Week 3

I’d like to take a couple paragraphs to reflect on some of
the things I’ve learned about doing business in 3rd world countries
since beginning my job here.

As the International Facilities Database Intern, my job
description is two fold: improve the current database systems being used to
maintain Compassion’s 40+ field offices around the world, and assist my boss in
negotiating new lease contracts for offices who have outgrown their current
spaces, or in the case of countries like Haiti, have to open new offices when
old ones are destroyed. Of all the funny practices and odd clauses that I come
across in my work, two things stood out this week:

This week, I prepared and sent off a schedule of payments
for one of our offices in West Africa, and in so doing discovered a peculiar
tax practice. The payment schedule was promptly returned to me by the local
office with a few adjustments made to reflect the landlord’s income tax
payments, and I soon found out that contrary to how business may be done here
in the States, in Togo it is the Lessee’s duty to pay the Landlord’s income tax
to the government. I still haven’t figured out why they do it that way (or why
we do it our way), but it made me laugh.

The second thing that I came across this week was a clause
on the lease for one of our offices in Central America that stated that the
Lessee must take care of the premise “as the good family father”. My boss and I
chuckled a little as we pondered the wide disparity in quality parenting around
the world.


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