Brazil in 1999, Business Plan, Economy in recession, Financial crisis, International trade professional, Mother and Breadwinner, Sole-proprietor import/export firm
Invoice for Sample Shipment of Brazilian Hammocks to the USA
As a mother and breadwinner in my family, I could not fall apart when Ceará Importers* cut my work-hours and pay in half. I had to remain strong and focused. I had to maintain my equilibrium. There was no room for self-pity, anger or hopelessness. My sons, then fourteen and sixteen years old, depended on me for survival. Together, we found ways of cutting our expenses to the bone. We had to support each other to get through this period of financial difficulty.
In search of a new work contract, I spent the first three months meeting with business contacts. The year 1999 was a tough time to find work at any level. Brazil’s economy was in shambles as a result of the collapse of the Asian and Russian economies. The unemployment rate rose daily. Consumption fell, worsening the situation with more lay-offs. The government’s efforts to promote exports for badly needed foreign currency made no headway. Due to the unstable economic climate, exporters in Ceará were reluctant to invest in expansion and hire additional staff.
My hopes soared when I learned about a project to stimulate Ceará’s fresh melon exports. The project team was looking for an international trade professional with experience in the European market. My contact thought I was ideal for the position. He arranged an interview with the Project Manager at Cambeba, the seat of the Government of the State of Ceará. The interview went well. Two hours later, my interview with the Senator overseeing the project was a disaster. I was an outsider.
Faced with a shrunken job market, I had to change direction and focus. Partnering with my sister in Los Angeles, I set up a sole-proprietor export/import firm. My sister did the same in the USA. With permission from my landlord, I transformed our guest room into our Brazil Office. As local manufacturers would ship goods directly to our USA Office, I did not need storage facilities in Fortaleza. My Business Plan seemed a winner.
I dedicated my afternoons to establishing contacts with potential suppliers. Our first sample shipment of 14 Units of Brazilian Handwoven Cotton Fabrics Hammocks for Camping left Fortaleza on 24 December 1999.
My hard work came to naught. Without capital, I failed to launch our export/import business. By September, my financial situation had become critical. Putting aside my pride, I asked my family in the USA and Canada for assistance. In December, through referral from a close friend, I signed a contract with a small cashew-nut producer seeking to enter the European market. The value of the contract covered less than half of my rent, but I had my first client.
Then, in February 2000, a miracle happened. The Classified Section of a major local newspaper carried two ads of job openings for a foreign-trade professional with export experience. After interviews for both positions, I succeeded in winning one of them. My nightmare over the past eight months had come to an end.
Reblogged this on Guyanese Online and commented:
Another entry from Rosaliene Bacchus’ Blog.
de castro said:
A job can sometimes seem a lifesaver.
A job for life is a government job but it may not pay as well….
I decided in my 40″s to take such a job and now wish it was in my 30″
Could have retired at. 50 and not 60s…..hindsight teaches fools…….
I now receive my state pension and my company pension from
Her Majesties government. It is added togeather for tax purposes
so I will be paying tax “until my dieing day” (exit from planet earth)
Had I been depending on a state pension only I would have slowly
starved to death….but would have been “means tested” before receiving
State handout (charity or welfare) to survive….”drip fed” is the slang
used by the elderly ‘seniors”…’pensioners’
Most pensioners “moonlight” to be able to enjoy a better lifestyle
in UK….”black economy” as described by economists…
can be ‘quantified’ in economic terms……they are also living
longer now …a situation that is worrying in euro land….hence
the desire for extension of its borders…Euro expansionist policy
explained…the market must expand/increase to survive….to include
more younger workers/taxpayers….
You educate yourself for 30 years
Work for 30 years paying taxes
And if lucky live for another 30 years but still paying taxes.
Life in 21st century.euroland…ha ha !
I retired at 60 on my company pension (government)
On reaching 65 I started receiving my state pension.
The two incomes are now added for tax purposes
I shall be paying taxes until my exit…
I will join “Satan” in hell as the devils don’t pay taxes..
Tax avoiders/dodgers welcomed there.
Not to mention that Satan was once gods buddy until
they fell out over the issue…even more ha ha!
At my cynical best !
And both of dem two B s are also in hell…
Explosive thinking which I offer my apologies for in advance…
I enjoy the company of the “baddies” more than dem “goodies”
Less boring…yawn yawn !
Rosaliene Bacchus said:
Thanks for sharing, Kamptan.
Many Brazilians sought government jobs because they were jobs for life. I would not have survived in a government post. I question things too much.
Migration has cost me my pensions. I lost all my contributions towards the government pension schemes in both Guyana and Brazil. Here in the USA, I don’t have sufficient years of contributions to quality.
Rosaliene Bacchus said:
Cyril, thanks for sharing my blog post with your readers. Much appreciated.
de castr said:
I can explain your dilemma politically/economically/religiously
but it would take too long and be boring…
I am in favour of “socialism” in its purest form …its the additives that
USA is heading that way under “democrats”
CHINA INDIA AND BRAZIL will also follow
ASIA AFRICA AND LATINAMERICA will eventually be socialistic politically
Our world is changing …the sooner and hopefully for a better one…my vision
Forever the everlasting optimist…
Kamptan PS as a trade unionist I was branded a communist by my contemporaries
Today I am realist…..