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Instant Gratification

We are on our way: the 8 weeks quest by bike has begun and we set off to get a profound understanding of impact entrepreneurs, betterpreneurs, in Africa. Starting with getting a sense of instant gratification. Departing city is Accra, Ghana.

Before my departure I already encountered those two words, instant gratification, when I enthusiastically told a Ghanian manager about my idea to give seeds as a present to the entrepreneurs I meet and interview along the way:

'Seeds?' he reacted, 'that is no good.
We Africans want instant gratification!'

Therefore, we decided to give re-usable magnetic post-its as it is a tangible product and can be used in the moment to think about the future. They are made by Bambook, a great company committed to preventing deforestation and paper wastage. They've developed some nice products made and/or packed by people distanced from the labor market. Moreover, Bambook also plants trees for every sold product! So we still get to plant seeds for the future through our presents.

Back to today, I am nervous when we are getting out of Accra. It is like cycling on a highway and the pouring rain makes us even less visible. After 2 hours of riding in the rain, dirt and heavy traffic, I feel my mindset changing. The desire to understand the local life already shifting to a longing for a dry place and a cappuccino:

I am addicted to instant gratification as well!

While cycling we see harsh circumstances, colorless homes, dirty streets. The only cheerfulness comes from church buildings, through chantings that reach our ears. People are praying for a better future but we see little hope for betterment. Where are the betterpreneurs?

After 3 hours we suddenly see bright colors coming from a bar with a cozy setting. It is the bar of Blue Skies placed at the entrance of their premises which holds a huge factory for fruit products. We sit down and enjoy the Mango-Banana-Passion smoothie.

I speak with Idia, the smiling sales lady. Blue Skies, I learn, is providing work for 5.000 people and adding value at source to what Ghana's fertile soils produce. Their products are fresh and vegan and after those long hours cycling in the rain, we fall in love with the smoothie drink. Instant gratification for us riders and a long term investment for the communities in Ghana.

Gone are the nerves. Welcome exploratory mood.

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