Sorry for the hiatus in communication. I’ve been immersed in an attempt to get a website launched for Beautiful Day—the nonprofit we are forming to mobilize refugee employment and business incubation. I thought we’d be up and running by now, but I think there must be some corollary of Murphy’s law that requires anything intended to be fast and instantly accessible (like a website) to require slogging through oceans of code trying to find and fix one little problem or mistake. The process always seems to require staying up half the night. Sometimes I dream about oceans of html and rainbow-colored php.
So no website yet, but soon! (And almost no facebook or blog or tweets either… but soon, we hope.) We’ll send out an email letting you know the url.
In the meantime, we are still making granola, hiring refugees, seeing some of our employees move on into other jobs, and continuing to grow as a business. A reporter from RI Monthly is now working on a feature article about us. We’re training 3 new refugees to work at Farmer’s markets (including Zaid and Maitham’s wives, so say hello if you meet them. These are their first jobs
in the United States.) We’re starting at a new farmer’s market in Braintree on June 16. Also, Lian Cung who we wrote about last year now has a job and his wife Ngon Thlia is working for us.
Actually, I think Lian Cung kind of pulled a fast one on me by not telling me he found a job until the day of his granola shift… and when I expressed dismay, he turned around and offered a solution: why not hire my wife! This is the kind of ingenuity I tend to admire in refugees. And as solutions go it was an excellent one—she’s fast, and hard working. She didn’t speak enough English for me to learn much about her at first—and I had trouble finding a translator—but, as usual, after a couple months, she’s finding ways to tell us about herself. Last night I had to sub the granola shift for our manager who was out sick, and during the course of a dinner break I found out that Ngon has 8 children (ranging from age 20 to 2), worked in a large kitchen in Malaysia and knows how to make Chinese, Malay, Burmese, and Indian food. She’s also expressed some amazement at how everything here is education—“School, school, always school!” was the way she put it. Our Servesafe coordinator (a recent immigrant from Nigeria) agreed and went on to explain that this is part of America. “Even when you’re 85 years old they want you to go to school.” I can’t tell if these are intended as compliments or not (and I'm not sure this experience is very broad) but I take it as a compliment. Ngon sounds more consistent in going to class now that she’s also working. She’s definitely talking and laughing more. And all this reaffirms my conviction that a real-job work experience improves the impact of education.
But I just got distracted.
Here’s what you need to know: I personally helped make and pack our June granola last night. We’re calling it “Et Tu Fruite?” (and immediately all our employees wanted to know what language that was!) We decided this must be somehow better than Tutti Frutti. There’s no betrayal suggested or intended—just a lot of wonderful premium fruit including cherries, blueberries, peaches, pears, nectarines, plums, apples. (No raisins or cranberries for a change) Plus a hint of rum. We're certain Shakespeare would approve. (We didn’t put in any apricots because it’s come to our attention that, for some reason, the premium CA apricots we put in the April granola lost moisture over time and became inedible. SORRY! We’re experimenting with a new technique of lightly coating the fruit with canola oil to prevent further mishaps. And we did try to make this granola a bit softer. But I’m mentioning this as a way of saying please don’t be shy about telling us if you ever notice problems with our granola—and, if you’re unhappy, we would be happy to send you a coupon for a replacement. It’s all part of the learning curve for us.)
Two other quick things. 1) Et Tu Fruite? would make a perfect Father’s day gift—don’t you think it has a macho vibe? Wouldn't you know, it could also be part of a subscription that keeps your dad focused on eating healthy food this summer? (Notice, the pattern of rhetorical questions. I think the title must be as well.) Orders that come in today, will go out tomorrow. 2) While you’re at it, why not get Dad a t-shirt! We still have a bunch left, and t-shirt weather is finally here. We’re putting t-shirts on sale for the summer months at $15. Colors and sizes are subject to supplies.
Thanks and stay tuned.
Ingredients: Oats (org), honey (pesticide-free from Aquidneckhoney), canola oil (org), granulated cane juice, coconut (org), sesame seeds (org), barley (org), almonds, cherries, apples, peaches, blueberries, nectarines, plums, pears (some fruit contains sulphur dioxide and potassium sorbate), oat bran (org), wheat germ, pecans, sunflower seeds (org), flax seeds (org), walnuts, oat fiber, sea salt, cinnamon, almond ext., vanilla, rum, nutmeg.