A good dilemma

As you may know from Eileen’s “update from the field” news article, we sold our 100 chickens in 3 days.  To be able to provide fresh chickens to Haitians that were not bred and raised in the Dominican Republic (frozen chicken parts) was a happy day for the iFFoundation.  The desire among the local community to buy our birds was so great that many of the people in the local community missed out by not pre ordering.  One man in Cap Haitien bought 40 of the 100 available birds.  While this made our sales easy to accomplish, it prevented 40 other customers who wanted our birds to get them.  Some wanted them to eat for Sunday dinner, but many others wanted them to resell as a way of providing for their families.  Any commodity in Haiti of value that is in demand and can be resold for a higher price is like gold.

We have a burgeoning but important ethical dilemma to sort out.  Our dilemma simply put is this: what are the principles and philosophy you adopt to facilitate and help the most people and families possible?  That is ultimately our goal, to help as many Haitians as possible have economic opportunity.  In Haiti people must find their own way economically.  There are no employers in rural Haiti offering jobs.  People must create their income.  They do this by having something of value that they then sell,  bartering over price with others.  The iF Foundation has a commodity in chickens that is in high demand.  This “having a valuable commodity to assist Haitians with” will be even more true by mid September with the addition of eggs, as our layers arrive to their new home (iF Foundation chicken coop) in late August. 

Our goal is to help as many people obtain a resource that they can then market and keep the profit for themselves in support of their family.  My hope is that in the future we do not sell 40% of our valued commodity to one man who can turn it into his own profit.  My priority would be to sell those 40 birds to the local residents, the chicken and egg resellers, so that they can make a profit off of our provision of the chickens and eggs.  Our first venture in the chicken business has been very successful.  It bodes well for what we can accomplish for Haiti.  I hope many of you will consider an investment in helping us create these opportunities.  There will be much more information coming soon about how you can assist us if you want to help families in Haiti find their way economically.  Together we can make a small dent in the stranglehold the Dominican Republic has over Haiti.  Our dilemma is a good one; we have a commodity now that will enable us to help Haitians pull themselves out of poverty.  Our ethical choice is how do we design our distribution of the commodity so that we help as many people as possible?

The Rev. Canon James E. Byrum

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