Lisbon Makes It

It’s somewhat unusual to see cars in Norton.  Most of the vehicles speeding past are combies (small minivans packed with more humans than seems possible), so it was with some surprise that I noticed a clean white Buick pull up in front of Vitalis’s house. When I looked, I realized that the driver of the car was Lisbon.

“Behind every successful person there is someone cheering him on.  For me it was not just one person, but a whole team.  Coalition for Courage empowered me and showed me that I could be successful.  I knew others were counting on me, so I didn’t have a choice but to make something of myself.” 

Lisbon had heard I was in town and wanted to tell me in person about his new business.  After graduating from a Motor Mechanics program, Lisbon befriended an older man who gave him a place to stay in exchange for work in his garage.  The man was hard on Lisbon, but taught him how fix up junky cars and sell them for a profit.  After about a year together, the man told Lisbon that he was ready to go and do it himself.  Lisbon was afraid, but took the risk. He used the $2000 he had saved to buy a car and put another $500 into it before selling it for $5000.  He’s now turned over ten cars and has plans to open a training center in Norton for other kids like him.  He feels it’s important for orphans to learn skills as early as possible and thinks there’s a growing market for electricians, carpenters and builders.  He also thinks that we should train more girls in business management because “they can then supervise those with degrees in other skill areas.”

Lisbon attributes his success in large part to the funding he received to go to school, but also cited the expectations we had for him to communicate with sponsors and donors.  He said that he used to be “afraid of rich people” and couldn’t find words if he was with someone powerful.  Lisbon felt his exposure to volunteers, sponsors and visitors taught him how to interact appropriately with people of different backgrounds.

-written  by Liz Berges


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