s banana processing operation. However, as the market for dried coconut seems even larger, the team is hoping to help with that venture first.
REI staff Jesaja and Sarah's engineering skills have been very helpful in this venture. Sarah recently provided a first iteration of a coconut grater to see if the specifications of the local businesses could be met. Time will tell.
Jesaja and fellow REI staff Jake discuss the work in Sulawesi during their January 2020 visit.
Particularly heartening on this trip to Sulawesi was the team's meeting with the "Bupati," the top government official for the province. The Bupati is quite supportive of the help REI is providing. The local on-line newspaper wrote an article about the visit, and included the below picture showing Chuck presenting a gift to the Bupati called “Mutiara Hikmat Nabi Sulaiman” (or, in English, "The Pearls of Wisdom of the Prophet Solomon").
Chuck and the Bupati
While sales have been severely affected by the Corona Virus Pandemic, we have been able to launch the new Java Bite website which will be the key for getting into online sales in Indonesia.
Rolling out our new packaging that hasn't quite made it to the US...yet!