Musulyn Dassen

Paynesville, Liberia

I am Musulyn Dassen, and I used to sell fish until Ebola hit. Then I switched to selling gari (a West African flour-like food made from cassava).

For my fish business, I would go buy my fish from just across the border, and then I would bring back the dried bony fish to Paynesville. I would carry it around on my head and sell it. It would take around five hours to go to border and buy my fish and come back. I used to do this once a week. Because I had to pay my children’s school fees and the father of my children was not helping me, after one year I started to lose profits little by little until I got into the BTCA programme. So the business was doing well until I got too many expenses and started to lose money.

"I said that I would like to be part of this programme. I said that this will help me get the knowledge to make more money. Now it has changed me. I really know about business now. I got $200 USD as a loan, which helped me to start my business again."

I think that I should be able to get my own gari plant, like a warehouse, where I could process and sell my own gari. After paying this loan back, I need to re-invest the money that I make to build the business

I started the BTCA programme with this fish business. I said that this will help me get the knowledge to make more money. It has changed me. I really know about business now. I got a $200 USD loan, but I got the money right at the time of Ebola. When I made the first trip to buy the fish, the border was closed because of Ebola. Instead of returning with no goods, I decided to buy gari instead. The BTCA programme helped me to make the decision to change my business from fish to gari because I was taught that if you cannot easily get the goods you need, you have to think how this business help you to get steady profits. This is the reason why I sat down and analysed my situation and then decided to change my business to gari.

I benefited a lot from the BTCA. I learnt how to talk to people, and that even when customers are vexed, you should talk to them nicely and convince them to buy your goods. It helped me learn how to earn my own money and keep records of my business, which is important for me now. I have to think a lot about how to spend the money that I make. I have to care for my children but also keep the business up.

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