An interview with Colin Johnson
Colin spent his first year at the University of Dayton figuring out what he wanted to do. Along the way he learned that Nicaragua is a poor country with poor housing. “Four posts with plastic wrapped around them,” he said, “and roofs made of whatever they can get their hands on.”
“So I took a trip to Nicaragua with the idea of starting a business. My major at Dayton is Entrepreneurship. I wanted to start a business and at the same time help the people by giving them homes and jobs.”
Q. Tell me about your trip?
A. Nicaragua made me realize how lucky I was to have everything I have in my life. The trip really drove me to want to help people who have been less fortunate than me. People in Nicaragua are kind, friendly, and really hard workers.
Q. Why hammocks?
A. I fell in love with the beauty, talent, and passion that goes into making a handmade hammock. I felt it was a perfect product to sell to college students, friends, and family.
Q. Why are you donating your profits to 4 Walls?
A. I heard about 4Walls from Tim McMahon who has volunteered for years in Nicaragua. He made the suggestion that I work with 4Walls because the project already had a process in place to identify the people who really needed help and do the construction for them. Tim has been a huge help in this whole experience and none of it would be possible without him.
“Three out of five people don’t have safe homes in Nicaragua. I believe everyone deserves the sense of safety that a home offers. I tried to imagine not having a home to go to; I couldn’t! So I decided I was going to give that to as many people as I possible could.
Nicaragua is a beautiful country. Something that stuck with me was my arrival at the airport. Little children were begging for change or anything I could give them. It was a real wake up call. People here, including myself, get caught up in the unimportant things, but seeing those begging kids trying to get their next meal really put things in perspective. So I started my company, Hammocks that Help, so I could try to focus on bigger things. It was an idea to take away some of the worries and give them a better future.”