I will be working with two of Kiva’s Field Partners in Peru. Initially I was supposed to go to Emprender in Bolivia as well, but after a Kiva Field Partner ‘summit’ in late October, it was decided that they needed someone who could start in February. Since my allotted time ends on January 16th, Kiva reassigned me to Microfinanzas PRISMA for my second placement. Thus, I will spend the first 10 weeks of my Kiva fellowship in Lima, Peru, with EDAPROSPO and the last six weeks in Tarma and Huancayo, Peru, with Microfinanzas PRISMA. As mentioned in the page on What is a Kiva Fellow? , one of my main tasks will be writing journal updates on Kiva borrowers. Therefore, I have decided to put these journal updates onto this page. This page will soon grow to be very long. To avoid having to read through the entire page every time you log on, be advised that my sorting method is just adding my newest entries to the bottom of the page. If you know a better way to do this, please, tell me and I’ll convert to your way. So far, I have been writing my journal updates on Fridays so expect this page to change about once a week. And so, without further ado,
JOURNAL UPDATES for EDAPROSPO
1. Name: Adela Solier Date Interviewed: Tuesday, October 14th, 2008
Journal Update: When her husband would not support the family economically, Mrs. Adela Solier’s entrepreneurial spirit led to her taking on that burden. Besides her business of selling food in the nearby market, Mrs. Solier has used loans to buy mototaxis for her two oldest sons. Your loan helped with the down payment. These mototaxis are common sites in the suburbs of Lima. They are low CC motorcycles with a tricycle-like attachment that allows two people to comfortably sit on a small bench (three uncomfortably). These mototaxis typically charge 1-3 soles, go 20-30mph max., vibrate a ridiculous amount, and are entry jobs for guys hoping to one day have an auto taxi. To own a mototaxi, you need a down payment the size of the loan you provided and then pay 15 soles a day for two years. To rent the same mototaxi, it costs 15 soles a day. Thus with her loan, her son can one day own his mototaxi outright instead of being drained by rent with nothing to show for it in the end. A normal mototaxi driver will make 60 soles in profit a day on top of the 15 soles he pays in rent or for the title. The sons also pay 5 soles a day to be members of the Celestes mototaxis association. In this way, they have permits so there are no problems from the police and they can also put the signs on their mototaxis as a sign of legitimacy.
Mrs. Solier has seven children- ages 30, 25, 23, 19, 18, 15, and 13- and her loans and business activity have helped the two oldest have secure jobs that help support the family. She has still maintained her job in the market in the mornings selling ceviche (a typical Peruvian dish consisting of fish or other seafood soaked in a lemon juice sauce) and arroz con pollo (chicken and rice). Mrs. Solier hopes to buy shoes to sell in the market for the upcoming holiday season. Eventually, she wants to have enough money to buy an auto for her sons so they can transition into the more profitable car taxi business. Thank you for being a part of Mrs. Solier’s entrepreneurship in supporting her large family.
Mrs. Solier is standing with only the detachable doors of the mototaxis because both of her sons were out at work with the motos when we visited her. I have uploaded a short video I took of a ride in a mototaxi in a suburb of Lima. If you wish to see the silent 15 second clip, it’s just below. Please note this isn’t the same mototaxi (her sons’ are brand-new and much nicer than the one in the video).
2. Name: Anita Sabino Date Interviewed: Tuesday, October 7th, 2008
Anita Sabino has been working at her roadside food stall for the past 16 years. She prepares ceviche (a common Peruvian dish composed of raw fish soaked in a lemon juice sauce and served with onions, cilantro, and a slice of yucca) and her stall is located in a broader street market in Comas, Peru. She is married with two sons aged 26 & 27.
She used the money you loaned her to buy plates and more food for her business. While before she sold only ceviche (which has a low profit margin), she can now offer a varied menu every day. Within that menu, she has also expanded her offerings to include prepared food that has a greater profit potential. With the investment provided by the loan, her monthly profits have risen considerably, from 1100 soles previously to 1600 soles now. With her next loan she is likely to add salchipapas (mixture of sliced hot dogs and French fries eaten with ketchup and mayonnaise or aji- Peruvian chiles) and anticuchos (skewered meat, usually cow heart), two more traditional Peruvian dishes with even greater profit potential. Her eventual goal is still to open up a restaurant off the street so she can have greater security and have a solid location.
She thanks you for the loan and little-by-little, she will be growing her business and hopefully one day achieving her dream of a restaurant. Already this loan has helped her along that path.
I have included a video clip of her at her stall here. Please note that my camera does not capture sound but if it could, you would easily tell that this is a busy street market.
3. Name: Betty Balarezo Date Interviewed: Tuesday, October 14th, 2008
Betty Balarezo has had a prosthesis put in during her knee operation to relieve the pain mentioned in her loan request. While the operation went well, she is continually looking for ways to establish and expand her business at home rather than the food-selling job that required her to walk around the market all day. The loan has been a big success for her and her entrepreneurial mind is continuing to find innovative ways to establish a business at her home. She has a small bodega set up in a room connected to her house and recently bought a PlayStation (called simply un Play here in Peru) and a TV that she set up in her living room. She charges a sole an hour and it is a big draw for the neighborhood boys to play FIFA soccer etc. Most, if not all, families cannot afford to have a Playstation so she has quite a large client base. One of her immediate hopes is to move the growing Playstation and computer (she also has a computer and charges a sole an hour to use the internet) business into the area where the bodega is and expand it to include more computers or TVs. She also used the loan to stock up on sodas, snacks, and clothing for her bodega. Thank you for helping enable her entrepreneurial vision to start a business at her home. Her entrepreneurial skills have already expanded from snacks and sodas to Playstation and Internet for the neighborhood; it will be exciting to see what business venture she thinks up next.
4. Name: Cristina Sotomayor Date Interviewed: Tuesday, October 14th, 2008
Cristina Sotomayor operates a hot dog (called Panchos in Peru) stand in the Laura Caller market in Los Olivos, Peru, a suburb of Lima. She used your loan to buy more hot dogs, invest a little in her stand, and help put her son through culinary school. Her profits have gone up because she can now buy hot dogs in bulk (i.e. 90 centavos instead of 1.2 soles). Her business typically brings in 30-40 soles in profits during weekdays and 70-80 soles during weekends and holidays. She has been in this business for four to five years; her daily routine is working at this market from 8.30am to 2pm and then at another location from 5pm to 10pm.
She has three children- ages 20, 16, and 12 – of which the oldest is studying to become a chef. For this reason, one of her visions for her business is to open a restaurant. She is saving money to cover the time it will take both to look for a suitable location as well as the purchase price. In addition, she uses some of her profits to furnish the house and build it up a little.
She says that because of the loan she received, her life has changed for the better – it is more tranquil and she has more confidence in her work. She is one of two pancho sellers in the Laura Caller market; they typically stake out the two opposing entrances. Mrs. Sotomayor used to have her stand outside of the market entrance. In that situation, she could sometimes be asked to leave by the local authorities. With the loan, however, she was able to pay the small tax required to set up a stall inside of the market walls; this means she is secure both from the police and by the police from any thieves. Her entrance location is the better of the two because her side opens up to a high school and also is the side where people live (the other side opens to the busy street and passengers getting off the buses).
I have included a short video I took of Ms. Sotomayor and her hotdog stand (they are tasty…and she has several different sauces that you can put on them). Thank you for your loan and joining Mrs. Sotomayor in this step of her business ventures.
5. Name: Domitila Julca Date Interviewed: Tuesday, October 14th, 2008
Domitila Julca is an extremely hardworking entrepreneur working in Los Olivos, Peru, a suburb of Lima. Her everyday routine is truly remarkable. She wakes up everyday at 2am to drive to downtown Lima. There she buys a truckload of potatoes (costing 15000 to 18000 soles). She sells half to other wholesale buyers in the downtown market at La Victoria. Then she takes the other half to the market pictured above in Los Olivos to sell on her streetside stall. In order to sell IN the market, you have to buy the retail space. Ms. Julca, recognizing that vegetable buyers congregate in the free roadside section outside of the market and that potatoes do not have as high a profit margin as other products, bought two stalls inside the market and rents them out to clothing sellers while she maintains her stall on the street. She continues to sell her various types of potatoes until noon at which point she sells whatever she has left to a group of 18 or so restaurant and small bodega owners who pick them up. Then at 3pm she gets her onion shipment in and sells those until nightfall. She goes home at 9pm and repeats her routine at 2am the next morning. She does this seven days a week.
Ms. Julca has five children, four of whom are in university. Two sons have scholarships and she pays for the university studies of the other two. She is a nutritionist by profession and used to work in a university. Her next business venture is to buy land in Huaraz (a mountain town 8 hours north of Lima) where she will cultivate maca. Maca is a tuber that can be made into a drink (I tried it at another stand and it tastes sort-of like liquid oatmeal with brown sugar) and is very nutritious and an aphrodisiac. Ms. Julca’s drive is extraordinary and if her next business venture is anything like the rest of her life, it is sure to be a resounding success. Thank you for your loan and becoming a part in Ms. Julca’s entrepreneurial endeavors.
6. Name: Esther Hernandez Date Interviewed: Tuesday, October 14th, 2008
Mrs. Esther Hernandez is an entrepreneur working in the neighborhood of Los Olivos, Peru, a northern suburb of Lima. Since her husband does not have a stable job, she has been working at her own business selling sweets and running a bodega. Her situation has gotten tougher as two of her children are going through university and she is paying for their studies. Though her oldest just graduated (studying medicine), her youngest is still in school studying dentistry.
For eight years she has been making sweets at home and selling them. However, recently she hurt a tendon in her elbow and the mixing motion is too tough on her elbow to continue in that line of work. Now, she is trying to move away from sweets and is making jewelry, selling clothing, and running a bodega with her daughter-in-law. Soon Esther hopes to open a bazaar so she can already made items and not have to put so much stress on her arms. Your loans have helped enable her to make these various transitions away from making sweets. Thank you for being a part of her entrepreneurial ventures.
7. Name: Fraxilia Guevara Date Interviewed: Tuesday, October 7th, 2008
Fraxilia runs a stall selling vegetables in a street market in Comas, Peru. She has run this business for 22 years and has been a client of EDAPROSPO for 4. With her loan she put the money in her business and helped fix up her house. For the former, this means buying more vegetables, which she can sell for a profit; more sales means more profits. In her case, she says that her monthly profits have improved by about 1000 to 1200 soles. Her market job entails very early mornings but ends in the afternoon. Eventually, she wants to buy a mototaxi to start a second business in the evenings (These are hybrid motorcycles with a tri-cycle like addition with a small bench that sits two comfortably, three uncomfortably…most people in the poor suburbs use them for 5-10 minute trips around the neighborhood for 1-3 soles a ride).
She is married and has two sons, one of which is married and the other only 12 years old. Like most Peruvians, she owns her own house but whatever profits are not re-invested in her business is used to fix it up. Peruvians typically buy things little by little, buying pieces of furniture only when they have enough money and thus slowly transforming an empty house into a cozy home. This step-by-step approach to home-building extends even further in Fraxilia’s culture. The story of most of these suburbs of Peru are collective movements of people from the provinces into the deserts around Lima, setting up thatch roofs over a dusty plot of land, and little by little adding wooden doors, concrete floors, tin roofs, and brick walls until a decade or two later, they have a two-story brick and concrete house with sidewalks and paved roads.
She is grateful for being given the opportunity to build her business and in the same step-by-step approach; she will soon have enough to take the next step of buying a mototaxi for a new business and the continuous steps of bettering her house. Thank you for being a part of her journey.
I have included a video clip of her market here (her stall is where the video ends…it’s on the other side of the street with the white sheet).
8. Name: Ricarda Arquinigo Date Interviewed: Tuesday, October 14th, 2008
Ricarda Arquinigo is a mother of two and works with her husband in his carpentry business in Los Olivos, Peru, a northern suburb of Lima. She has used your loan to buy a stock of sodas and beers to sell at the front of her husband’s carpentry store, which is on a busy and large street. She has also bought an ice cream stand that will pick up once summer comes to Peru (the seasons here the reverse of the Northern Hemisphere). The loan has helped them and their profits have increased a little bit. What she wants more than anything is for her health to improve so she can spend time with her two sons aged 19 and 13. Thank you for loan and helping her add a new revenue stream to the family business.
9. Name: Rita de la Torre Date Interviewed: Tuesday, October 7th, 2008
Rita de la Torre is an entrepreneur with big dreams. She began her store selling only undergarments. Through the course of a few loans, she has expanded her selection to include many types of clothing and little toys. She has also bought some mannequins and a glass counter to better display her ware. In the back she has a few sewing machines that she uses to make her own clothing as well. In recent months she has preparing her store to add an Internet café to her long list of commodities. She has used this loan to buy 5 computers and is seeking to buy some little booths to finally set up her newest project. Her store has grown so much that she has expanded the walls to fit more products in the store.
This loan and the other loans she has gotten from EDAPROSPO in her 3.5 year relationship with them have had a positive impact on the life of her and her two daughters, aged 15 and 11. She now has greater stability and does not have to work as much, which means she has time to help her daughters with school. Rita has a cheerful demeanor and at the rate her business endeavors have expanded so far may someday be able to smile as she achieves her dream of having a superstore. Thank you for being a part of her journey to achieving her dream, step by step.
I have posted a short video I took of Rita and her friend reenacting a clothing sale at her store. My camera does not pick up any audio, but rest assured there was plenty of laughter involved.
10. Name: Susana Ramirez Date Interviewed: Tuesday, October 14th, 2008
Susana Ramirez is a cheerful small business owner of a Peluqueria (Hair Cuttery). A mother of four, she works so she can spend more time with her children. Prior to opening up her peluqeria four years ago, she worked long hours with her husband at his business. Sra. Ramirez has used your loan to buy more products like moose and shampoo for her business. She has tried to buy products that people normally don’t have at home; in this way, she can attract more business by selling a unique service. Her prescience has borne out in an approximately 50% increase since her purchases. Now she wishes to buy some advertisements to put outside of her store and buy a permit from the municipality. She is thankful for the loan and especially for the effect it has had on her family. Since she can now work at her own business rather than at her husband’s, she has had more time to spend with her four children- ages 15, 12, 10, and 8 – to help with their homework, etc. Her hopes for the future are that she can keep working and that her sons get good grades. Thank you for being a mechanism to help her achieve her dreams.
11. Name: Teodora Vicencio Date Interviewed: Tuesday, October 14th, 2008
Teodora Vicencio is an entrepreneur and an incredible success story. Her corner bodega began with a 10 sole loan from her husband. Since those humble beginnings and through a series of loans with EDAPROSPO, she has built a veritable corner store stocking all you see and more. She has used your loan to invest in her store and buy more merchandise to sell. She has the business sense not only to stock the highly profitable fruits and vegetables but also less profitable items like rice. In this manner, more customers pass through her store, which means more opportunities for purchases of the more profitable items. Outside her store she has built a little awning with some tables and chairs for customers. In the near future, she wants to start stocking up on beer for the summer time (in Peru, the seasons are reverse of those in the Northern Hemisphere) so even more people will visit her store.
Perhaps the most successful part of her story is reflected in how she is using the profits from her bodega. Her neighborhood, Los Olivos, began as one of the countless land invasions documented by Hernando de Soto in The Other Path. Impoverished people from the mountains of Peru have been flocking to Lima over the past forty years. They will squat on undeveloped land surrounding Lima (literally desert), constructing thatch huts and forming entire communities overnight. Little by little, they work hard and turn thatch huts into plywood into adobe into brick into concrete houses into two story houses, etc. Roads go from dust and garbage piles to paved streets as they generate wealth through entrepreneurial activity and gradual government acceptance. I won’t go into the whole process here, but the aforementioned book is the end-all tome on the matter. Teodora and her husband were in one of these start-from-literally-scratch migrations to Los Olivos. They were single when they moved and so each received a plot of land in the initial community divvying-up of land. Now, she has turned that extra patch of land into a second house that she rents out. Currently she has two renters living in the one-story house. She has been using the proceeds from her little store to buy materials to build a second story to rent out to more people. She has also bought security windows and doors to make the house more attractive to potential renters. So through tenacity and a lot of hardwork, Teodora has gone from a makeshift dwelling in dust to owning her own store and having a second house that she rents out. Thank you for becoming a part of her journey.
I have included a short video I took of Teodora showing us her house that she is using her profits to expand (notice that the street is now being paved). Already she has most of the material needed; now she is saving for the money to pay for laborers. I apologize that my camera does not pick up audio.
12. Name: Zelma Flores Date Interviewed: Tuesday, October 14th, 2008
Zelma Flores is a mother of two- ages 11 and 4- who sells Salchipapas (a Peruvian dish consisting of French fries and cut-up hotdogs) from a stand in front of her house. She started her business almost three years ago and small loans like yours have helped improve her situation in that time. When she began her business, she had to rent her stand; now she owns it. With the loan you provided, she invested in sodas to sell along with her food as well as improving her cart. Currently she makes 25 soles in profits during weekdays and 80 soles on weekend and holidays. Owning her cart and having the sodas have helped boost her profits. Her daily routine involves buying potatoes from the market in the morning, preparing them in the afternoon, and selling her salchipapas in the evenings around 6pm to midnight. One interesting aside: She sometimes buys her potatoes from another Kiva entrepreneur, Domitila Julca.
Mrs. Flores’ dream for the immediate future is to open a restaurant in her house (where the photos have been taken). To do this, Zelma will need to make some improvements to the area. After her own stall has been converted into a restaurant, her long-term goal is to have a chain of restaurants in various locations and have other women work for her. Thank you for being a part of Mrs. Flores’ entrepreneurial journey.
13. Name: Mr Cesar Bartolo Doza Date Interviewed: Tuesday, October 28th, 2008
Mr Cesar Bartolo Doza has used the loan to build a bodega on the outskirts of Chosica, Peru. His business stands across from a large factory and so many customers pass by everyday. He rents the store location for around 150 soles a month while he and his family live in their own home in a suburb of Chosica some ways up in the sierra. Every morning at 4am he prepares breakfast to sell in Chosica (traditional Peruvian breakfasts such as yacan, quinoa, leche de soya, and various sandwiches). In the mornings he walks around and sells his breakfasts in the center of Chosica; at 10am he finishes and returns to tend to his new store. He works at the store until 8pm every day.
Mr Bartolo Doza has benefited from your loan greatly. He says that his daily profits have increased about 30% since receiving the loan. While prior he earned 30-35 soles a day in profits, now he makes around 50 soles in daily profits. His family has benefited from the increase in profits and the new bodega. While some of the profits are reinvested in his businesses, the rest he has been using to construct his house. Already his house is much nicer than it was before. Now he wants to build a second story to the house. His process of doing so, typical in the peripheral settlements of Lima, is to buy the materials (ie bricks, sand, concrete, rocks) little by little. When enough materials have been bought for construction, they save a little more to hire workers to construct the home improvement. Mr Bartolo Doza is currently in the midst of buying up a supply of raw materials. In a historical sidenote, many poor Peruvians invest their savings in their houses in such a manner because the threat of hyperinflation (a reality in Peru from ’87-’92) makes bricks a more trusted form of savings than cash. Cash can fluctuate in value but at the end of the day, a pile of bricks is still worth a pile of bricks.
Besides continuing to improve his family’s house, Mr Bartolo Doza wishes that his business will continue and more importantly that his children get a good education. Your loan has allowed him to open up his bodega and pursue his dreams. Thank you for being a part of Cesar’s entrepreneurial enterprises and his journey of improving the welfare of his family.
14. Name: Leonor Villagómez Cordova Date Interviewed: Tuesday, October 28th, 2008
Mrs Leonor Villagómez Cordova is a cheerful butcher in the small town of Matucana, Peru located about ninety minutes from Chosica and another ninety minutes to Lima. She used your loan to help her butchery business grow. Mrs. Cordova buys live cows, bulls, pigs, and chickens. Her husband helps on the purchasing side of the business. Capital is essential in this step, as you can imagine, because one cannot buy only half a live cow. Leonor and her husband have also recently built a carrel to raise their own pigs. Once the cows and bulls have been slaughtered outside of town, Mrs Cordova transports about 100-150 kilos to her house in town. She has a machine that helps cut the meat (including bones) into manageable slices, a scale to create kilo-specific bags of meat, and a large refrigerator to store the meat. Since her house is only two blocks from the central market, she can bring smaller quantities from there to her butcher stall throughout the day.
Since receiving the loan, Mrs. Cordova’s situation has improved. The extra capital has allowed her to buy more animals and thus increase the amount of meat she can sell in the market. She charges 8 soles a kilo for all types of meat. With that price, she can make 200-300 soles in profits per cow; she sells about one cow a day. Since receiving the loan, she says that her profits have increased due to the increased sales. Her next goal is to buy a car for her business. Currently she has to use taxis to transport the meat in its various stages.
I have included a short video I took of Mrs. Leonor Cordova when I visited her on October 28th.
15. Name: Isabel Velásquez Antezana Date Interviewed: Tuesday, October 28th, 2008
Mrs. Isabel Velasquez Antezana is an entrepreneur living in Matucana, a small town in the sierra about 3 hours east of Lima. Isabel started her business in the street market of Matucana selling avocados and then fruit. After continuing to hear many requests from women for flowers, she opened an adjacent stall doing just that.
Every Tuesday and Friday, Isabel drives down to a flower market in Lima called Santa Rosa. When she is away in Lima buying flowers, her 30 year-old daughter tends the stall for her. Back in Matucana, she sells bouquets for 2 soles each. She works from 7am to 6pm during the week and 6am to 6pm on the weekends. Flowers have proven to be a more profitable business than the fruits. She now makes around 400 soles in profit each month. She is using the profits to pay the university and institute (a pre-university school) fees for her two children in school. Her goals are that she can continue to keep working and one day her sons in school will find jobs and be able to support her.
16. Name: Eusebio Rosales Vilchez Date Interviewed: Tuesday, October 28th, 2008
Mr Eusebio Rosales’ shop lies on a corner several blocks away from the plaza of Matucana, a small town in the sierra about 3 hours east of Lima, Peru. Eusebio has lived here since 1970 and seen the town (and weather…he assures me there has been climate change since he’s moved here…where once seasons were defined, now the weather is all over the place) go through many changes. His shop has steadily grown to a comfortable size and now he works just to ‘pay the bills’. He has a daughter who teaches at a primary school (elementary to Americans, and my dear Watson) and who he gives some of the store’s profits as well.
When he started his business, Mr. Rosales sold potatoes and vegetables. He has since switched to candies, soda, bread, and canned products for two reasons. First, potatoes are heavy and once he reached a certain age, he did not want to have to lift bags of them every day. Second, vegetables have a short shelf life (you have to sell them relatively quickly before they go bad) while the products he sells now can sit there until sold without worry. While before he had to buy more vegetables twice a week to stock his store, now he only has to get more goods once a month. The switch to these types of goods, however, brings its own challenge to his business.
One of the major constraints for his business that microfinance can help him overcome is lack of access to capital. Every month, Eusebio buys more goods from distributors who drive around in their cars. They only take cash so he must pay up front. Thus, if he has not made enough in profits from the previous month, he cannot buy as many products which means he cannot sell as much the next month and a vicious cycle develops. Mr Rosales used your loan to overcome this constraint by having a large (for Matucana) supply of ready capital to avoid the trap I mentioned above.
Nevertheless, Mr Eusebio Rosales has told me that he does not expect to ask for a new loan, as he did not like the experience very much. While he was grateful for the opportunity to get access to additional capital, he did not like having to worry about paying someone back every month. As his business is already well established and he is not looking to aggressively increase his profits, he placed more importance on living tranquilly. As you can imagine, taking out a loan forces one to make a certain number of sales each month in order to be able to make your monthly repayment. While he may not have that comfort of accessible capital for his monthly purchases from distributors, he prefers that once-a-month worry to the daily worry of making enough sales to make a monthly repayment. Eusebio is thankful for the experience and now has better understanding of what he wants and does not want. If he was in a different situation in life and in his business, he may have wanted to continue his experiment with loans to better his situation, but now he is content with what he has. Thank you for allowing Mr Rosales this learning experience by giving him access to capital he did not have previously and the ability to experiment with how he conducts his business here in Matucana, Peru.
17. Name: Guadalupe ‘Lupita’ Rodriguez Torres Date Interviewed: Thursday, October 30th, 2008
Guadalupe “Lupita” Rodriguez Torres is an entrepreneur without equal. Inspired by the verse that exhorts Christians to work ‘while it is still yet light’, Lupita does just that. Her first business venture was selling breakfast to workers at three nearby leather factories. She has since expanded that line of food sales to include lunches as well. At 9 or 9.30am every morning she makes her rounds with breakfasts. In addition to her breakfasts and lunches, Lupita also makes pastries, juices, extracts, jellos, and flan. She recently bought a large fridge to store her burgeoning food venture.
On top of her daily food sales, Lupita also works with leather that she can buy cheaply from the factories nearby. She has her own leather-working machine and makes leather purses, bags, jackets, pillows, mini-skirts, coinbags, etc. When she tires of leather, she also sews a variety of fabrics. In the picture she is showing a throw rug she recently sewed; she makes a wide variety of clothing products as well.
Not content with three types of food sales, leatherworking, and sewing, Lupita also sells products from catalogues. Every month she gets several catalogues from Avon, eSika, etc. She then goes around her neighborhood and sells the makeup, clothes, and household items to her neighbors and receives a 25% commission from the manufacturers. Lupita also utilizes this network of clients to sell her own products as well. Always active and always social, Lupita has formed two lending groups at EDAPROSPO and acts as treasurer in at least one of them (see Trust as a Foundation for more on EDAPROSPO lending groups). While I was interviewing her, she was busily recruiting two more women into a third lending group.
Still not content with three types of food sales, leatherworking, sewing, catalogue-selling, and lending team former, Lupita has recently bought a washing machine and plans to open a laundry service very soon. In addition, she rents out four rooms on the second floor of her house. With her most recent loan, Lupita bought materials for and built an area outside of her house to open a small restaurant and bodega. She plans on using the profits to build a third story to her house so that she can rent out more rooms. An incredibly vivacious and amiable host, Lupita told me, after giving me a handmade leather coinbag and homemade jello, that her motto is to work hard and fight hard while living then one day God will take her and she can rest. Thank you for being a part of Lupita’s frenetic entrepreneurial activity. I can assure you your money has never had a more productive than Lupita’s several month use of it. I have included a short video I took while visiting her here:
18. Name: Alejandrina Condori Date Interviewed: Tuesday, October 28th, 2008
Alejandrina Condori has been working as a streetside vendor in Chosica, Peru for fifteen years. Chosica is a town about 90 minutes east of Lima that is well-known as a winter retreat destination for Limeños tired of the constant clouds in the capital. Mrs. Condori’s stall is well-situated at the corner of the central plaza of Chosica where taxis line up to take visitors back to Lima. Her goal for the loan was to buy more merchandise to fill her stall: the more sodas and snacks she has on hand, the more she can sell and thus the more she can make in profits.She uses her profits both for the upkeep of her house and to feed her three children. She says that their situation has improved since she received the loan and that next time she is likely to ask for 500 soles.
Alejandrina works from 8am to 7pm. The bright yellow color of her stall along with the logo indicates that she belongs to an association of D’Anafria sellers (D’Anafria makes ice cream and chocolates). In the video I have included below, you can see that this association is omnipresent, with stalls nearly every twenty meters in crowded areas. At night, Mrs. Condori wheels her large stall to a nearby shelter where she pays 1 sole a night for storage and security. On the weekends, Mrs. Condori goes to Lima to buy the merchandise she sells throughout the week. When asked about her goals, she laughed and said she just wanted to keep working.
I took a short video of Mrs. Condori when I visited her and you can view it here. Note that my comment on her location is clearly evident as she makes a sale to a waiting customer in a taxi heading back to Lima.
19. Name: Gloria Damián Reyes Date Interviewed: Tuesday, October 28th, 2008
Gloria Damián Reyes is an entrepreneur living in the town of Chosica about 90 minutes east of Lima, Peru. Her primary business is selling prepared food at her little shop in a market near the central plaza of Chosica. Much has changed for her family and her business in the two years she has been working and the loan she received from you has certainly helped in that story of progress.
Mrs. Reyes says that when she started her kitchen, there was no water, no tables, and no fridge. Through her relationship with EDAPROSPO, she has been able to buy a fridge (now she can store excess food and prepare it more easily at the store), to buy tables (now customers can eat at the store), and has recently gotten a pipe put in so now she has access to water all day. With your loan, she was able to buy a car that she rents out as a taxi. She rents it for 30 soles a day and loves it because she is now earning more money with not much extra effort; it is adding another revenue stream to the family income.
Gloria works at her small food store from 8am to 10pm from Monday to Saturday. Since her stall is located at the edge of a large market, she buys her vegetables daily from other vendors without much hassle. Two or three times a week she travels 30 minutes away to Vitarte to buy more types of food for her meals. Like most small Peruvian restaurants, Mrs. Reyes has a daily menu, which is a fixed meal with starter, entrée, and drink. She sells these for 4 soles each. In addition, she sells special plates (lomo saltado [strips of steak with sautéed onions and peppers, rice, and French fries], arroz chaufa [fried rice], tallarin saltada [spaghetti with vegetables], trucha, pachamarca, etc.) for 6 soles each. Before her loan, she could sell 20 to 25 menus a day; now she sells 40 a day.
Pictured with Gloria is her son, Jason. Jason and Gloria’s daughter-in-law work with Gloria at her burgeoning food sales shop. People often order menus and Jason delivers them to their stores in Tupperware containers for his mother. He told me that his situation has improved after his mother received this loan. He says that now they can afford more gustos (non-necessities) at home, which he enjoys. As regards the future, Gloria said that she wishes to move to a bigger locale and open a full-size restaurant. The current space is rented and quite small. In addition, her experience with buying a car to rent to a taxi driver has been very profitable and enjoyable and she wishes to buy another car to do the same. Thank you for being a part of the rapid story of progress that is Mrs. Gloria Damián Reyes.
Here is a short video I took of our search for her small stall in the market.
20. Name: Rocío Ortiz Alcántara Date Interviewed: Wednesday, October 29th, 2008
Rocío Ortiz Alcántara has a stall in a market in Zona J of Huaycan, an exurb of Lima, Peru. As mentioned in her business profile, she has a husband and a baby daughter. Her business, as you may be able to tell by comparing these photos, has grown a lot since receiving your loan. While before she sold only clothing, she has since expanded to sell her mother’s various salsas, some food products, and little home improvement items (in Peru, a home improvement store is called a ferretería) in the glass counter shown.
Prior to opening her own business, Mrs. Ortiz Alcántara worked at another ferretería. Besides the noticeable increase in the amount and variety of products sold at her stall, the loan has also allowed Rocío to buy her stall space (before she rented) and has led to a 60% increase in her profits. She works everyday at the market from 7.30am to 1pm and then buys food, etc. Her short-term goal is to grow her business even more, primarily in home improvement products. In the long-term, she hopes to move out of this rather informal market and open a store in the more established (and paved) commercial center of Huaycan.
I have included a short video I took of Rocío and the market in which she works.
21. Name: Socorro Berrocal Chipana Date Interviewed: Wednesday, October 29th, 2008
Mrs. Socorro Berrocal Chipana lives and works in the town of Huaycan, an exurb of Lima, Peru. She sells a large variety of chicken dishes both in the market near her house and walking around nearby neighborhoods. Every day at 4am she goes out to buy the ingredients for her meals and returns around 6 or 7am. At 8.30am she is at the market selling food and continues to do so until 1 or 2pm. At 4pm she goes back out, this time walking, and sells more food in nearby neighborhoods and plazas until 8 or 10pm. The real story of the impact of your loan, however, is the change in her family life.
Socorro lives on a hillside known as Zona J in a makeshift house with eleven other members of her family. Pictured are Socorro (right), her mother, her daughter, and her granddaughter (left), and her other daughter (right). Since receiving her loan, their situation has improved. She now makes 50 soles in profits a day and has the ability to buy a few items for her household. Nutrition-wise, the family used to have to go to a comedor (a food kitchen – many poor neighborhoods in Lima have these; they typically serve soups and at low costs) but now she can cook at home. Her daughter Maria Elena (far left) has also gotten into the family business and travels to a town 30 minutes away to sell various chicken meals as well. Before her relationship with EDAPROSPO (your loan was her second ever), she could only sell food when she had enough money to buy the ingredients. She worked in that unsteady method for almost twenty years. Given the success of her two loans so far (Maria Elena is now a client of EDAPROSPO as well!), Socorro hopes to use her next loan to buy a pollo broaster (rotisserie chicken). She believes business and her family’s situation will continue to get better but told me ‘only time will tell’. Thank you for being a part of this exciting period of Socorro and her family’s life.
I have included a short video I took of our visit to Mrs. Socorro Berrocal Chipana and her family here.
22. Name: Sonia Gaudencio Date Interviewed: Wednesday, October 29th, 2008
Sonia Gaudencio owns a poultry stand at a semi-outdoor market in El Antonio, a suburb of Lima, Peru. She has been selling chickens and eggs (wouldn’t say which one first J) for almost ten years. While your loan has allowed her to sell more product every day, her profits have not really changed because of the increasing cost of live chickens. She makes about 100 to 150 soles in profits daily. She buys chickens live for 5 soles each and sells them (after several intervening steps) for 7 soles a kilo at the market. She sells on average 150 chickens a day. She has two children, ages 12 and 7, and she says their situation has improved over the course of the loan cycle.
Sonia works at the market from 5am until 1pm everyday and works at her restaurant from 6pm until 11pm. Her business began as a cart outside of the market; now she has a large stall inside the paved and well-lit market. Thank you for being a part of Sonia’s chicken business.
23. Name: Fortunata Condori Date Interviewed: Wednesday, October 29th, 2008
Fortunata Condori runs a small bodega in the urban neighborhood of El Agustino in Lima, Peru. When she started her business, she only had a carton of beer. Gradually she added more beer, soda, and the assorted small consumer products typical in bodegas in Peru. She used your loan to buy more merchandise, as more sales equal more opportunities for profit. Fortunata works every day from 8am to 11pm. Her two grown sons live with her but they are independent.
One interesting aspect of Mrs. Condori’s business is the rather unique relationship she has with Cristal, a large Peruvian beer company (Cristal, Brahma, and Cusqueña are the big ones here). While most small bodega owners must pay their distributors in cash up front, Mrs. Condori has the ability to receive Cristal beer on credit. At the end of the month, she only pays for the beer that she has sold. The fortunate thing for Fortunata with this special relationship is that Cristal beer also happens to be the most profitable item in her store. In the upcoming months, Mrs. Condori expects to buy a large quantity of punatón (fruitcake) and milk for the Christmas season. Thank you for being a part of Mrs Fortunata Condori’s business.
24. Name: Margarita Cárdenas Date Interviewed: Wednesday, October 29th, 2008
Margarita Cárdenas works at her bodega pictured along with her mother but she wanted to talk more about burgeoning catalogue selling business. Margarita has always had the entrepreneurial spirit; even at 14 she was buying and selling things. Now she utilizes her network of friends and neighbors both to sell products out of several catalogues and also to sell her own handmade clothing and assorted knick-knacks. Her long-term goal is to buy a car/taxi.
Her catalogue business works as such: every month Avon, eSkia, and Unique mail her a catalogue showcasing some of their products. Margarita then either goes out to visit people and show them the catalogues or they come to her (she’s been doing this for 5 or 6 years and has a reputation). They make their requests; she compiles them, and sends them back to Avon, etc. Avon then ships the products out within 5 business days. Mrs. Cardenas distributes the products and gives the women 15 days to pay her; on the 20th day she pays Avon. Avon gives her 25% of the sales, which is paid immediately when she deposits the collected monies in Avon’s bank account at a local bank. When there are special offers or deep discounts that she knows will be popular, she buys them herself and then sells the products directly to other people. As her network expands and deepens, Mrs. Cárdenas taps into her knowledge to make clothing and jewelry herself to sell to them as well. Margarita told me she makes about 75 soles in monthly profits from Avon, 140 soles from eSika, and 50 soles from Unique. Besides the money she invested in her bodega, she also used your loan to buy the aforementioned special offers up front. Thank you for lending support (and hence, reaffirming) to Mrs. Cárdenas entrepreneurial spirit.
25. Name: Isadora Chihuan Quintana De Aponte Date Interviewed: Wednesday, October 29th, 2008
Mrs. Isadora Chihuan Quintana De Aponte runs a very successful and booming restaurant in the neighborhood of El Agustino, a suburb of Lima, Peru. Her husband runs an internet café next door and she recently moved her own business off the street and into the front room of their house. The cart she used to sell out of is still useful, serving as a counter for food at her new restaurant. She has painted her specialties and the daily menu (a fixed course meal) on a door that swings open to the street. Even though the move to a full restaurant is new, the place is already selling out. She sells everything she makes and sometimes has to close early because they’ve run out of food! She opens the doors at 5pm and is usually out of food by 10pm or so. Mrs. Quintana hopes that one day she will only have to be the owner and maybe cashier and leave all the work to her daughter who currently helps her and maybe some employees. Due to the intense popularity of her new restaurant, she is contemplating tearing down the back wall and expanding the room further into the house; she doesn’t have many tables and adding more room could increase the number of people served at a time. Thank you for loaning to Isadora; the extra capital has helped her fortify a food sales business and stumble into an incredibly exciting new phase as a restaurant owner/worker/cook.
(Video coming soon!)
26. Name: Jacinta Sotomayor Date Interviewed: Wednesday, October 29th, 2008
Two weeks ago Jacinta was in a pretty bad accident when a minivan crashed into a mototaxi she was riding in. A mototaxi, if you haven’t heard of them, is a 50cc motorcycle shaped like a large tricycle with a small bench and a metal frame covering the passengers. She was left bloodied, without her four front teeth, blackened from the smoke, and with a hurt spine (she couldn’t sit down for the interview) but lucky to be alive. The timing was pretty bad considering it the first time she’s ever been in an accident, the mototaxi driver wasn’t properly insured, the minivan sped off, and her husband has recently left for Spain to look for work for two years. She has three children in their twenties that are helping her get through her recuperation. That said about her present condition, her past has gone well (the months of your loan) and the future looks good for her and her businesses. The following is an update on those two. Please keep Mrs. Sotomayor in your thoughts…and don’t worry about another accident, she assures me she won’t be riding in mototaxis for a long while.
Jacinta Sotomayor has been married for 25 years and has four children. She moved to this area of Vitarte from Ancash province (her husband is from Huaraz, the large town there…about 8 hours northeast of Lima). She used your loan to expand her business to include an internet café. During our conversation, customers appeared split between the bodega and the internet café, a sign that the business venture was a good one. Her current routine includes working 6am to 10pm every day at her store and waking up at 3am on Mondays and Wednesdays to buy vegetables. In the near future, she wants to put in a refrigerated counter so she can sell meat and dairy. Her dream is that her children will study until they become professionals (aka white collar workers).
Her experience with microfinance has been tremendously positive. EDAPROSPO uses lending groups (see Trust As A Foundation) as their mechanism for providing most loans and Jacinta is an active member in hers. She is the treasurer and says the role has allowed her to improve her skills with numbers. Though she only has a 2nd grade education and still has trouble reading and writing, she told me her numerical literacy has been engaged and strengthened. Jacinta loves the identity that women can have as part of lending groups; she is known as herself and this recognition thrills her. She particularly likes EDAPROSPO because of the independence it gives the women who use it (there are other microfinance organizations that continue to place heavy emphasis on the male as the head of household). Her friendships with the other women in her lending group are also instrumental to her life here in Vitarte. Her husband is in Barcelona, Spain looking for work for the next year and a half (been there 6 months already). When asked if she could consider moving there, she told me with a laugh that she would go only if her husband paid for the other 10 women in her EDAPROSPO lending group to come as well.
One development that looks promising for her bodega and internet café businesses is the impending pavement of her street (see A Chat on Buses for how communities develop around Lima). When the road is paved, there will be more traffic and potential customers for her business. It used to be that cars could not even drive in her neighborhood because of the quality of the ‘road’. Recently it has been more dust pounded flat but the dust has not been kind to the neighborhood children who have asthma (or get asthma because of it). Mrs Sotomayor is a member of several community organizations. To get the road paved, they petitioned the municipality and agreed to split the costs of paving the street 50/50. She says that if a foreign donor wishes to help their community, the grant money will often go disproportionately to the municipality rather than what it intends: lowering the costs of the community (ie a 50,000 euro grant from a French NGO only turned into 36,000 for the community after the municipality added ‘pages’ of fees to the money). With this construction project, Mrs. Sotomayor will pay a share equaling 1000 soles over the course of 3 years (~30 soles a month). Adding her internet business will help her to pay these additional costs.
27. Name: María Flores Santo Facundo Date Interviewed: Thursday, October 30th, 2008
De tan humilde familia, qué gran emprendedora es la señora Flora. Con sus 54 años, incursionó hace 6 meses en la venta de descartables implementado en un ambiente dentro de su casa, que también lo aprovecha para vender artículos de librería. Ella vive con su esposo y sus 5 hijos, 3 de los cuales se dedican a la producción y venta de mochilas (su trabajo anterior, se lo dejó a sus hijos), mientras los otros 2 son escolares, de 15 y 9 años de edad. Empero que su esposo también trabaja, como cerrajero, no les es suficiente los ingresos y mantienen un nivel de vida algo precario, pero la señora Flora ve más allá: sueña con terminar de ambientar su casa y poder expender también una librería por sí sola, y no junta con la de descartables como ahora, lo que aumentaría sus ingresos, arista esencial en aras de mejorar la calidad de vida de ella y los suyos.
Con la fe intacta y más voluntad cada vez, la señora Flora solicita el préstamo de 400 soles, con los ánimos de alcanzar su sueño, también el que anhela para su familia.
This update has been provided by a new staff member at EDAPROSPO, Darwin dedicated to their clients on KIVA. As he speaks only Spanish, I suggest using Google Translate or a similar free service to translate this update.
28. Name: Maria Gonzales Bustamante Date Interviewed: Thursday, October 30th, 2008
A pesar de sus 61 años, la señora María sigue siendo más que un paradigma para su familia por su perseverancia y valores intactos. Con ya 10 años de puesta su tienda, también tiene su carro sanguchero por las noches. Viviendo con su hija mayor, sus 3 hijos (sus nietos) y su esposo que viene mensualmente por laborar en provincias, es el sostén económico del hogar por lo que no puede ni declina ante tamaña responsabilidad. Ante esta situación, ella quiere implementar su bodega (panetones y juguetes por temporada navideña) y los insumos que necesite para su carro sanguchero, por ello, la señora María va a pedir próximamente la suma de 2000 soles, los que le servirían como capital para sus 2 negocios.
This update has been provided by a new staff member at EDAPROSPO, Darwin dedicated to their clients on KIVA. As he speaks only Spanish, I suggest using Google Translate or a similar free service to translate this update.
29. Name: Margarita Cardoso Date Interviewed: Thursday, October 30th, 2008
Con 6 años de puesta su tienda en el barrio donde expende cervezas y gaseosas, la señora Margarita, con sus 52 años, ya no tiene que velar por sus hijos, ya todos mayores y bien emprendidos, por lo que se ha abocado de fondo en su negocio y, más aún, debido a la fuerte competencia interna de las cervezas preponderante en el país. Siendo así la situación, los sueños de la señora Margarita van tomando forma en la medida en que adquiera cierta estabilidad en aras de implementar un local donde pueda vender comida china (chifa) y poder contrarrestar la decreciente venta de cervezas.
Es por ello que la señora Margarita va a necesitar próximamente de 1000 soles, para poder solventar sus gastos, propios de una señora digna de pasar su adultez bajo una óptima calidad de vida. Quiere tener mayor capital en pos de invertirlo en cervezas e insumos necesarios para su tienda y aprovechar tan fructífera temporada, como lo es la de las próximas fiestas navideñas.
This update has been provided by a new staff member at EDAPROSPO, Darwin dedicated to their clients on KIVA. As he speaks only Spanish, I suggest using Google Translate or a similar free service to translate this update.
30. Name: Flor de María Gómez Date Interviewed: Thursday, October 30th, 2008
Para poder invertir en la adquisición de ingredientes para la elaboración de sus menués y seguir implementando sus cabinas de Internet.
De 47 años, la señora Flor vende menués por pedido desde hace 1 año y, paralelamente, cuenta en un ambiente de su casa con otro negocio: cabinas de Internet. Su trabajo es duro pero ella sabe que vale la pena, y muchísimo, porque es así que puede costear la educación de sus 3 hijos: 2 en la Universidad y 1 en el colegio (de 26, 25 y 12 años de edad), en sí, son 6 personas con las que vive en casa. Sabe que en los rubros de sus 2 negocios hay mucha y dura competencia pero ella va para adelante, no se intimida y va diseñando sus metas a punta de esfuerzo. Es consciente que a veces no basta esto, por lo que requiere de una pequeña ayuda, es decir, va a necesitar de 500 soles de préstamo que le servirán como aliciente a su dedicado esfuerzo para con sus hijos.
31. Name: Flor de Maria Gomez Date Interviewed: Thursday, October 30th, 2008
Con un año en la venta de menúes por pedido, la señora Flor, de 47 años, también cuenta con un ambiente en su casa donde tiene computadoras proveyendo servicios de Internet. Ella vela por sus 3 hijos en el ámbito académico (ellos tienen 26, 25 y 12 años, los dos primeros en la Universidad y el último en el colegio). Ante tan noble labor para con sus hijos, ella no va declinando sus esfuerzos, se implementa de los insumos necesarios para su primer negocio, como lo son los tapers, los cubiertos, los ingredientes mismos de las comidas que prepara, etc. y va implementando seguridad en sus cabinas de Internet debido a lo peligroso de la zona donde vive.
En su afán de seguir creciendo y poder brindarle la tan necesaria educación a sus hijos, ella requiere de 500 soles para poder financiar sus negocios.
32. Name: Giovanna Rosales Date Interviewed: Thursday, October 30th, 2008
Mariscal Cáceres o Bayóvar, SJL.
Con 11 años en la venta de balones de gas a domicilio dentro de su mismo barrio, la señora Giovanna, de 41 años de edad, ha visto la evolución de su negocio, gracias a sus fieles clientes y al desarrollo de su mismo barrio en sí y lo que esto refleja en su negocio. Ella es provista de los balones de gas mediante una distribuidora semanalmente, lo que aumenta sus egresos, por lo que anhela poder contar con más capital para dicha adquisición, en pos de aumentar sus ganancias. Tiene 2 hijos en el colegio, de 14 y 6 años, para los cuales realiza tan sacrificada labor, quiere verlos desarrollarse personal y profesionalmente, y sabe que la educación es esencial para ello. En pro de construir dicha realidad para sus menores hijos, ella necesita de un préstamo de 800 soles, lo que le facilitaría la adquisición de más balones a un menor precio, dándole réditos mucho más altos para su bienestar.
33. Name: Dionisia Cahuari Date Interviewed: Thursday, October 30th, 2008
Desde hace 8 años que la señora Dionisia, de 55, tiene una tienda en casa donde expende gaseosas y todo tipo de abarrotes. Convive con su esposo, sus 3 hijos, Y alberga a la esposa e hijos de 1 de ellos, pero ella no les cierra las puertas: quiere el bienestar para todos sus hijos. Siendo la perseverancia su segundo nombre, ganado gracias al ahínco con que desarrolla sus labores, ella ve su futuro mucho mejor, tan sólo para poder brindarle a sus hijos, y a sí misma, una mejor calidad de vida. Para plasmar dicho futuro en la realidad, ella requiere de 600 soles, considerando la implementación que necesita su tienda en sí, tanto en su ambiente como en los productos que tiene.
34. Name: Denia Sangama Date Interviewed: Thursday, October 30th, 2008
Mariscal Cáceres o Bayóvar, SJL.
Poder contar con un mayor capital y así adquirir mucho más producto a un menor precio, lo que aumentaría sus ganancias.
Con sus 55 años, 8 de ellos con su tienda, la labor que desempeña la señora Denia es admirable desde todo punto de vista. Porque ha tenido que ingeniárselas para poder darle a sus hijos lo mejor que pueda acorde con sus posibilidades, por lo cual ha venido desarrollando un sinnúmero de actividades: venta de salchipapa, lavado de ropa a domicilio, etc., es decir, todo en afán de la crianza de sus 4 hijos (aunque 2 de ellos ya mayores: de 29 y 24 años; los otros 2, menores, de 18 y 14 años, a quienes les solventa su educación). A pesar del tremendo esfuerzo en más de 25 años como madre, aún no puede terminar de construir su pequeña casa, yendo esto en detrimento de la calidad de vida de su familia y productividad de los negocios que expende desde y en casa, anhelando la finalización de su casa como tal. Con ánimos de implementarse de insumos necesarios para afrontar la venidera campaña navideña, la señora Denia necesita de 300 soles, lo que le serviría como sustento a su capital en pos de mercadería y optimizando su nivel de ganancias.
35. Name: Graciela Silva Date Interviewed: Thursday, October 30th, 2008
Contar con más capital de lo actual y poder abastecerse de los insumos requeridos para su negocio de venta de menués.
Con 3 de sus 52 años puestos en la venta de menúes por pedido, la señora Graciela se muestra más empeñosa día a día con tamaña labor a pesar de la irregularidad de las ventas. Con 3 de sus hijos ya mayores, ella vela ahora por su última hija, una escolar de 12 años, para que pueda salir adelante tal y como lo hicieron sus hermanos a cargo de su madre. La señora aprovecha cuanta ocasión pueda para vender sus menúes: construcciones, grupos de trabajo de familiares, personas cercanas, etc. forjando así su propio desarrollo en base a su esfuerzo. En aras de seguir empoderándose, la señora Graciela necesita de 1500 soles, los cuales le permitirían poder elevar su capital (para poder adquirir los insumos necesarios para su labor) y, por ende, sus ganancias.
36. Name: Lina Maribel Garcia Luna Date Interviewed: Thursday, October 30th, 2008
Poder contar con un gran capital que le permita estar acorde con la demanda de sus comensales en su tienda de ropa y en la bodega que implementó en casa.
Con 35 años de edad, la señora Maribel cuenta con hasta 3 negocios: un puesto de venta de ropa en Las Malvinas, una bodega implementada en un ambiente dentro de casa y un puesto de venta de salchipapas implementado fuera de su casa donde expende de noche dicho producto. Con 8 años de contar con su puesto de venta de ropa y con 3 de implementada su bodega, la señora Maribel sólo tiene como prioridad una cosa: poder darle la mejor educación a sus 3 hijos, de 6, 10 y 12 años (muestra de ello es que en la actualidad los 3 están en un colegio particular) y sabe que no basta con la secundaria en el mundo de hoy en día, por lo que es consciente y procura labrar una cierta estabilidad económica pensando ya en la educación superior de sus 3 hijos. Teniendo sus metas bien claras en aras de concretar el sueño para con la educación de sus hijos, es que requiere del préstamo de 3000 soles, los que cimentarán su capital y, de acuerdo a las ventas, incrementarán significativamente sus ingresos.
37. Name: Maria Calderon de la Barca Date Interviewed: Friday, October 31st, 2008
De 41 años y con 1 de ellos en la crianza y ventas de cuy, la señora María cuenta con una gran predisposición para cualquier tipo de negocio así como la fuerza de voluntad y perseverancia para sacarlo adelante. Tal esfuerzo lo viene realizando años tras año para poder solventar la educación de sus 2 menores hijos: de 16 y 12 años. Volviendo a lo de su negocio, le está yendo muy bien, lo que ha causado una gran demanda que, lamentablemente, no puede abastecer por sí sola. Con ánimos de darle el empujón que necesita a su negocio, dándoles así la oportunidad de una educación a sus hijos, la señora María va a necesitar 1000 soles y, así, poder acariciar tan añorada realidad de unos hijos bien educados.
38. Name: Lidia Velapatiño Date Interviewed: Thursday, October 30th, 2008
Mariscal Cáceres o Bayóvar, SJL.
Al ser por pedido, debe contar con más capital para la adquisición de los productos de medicina natural que expende.
Tras una gran carrera como profesora, la señora Lidia con sus 67 años, aún sigue escalando las escarpadas de la vida y afrontando las tempestades que ésta depara, por lo que hace 3 años se dedica a la venta de medicina natural por pedido, de una marca reconocida mundialmente, debido al insuficiente sueldo como pensionista que percibe por parte del Estado por sus servicios de docencia. Incluso, la señora Lidia aspira a más: recientemente acaba de ingresar al negocio de otra marca de medicina natural (adueñándose así de lo que fuera “su competencia” por unas semanas), abarcando así la totalidad de dicho rubro. Y, es que, la señora Lidia no deja el ser emprendedora y quiere forjar, junto con su esposo, un policía en retiro, un buen porvenir y disfrutar de calidad de vida óptima por todo lo aportado al país como docente tantos años. Por ello, requiere de 500 soles para poder adquirir más productos para su posterior venta, lo que incrementaría sustancialmente sus ingresos.
39. Name: Maria Leonor Velaochaga Date Interviewed: Friday, October 31st, 2008
Contar con más capital en aras de poder adquirir los insumos necesarios para la fabricación de calzado.
De 41 años de edad y 3 de ellos en la labor de fabricación y venta de calzado, la señora María ha alcanzado la estabilidad deseada laboralmente, siendo ahora su anhelo el lograr una mejor calidad de vida paralelamente, para, así, poder brindarle a sus 2 hijos lo que ella no pudo gozar al provenir de una familia de pocos recursos. Su mayor hijo, de 22 años, estudia y trabaja a la vez, lo que es un gran esfuerzo en pro de su familia misma y, su menor hijo, de 13 años, cursa el colegio. A nivel de la capital, el rubro de calzados es de mucha competencia, por lo que la señora pugna por estar a la vanguardia de los modelos y de los insumos que requiera para éstos, sabiendo, por su experiencia, que aquel esfuerzo es sinónimo de un ulterior éxito. Para alcanzar dicha meta, urge de 1000 soles como préstamo, los servirían como bastión para su futura inversión y, por ende, superación, no sólo personal sino también a todo nivel familiar.
40. Name: Vilma Torres Moreno Date Interviewed: Friday, November 21st, 2008
Vilma Torres Moreno runs a bodega out of her house in the suburb of San Martin de Porres on the outskirts of Lima, Peru. Her loan has had an unusually large impact on her monthly profits because of the nature of her business and the effect a little extra capital can have on it. Mrs. Torres Moreno has a bodega (typical shop that sells soda, snacks, cookies, and common household needs like toilet paper) in the front of her house but her many form of income is a thriving products-via-catalogue business that she runs alongside the bodega. Vilma’s relationship with microfinance began when she sought a little capital to begin her catalogue sales business. With a ready display counter in her bodega, she could invite friends and regular customers to see the products available in this month’s catalogue. Vendors of catalogue sales receive a percentage of the total sales after each ‘sales campaign’. They gather requests from friends, family, and customers, submit the bundled requests to the catalogue company (in Vilma’s case: eSika), receive the products 5 days later, and then have 15 days to collect payments and distribute the product to the clients. When all of the payments have been collected, Vilma deposits the money in eSika’s account at a local bank and is immediately refunded a percentage of the deposit.
Your loan helped Vilma in a significant way. Vilma can use the capital to buy products in advance that she is sure she can sell in the upcoming weeks (and display in her store counter). By buying and selling at a higher volume, Vilma receives a higher percentage of profits. In fact, she was able to move from 25% to 36% because of her increased sales volume. It is an ever-increasing circle: higher volume means higher profits of course, but also a higher percentage which increases profits even more. Mrs. Torres Moreno then cycles her profits into buying products for her bodega and helping it grow. The ‘sales campaigns’ for her catalogue business are every 3 weeks and she sells 2500 soles on average each campaign.
Vilma Torres Moreno has two married children (one son and one daughter) who live in their own houses and two grandchildren: one is seven years old and the other is seven months old. Vilma lives with her husband and the seven-year-old grandchild. Her hopes are to keep working and maybe, one day, move to the United States or especially Spain to work. She moved in 1979 from the sierra province of Ancash (the city of Huaraz, to be specific…it’s 8 hours north of Lima and the jumping-off spot for backpackers trying to conquer the continent’s 2nd tallest peak of nearby Huascaran) to Lima but thanks to profits from her two businesses, has the opportunity and ability to travel there often to visit family and friends. Thank you for being a part of Vilma Torres Moreno’s businesses and letting your little extra capital allow Vilma to increase her catalogue sales business enough to jump to a significantly higher percentage band.
41. Name: Luz Neyra Date Interviewed: Friday, November 21st, 2008
In the tens of thousands of loans posted on Kiva’s website, mistakes sometimes occur. In the case of Luz Neyra, there was a slight mix-up between the initial interview and the initial uploading process. The woman in the photo and story is not Luz Neyra; rather, it is another woman in her local lending group who works in the same market as Luz. Since I organize my visits by assembling names of borrowers in need of journals, my recent expedition to said market had me interviewing the real Luz Neyra and not the woman in the photo. Later in the week when I was assembling my many photos and interviews to post as journal updates, I discovered the discrepancy. After several rounds of communication, it would prove very difficult to find the woman in the photo (obstacles: making the long trek out there again, her initial loan officer had since moved on to another organization [it’s hard to ID a person by photo if the person in charge of that relationship is no longer here], and the woman herself is no longer a client of EDAPROSPO since her loan ended several months ago). What I know is that the woman in the photo DID pay back her loan in full and on time and then subsequently decided to take a break from microfinance. Nevertheless, I had a great talk with Luz Neyra (the name in your loan) and what follows is an update on her life and business…and a video with audio, soon to follow!
Luz Neyra works in the Virgen de Fatima market in Los Olivos, a northern suburb of Lima, Peru. She belongs to the second oldest lending group with EDAPROSPO’s branch in Los Olivos. For five years, she and a group of neighbors and workers in the V. de Fatima market (including the woman in the photo) have gotten loans together and slowly built up some savings. Luz’s business began with selling her homemade condiments, a variety of salsas used in most types of everyday Peruvian dishes. People will buy little bags of salsa that typically last for the day’s cooking for their families. Luz has since added a variety of other products to her market stall including soy sauce, milk, common household necessities, oils, etc., but her popular condiments remain the backbone of her operations. She used the loan to invest in such side products because the constant presence of condiment clients makes additional sales likely.
Ms. Neyra makes all of her condiments fresh every morning. When she started her business, she admittedly did not know how to prepare a good salsa very well; she told me her first attempts were rather watery concoctions. Now she knows all the right combinations and the popularity of her stall attests to that discovery. Luz works everyday from 7am until 1.30pm at the market; before she leaves for the market, every morning she makes her salsas fresh from Peruvian chili peppers, garlic, tomatoes, etc. Each daily bag of condiments sells for about 40 centavos (more or less depending on the quantity and for certain types of salsa) and she makes about 80 soles in profits every day (100 centavos equals 1 sole).
While the profitability of her business has allowed her to grow her business and fix up her house, her real joy is the change it brings to her family. Prior to the condiment business, Ms. Neyra worked in Central Lima selling clothing. Her hours were long and the profits less stable. People’s decision to purchase clothing or not is largely a reflection of economic conditions (ie if you have very little money, you may decide to keep wearing what you have on longer rather than buy a new shirt) while everyone cooks everyday regardless of macroeconomic conditions. In addition, her close proximity to the market Virgen de Fatima (it is in her neighborhood while Central Lima is a 90minute bus ride away) allows her shorter working hours and the opportunity to see and support her daughters – ages 18 and 15 respectively – much more than her previous occupation allowed. Ms. Neyra hopes to one day build enough on her house that she has extra rooms to rent out and room for a bodega as well.
Due to the overwhelming popularity of her store (I think 30 people bought her salsas while I was interviewing her), I decided to buy one of her salsas as well. While her salsas can be used for a wide variety of Peruvian dishes involving chicken, beef, and vegetables, I chose one used for ceviche – a Peruvian dish composed primarily of more-or-less raw fish (the lime’s acidity cooks the fish). Soon I will post a short video of Luz Neyra and my subsequent culinary experiment.
These are the ingredients you need to prepare ceviche for two people:
2 filets of a white fish (I used tilapia)
1 red onion
1 red chili pepper
8 key limes (or Mexican limes…they have more acidity than the large ones)
cilantro as desired
salt and pepper
Luz Neyra’s homemade garlic salsa (or garlic powder if you can’t make it Los Olivos, Peru)
**Corn on the cob
**Yucca or sweet potato
**Leaf of lettuce
- Cut the white fish filets into bite-size portions
- Cut the red onion into bite-size portions
- Cut the red chili pepper into very small pieces (diced?)
- Squeeze the juice out of the key limes into a bowl
- To the bowl of lime juice, add salt, pepper, garlic concoction, cilantro, and cut-up red chili pepper.
- Add cut-up fish filets to lime juice bowl and let it soak for 20 minutes
- Add onion to mix at the very end, if ever.
- **Boil corn on the cob; cut out a cross-section of it and place on side of serving plate
- **Boil yucca or sweet potato; cut out a cross-section of it and place on other side of serving plate
- **Place single leaf of lettuce (the bowl-shaped ones) in center of plate.
- When twenty minutes are up, put some onions on top of the lettuce leaf, then put soaked fish, excess liquid, and rest of onions on top of it.
Enjoy your ceviche! When you finish the plate, Peruvians typically pour the rest of the liquid into a cup and drink it. This mixture is called Leche de Tigre (Tiger’s Milk) and so named because it gives you quite the kick with its acidity and spiciness (and supposedly cures hangovers). Peruvians typically eat ceviche either for lunch or as an appetizer for dinner (with soup to follow).
42. Name: Ceneida Tapia Date Interviewed: Friday, November 21st, 2008
Mrs. Tapia has worked in her bodega for four years. While the hours are extraordinarily long (5am to 11pm everyday), Ceneida says she prefers it to her previous job of selling clothing, if only because this job is in the front of her house and so she can see her children everyday. Her store operates both as a grocery for her neighbors and a kiosk of snacks and sodas for the neighborhood kids. Her breakfast supplies for the customers comes in at 5am while the lunch supplies come in at 9am. The grocery products – vegetables, rice, sugar, breakfast items, etc. – used to be in the front of the store, but after several years she now has a reputation and can keep the groceries in the back of the store and people can just ask her. This arrangement works well because grocery buyers usually know what they want while kids who want snacks do not know what they want and thus what they see is what they will ask for (in other words, if all the cookies were hidden from view, no one would buy them while if all the eggs are hidden, people still ask for them). While that may seem that economics is pushing an unhealthy agenda (cookies in front, healthy foods hidden), she tells me that actually cookies and candies have the lowest profit margins while vegetables have the most profit potential (50% of their price is profit). Thus, economics remains a mixed bag in terms of health outcomes at least in the microeconomic paradigm of bodegas in the suburbia of Lima, Peru.
Your loan helped Mrs. Tapia specifically in the process of ordering supplies. Ceneida receives her merchandise from distributors (often a teenager on a bicycle) every week. She must ask for the items a week in advance and pay when they are delivered. Having a bigger base of capital from her access to the credit you provided allows her a greater cushion in her weekly orders (ie not as dependent on last week’s sales to finance next week’s products). This is particularly beneficial for the weeks with major holidays when she will need a greater supply of products than usual. Mrs. Tapia typically makes 20 soles in daily profits on weekdays and 30-40 soles daily on weekends. One interesting investment she recently made for her bodega was the purchase of a large thatch roof for the front patio. I thought it was purchased so people could sit and drink in front of her store but she told me it was actually because of the sun. In the late afternoons, the angle of the sun meant that the sunlight fell on the front of her store and melted the chocolates and cookies there. With the thatch roof, the store is cooler and the chocolate safe from the sunlight. As hinted at earlier in the description of her daily schedule, Mrs. Ceneida Tapia does all of her work for her children. She has three kids – ages 11, 9, and 5 – and her dream is that her hard work will allow them to study and one day become professionals. Thank you for your extension of credit to Mrs. Tapia and her business; it made a difference and is a credit to you as well.
43. Name: Magaly Moreno Date Interviewed: Friday, November 21st, 2008
Mrs. Moreno works in a grocery/bodega at her house in Los Olivos, a northern suburb of Lima, Peru. Her experience with microfinance thus far has been a very positive one. She belongs to one of EDAPROSPO’s oldest groups in Los Olivos, a 5 year-old group named Señor de los Milagros (she jokingly says it was named because of the miracle of banquitos—lending teams). She feels that she has learned a lot in her group about not only financial matters but also moral issues. In successive loans, Magaly has bought merchandise for her store, fixed up the store by putting in a concrete floor, and most recently bought a glass counter. Her grocery bodega makes about 20 to 25 soles in profits a day, with chicken and vegetables yielding the most profit. She has worked in her bodega for 16 years and before that in Lima. She enjoys her job because it allows her to help her husband and see her daughters, ages 20 and 11. At 4.30am every morning she wakes up and goes out at 5am to buy the chicken and vegetables she will sell throughout the day. Her older daughter leaves with her at the same time but continues on a longer bus ride to her university on the south side of Lima (2+ hours away). At 8am, her younger daughter goes to school. At noon, Mrs. Moreno begins to prepare lunch and both daughters are usually back in time to share it at 1.30pm (her youngest can come home from school for lunch while the oldest is usually done with classes by then). Thank you for your loan to Mrs. Moreno and the impact it has had on her business and life, allowing her to continue to work from her house and see her daughters on a daily basis.
44. Name: Rita Bardales Date Interviewed: Friday, November 21st, 2008
Mrs. Rita Bardales is an entrepreneur operating a bodega out of her house in Los Olivos, a northern suburb of Lima, Peru. She used your loan to buy more merchandise for her fledgling store. She has run her bodega for 6 years, selling sodas and snacks to her neighbors from 6am to 10pm everyday. She makes about 30 soles in profits each day and says that sodas are the most profitable of her goods. Rita has five children – ages 25, 24, 20, 15, and 14- but only the youngest three live with her. After your loan, she has decided to take a short break and move to a new area of town after 15 years of living in her current house. She told me that her street now does not have much foot traffic so she is moving in the next few weeks to a new house on a busier street. Thank you for your credit which allowed her to build up capital more quickly and tide her over for the brief break in business that will accompany her move to a new house.
45. Name: Teresa Huaman Sanchez Date Interviewed: Tuesday, November 25th, 2008
Teresa Huaman Sanchez sells snacks from a cart she strategically places on a corner outside a secondary school near her house in Comas, a northern suburb of Lima, Peru. She has been a client of EDAPROSPO for 6 years and her granddaughter is now the treasurer of her lending group. Her granddaughter, Vanessa, also happens to be a Kiva borrower but her story is saved for her own page located here. Her husband recently passed away unexpectedly in the first half of November. Thankfully, her sister (pictured on the right) as well as her daughter and granddaughter are all here to help her in these difficult times. While the three generations live in the same house down the block from Teresa’s corner stall, her sister often accompanies her to work just to pass the time and to guard against shoplifters when a crowd of schoolboys inevitably comes every afternoon.
Your loan helped Mrs. Huaman Sanchez build her capital of snacks sold from her stall. After many years selling from the same busy corner, she has a reputation in the neighborhood and no longer has to worry about others trying to take her ‘spot’. The location is ideal not only because of the proximity to her house (she must push the cart back-and-forth every day) but more because of the proximity to the local school. She sells around 40 to 50 soles of goodies a day and from that, makes about 15 soles in daily profit. The small items such as sweets and caramels make the most profit, she says, because even though the item’s value is not much, one cannot charge less than the smallest value of currency. In other words, though a caramel may be worth only 4 centavos, no one uses less than 10-centavo pieces and thus she would charge 10 centavos. Her hours naturally follow those of the school, so she works from 6am to 3pm Monday thru Friday, with peak hours being when kids are going from or to school. On weekends and holidays, she ventures down to the nearby market street (literally just a street that has been ‘invaded’ by numerous cart stalls) where lots of sales are likely. Whenever her merchandise is low, she will refill it between her working hours. Thank you for becoming a part of Mrs. Teresa Huaman Sanchez’s business and please keep her family in your thoughts in these difficult personal times.
46. Name: Gloria Mendoza Garcia Date Interviewed: Tuesday, November 25th, 2008
Ms. Gloria Mendoza Garcia works as an obstetrician in a subsidized clinic in a poor neighborhood in the exurbs of Lima, Peru, and runs her own pharmacy out of her house down the road. Ms. Mendoza Garcia studied obstetrics at the noted University of San Marcos (famed Peruvian author and 1990 presidential candidate Mario Vargas Llosa is a fellow alumna). While she has been working at the clinic for fourteen years, her idea for opening her own consultancy has been realized only in the past six. With your loan, Gloria has been able to add a small but growing pharmacy to her private practice. The credit you have given her has been matched by several other lines of credit and she now has a substantial and positive credit history. Pharmacies have taken note and she now receives credit from them for the pills and medicines she buys from them for her own pharmacy rather than having to pay for everything up front as she did previously. Her work at the state clinic lasts from 8am to 2pm everyday while her private practice is from 5pm to 11pm. Many of the women who visit her in her first job come to her home in the evenings. In addition, she is well known in the area because of her work with the clinic and so people are always looking for her in the evenings. Her short-term goal is open up a bigger pharmacy but for this she will need to accumulate or borrow more capital. When asked her long-term dream, she laughingly says, “To move away.” Thank you for your loan; it has helped Ms. Gloria Mendoza Garcia in adding a pharmacy to her private practice and taken her one step closer to her dream.
47. Name: Antonia Chuquihuara Date Interviewed: Tuesday, November 25th, 2008
Antonia Chuquihuara lives in Comas, a northern suburb of Lima, Peru, and works as a painter of leather jackets. When a leather garment is marked in any way such as a scratch, people call her to re-dye the leather to cover any imperfections. In an interesting husband/wife combination, Antonia’s husband does a similar type of work painting cars and buses. The loan she received from you via Kiva and EDAPROSPO was used to support both of their businesses. At the time of my interview, Antonia had gone to drop off a newly painted leather coat to one of her clients; therefore, the picture and short video I took is of her husband. The couple has been with EDAPROSPO for eight months and would like to continue their relationship with this Field Partner. The husband mentioned that though the amount of the loan is satisfactory, in the future they would be asking for longer loan terms; having a three or four month repayment plan makes the monthly payments too high (ie 600 soles paid back over 10 months is 60 soles a month while over 3 months it’d be 200 soles a month). The Chuquihuaras have five children and four grandchildren. Thus, it should come as no surprise that they are using the profits of their respective businesses to build a second story to their house. Thank you for your support of this husband/wife painting duo and by extension, the many lives they affect.
48. Name: Vanessa Cruz Cordova Date Interviewed: Tuesday, November 25th, 2008
Ms. Vanessa Cruz Cordova is a 25 year-old woman in Comas – a northern suburb of Lima, Peru – who seemingly has the blessed ability to balance the many demands of work and home in a successful and cheerful manner. Vanessa lives with her mother, grandmother, and her three-year-old son. She is the treasurer for the local EDAPROSPO lending group that also includes her grandmother, Teresa Huaman Sanchez. With her mother’s recent illness, Vanessa has moved her informal restaurant from her old location in Los Olivos (a neighboring northern suburb of Lima) to the front of her now-shared house. She has worked at selling food for 7 to 8 years and learned from the best; her mother was the cook at a popular comedor (food kitchen for low-income families). Every afternoon at 4pm, Ms. Cruz Cordova begins preparing the food for her dinner customers. She makes a variety of dishes, normally chicharron de pescado (fried fish) and alitas (fried chicken wing) but also sells hamburgers and pachamanca (like a pot roast but with pork, beef, chicken, potatoes, corn, etc. prepared in a gigantic pot or, more traditionally, in a makeshift oven from a hole dug in the ground) among others upon request. She drags a table and some chairs and places them on the sidewalk in front of her house. By 6 or 7pm, customers begin arriving. She sells the chicken wings for 2 soles a plate and the fried fish for 2.5 soles; on average she sells 30 plates of the former and 15 to 20 of the latter. With this amount of sales, Vanessa makes around 60 to 80 soles in profits a day. By 11.30pm or so, the food is all sold out and her night is finished; she tells me this is always the case. Vanessa’s culinary skills have quite the reputation and she is now often asked to cater for weddings and baptisms that happen in surrounding neighborhoods.
Beyond her knack for making a tasty dinner, Vanessa has a knack for taking care of the needs of others. While a loan officer and I interviewed her for this update, Vanessa brought us Inka Colas (the national drink of Peru [non-alcholic…pisco sours are the alcoholic drink]…Inkas taste like a bubble-gum flavored soda). She asked for this loan shortly after she separated from her husband. She realized that she now had to look after her young boy on her own and needed a little capital to start her own business. She told me that since she also must look after her mother with her recent illness, working in an office was not an option for her. So while Vanessa may have been pushed into the food selling business by various family circumstances, her talent with cooking may well have pulled her in a happier time. Vanessa now dreams of opening up her own restaurant. Thank you for your loan; behind every business there is a story and you never know what a little bit of start-up capital can do to help a business and more importantly, a business owner.
49. Name: Rosario Roca Date Interviewed: Wednesday, November 26th, 2008
Mrs. Rosario Roca runs a bodega in the front of her house on a quiet street in Comas, a northern suburb of Lima, Peru. After giving an EDAPROSPO loan officer and I Inka Colas (a yellow soda with the taste of bubble-gum, widely considered the national drink of Peru [nonalcoholic, the alcoholic distinction belongs to the Pisco Sour]), Mrs. Roca gave us a snapshot of what it meant to be a small business owner and resident of her neighborhood in Comas. The hospitality gave it away.
She has spent four years receiving loans from EDAPROSPO and this was her first loan financed by Kiva lenders. To receive loans from EDAPROSPO, a person normally forms a group of neighbors and entrepreneurs form a ‘banquito’ (little bank). From this position, EDAPROSPO lends a large amount to the group, split among the members according to their requests (which is the amount you lent), and the group members then cross-guarantee each other’s loans. This approach to microfinance, stemming back to Muhammed Yunus’ approach in Bangladesh in the 1970s with his Grameen Bank, has the effect of building or, at the minimum, reinforcing trust among a small community of neighbors. Mrs. Roca thrives in this atmosphere of trust and is known as a prompt (and sometimes early!) payer of her debts. While most communities could stand a little boost of the interpersonal trust that ‘banquitos’ give, in Mrs. Roca’s case, it seems more like a natural extension of what the community already does.
On the lefthand side of the front counter of her bodega, Rosario keeps a handwritten ledger of credits that she extends to her neighbors who frequent her store. She says that she has always let her clients pay her when they could; in theory this means that a person will build a tab of 20 or even 50 soles and then pay her in a lump sum when they get a paycheck or have enough money. More often, however, her system of credit has led to very late repayments or none at all; time accumulates, people move out of the area and she is left with having to eat the debt that she extended in trust. The picture, though, is not as bleak as that anecdote makes it out to be. Next to her ledger of customer debts and credits is another sheet with handwritten names and figures. This sheet is a community chest that helps neighbors when a family member gets ill and racks up a hefty medical bill or is kept from work for an extended period of time due to illness. 13 years ago, her husband had a serious injury and her neighbors collected money, each what they were able, and helped them pay for the medical expenses. Now, a neighbor has been bedridden and she is returning the favor; a finely woven web of trust has been spun in terms of medical insurance, without any outside organization acting as an impetus.
Her store, despite the frequent occurrence of ‘eating’ bad debt, continues to make a profit. She uses the profits to re-invest in the store, slowly building her stock of available goods for sale. Her stock of capital has grown to the point that she is considering expanding her store. Rosario’s husband, recently retired, is slowly learning the trade his wife has been perfecting over the past 25 years. He laughs often, still has trouble finding some snacks in the shop, supports his wife in her many endeavors, and seems to enjoy his new role as the helpmate to his wife, the boss. Rosario does not just run a bodega though; she also cooks lunches on request (and there are plenty of requests) and Sundays makes soup. On the weekends and holidays, she cooks hundreds of tamales that her neighbors, passer-bys, and relatives clamor for; she has even been asked to cater for several weddings (which take 200+ tamales). With her husband now available to help run the store, Mrs. Roca is likely to expand in her burgeoning food sales network. For the upcoming Christmas season, Rosario is stocking up on panetones (Peruvian fruitcake), milk, and sugar. She has timed her next loan from EDAPROSPO well so she will get the full dispersal a month before Christmas to temporarily boost her capital for the busy season (she wanted to do this last year, but her group needed experience [in the form of regret] rather than foresight to agree to pay their loans off early to start a new cycle in December rather than February like usual).
The community bond of trust is undoubtedly strengthened in the formal setting of microfinance. However, in Rosario’s case, the bonds existed before the ‘banquito’ even started. Six years ago, an event that could have easily broken the virtuous circle of trust occurred. Rosario had been running low on supplies and needed to go to a discount superstore to stock up on new items. With 1000 soles on hand, she went to a place about thirty minutes away by taxi to buy items for her store. After she had collected all the merchandise she needed in several large bags, she hailed a cab. The cab arrived, she filled it with all of her goods (her store was basically empty so the items she’d bought represented all the capital she had accumulated over many years), and they drove back to her street. The cab driver suggested he back up to her store so she could more easily unload the heavy bags of merchandise. After doing so, she stepped out of the cab and walked around to the trunk to begin unloading her goods. The cab driver then hit the gas and swerved out of the street and neighborhood with a thousand soles worth of merchandise, never to be seen again. When everything is taken, something is returned. Mrs. Roca was financially ruined; the bodega she had been building up for many years- gone – in a blink of an eye. But then something inspiring happened. Her neighbors, not wealthy people themselves, decided to hold an event in the street. With their get-together, they raised enough money to replace everything that had been stolen.
Now I am a believer in the institutional role that microfinance can play in building trust among people; you extended trust to Mrs. Rosario Roca by lending her your money, she built upon your trust by repaying you promptly and in full. The institutional underpinnings of microfinance are rooted in someone taking an initial risk of lending to a person who has no collateral and having that risk met and exceeded (in relation to the rate of their richer brethren) by prompt repayments by the poor. If that trust is not met, then it is very likely that the poor entrepreneur will never get another chance to get access to credit. What I love about Mrs. Rosario Roca’s story is the reminder that trust is not confined to formal relationships. The extension of credit may be taken away but you cannot take away your neighbors. Mrs. Roca’s neighborhood is a cauldron of trust, one where people look out for each other in sickness, in theft, and in poverty. Microfinance offers a path out of poverty by allowing trust to swirl through the field of financial services and into an accumulation of physical capital based on formal relationships. What Mrs. Rosario Roca’s neighborhood offers is a path out of isolation by allowing trust to swirl through individual traumas and tribulations and into an accumulation of social capital based on the necessarily informal relationship of love.
50. Name: Blanca Rosa Espinoza Goycochea Date Interviewed: Wednesday, November 26th, 2008
Blanca Espinoza Goycochea runs a day care of sorts (it runs from 7.30am until 8.30pm, so a whole-day care is a better term) for kids in her neighborhood in the city of Comas, a northern suburb of Lima, Peru. Her neighborhood is the same one that is mentioned in a post on the Kiva Fellows Blog entitled “Formal Trust, Informal Love” (link is http://fellowsblog.kiva.org/2008/12/10/formal-trust-informal-love/). Blanca currently cares for four children but hopes to expand to care for three or four more in the near future. Her business began when, six years ago, she was playing in the street with her nephew. A woman on her way to work and worried about leaving her child asked Blanca if she could care for him while she was working. Blanca agreed and thus began her nursery. The boy is now 14 years old and still visits Blanca at her home. Mrs. Espinoza Goycochea not only watches after the four children (which in and of itself is a difficult job), she also cooks them breakfast and lunch and prepares a snack and milk in the late afternoon for them. She says that she has opened her child-care center in order to make enough money to pay the university fees for her son. Her dream is for her son to finish his studies and become a professional. The man pictured in the update is the father of the boy in the white shirt and the girl holding the photo (her name is Sofia). He is a teacher at the local K-12 and told me he has been very satisfied and grateful for Blanca’s work. Thank you for your loan in supporting this child-care business and thus becoming a small part of the community that inhabits Buenos Aires Street in Comas.
51. Name: Eneyda Cueva Date Interviewed: Thursday, November 26th, 2008
Mrs. Eneida Cueva has used your loan both to buy ingredients necessary for her food sales business and to fix up her house a little. The past ten years of Mrs. Eneida’s fifty have been spent preparing typical food from Peru’s jungle to sell in San Juan de Lurigancho, a vast suburb of over a million people in the eastern part of Lima, Peru. Eneida has her knowledge of jungle cooking because she originally hails from the town of Pucallpa (see Kiva Fellow Jenny Ballen’s take on Pucallpa here: http://fellowsblog.kiva.org/2008/12/09/i-heart-you-pucallpa-peru/), one of the two main Amazonian towns in Peru (the other being Iquitos). Due to the success of her cooking business, Mrs. Eneida Cueva is able to babysit the children of her neighborhood without charging any fee. Mrs. Cueva’s dream is to improve the quality of life of her children and husband but her old age makes the realization of this dream hard work. Mrs. Eneida Cueva realizes that she will have to be smart about her business in order to weather the current economic crisis and maintain her profits. The capital she has been able to build from your loans will surely prove a bulwark of sorts during these rough times. Thank you for your loan to Mrs. Eneida Cueva and furthering the cause of jungle cooking in metro Lima!
52. Name: Jackeline Sanchez Date Interviewed: Thursday, November 26th, 2008
Note: The English translation of the loan description incorrectly said that Jackeline was 20 years old. As the original Spanish version and my interview confirmed, she is actually 29 years old; we apologize for the apparent typo.
Jackeline Sanchez runs two businesses in the eastern suburb of Lima, Peru, named San Juan de Lurigancho. She has used your loan to support each of them; for her beauty products business she bought a stock in order to sell them later, while for her ambulatory restaurant she bought ingredients necessary for her daily menus. Jackeline has two children – ages 10 and 8 years – and she says that most of her work is done for the sake of her children. Mrs Sanchez balances risk with opportunity for profit when deciding how to run her businesses. Competition is fierce in her two chosen fields and the negative effect of the recent economic crisis on the wallets of average Peruvians has made Jackeline have to work even harder. She knows that there is a limit to productivity in both fields and that at some point capital is what is necessary to make the next step. With this knowledge, she is grateful for the access to credit that your loans have given her. Thank you for extending credit to Mrs. Jackeline Sanchez and her businesses.
53. Name: Giovanna Huamani Date Interviewed: Thursday, November 26th, 2008
Barely 29 years old, Giovanna Huamani has spent the past six years working at her various businesses that she runs out of her house: hair cuttery, ice cream seller, and various seasonal snacks such as Peruvian fruitcake (paneton) for Christmas. The month of October, she used your loan to buy a large quantity of turrones (October is Turrones Month in Peru…they are a sweet cake-like pastry with a dulce de leche topping with sprinkles) to sell. In the upcoming summer, she will be shifting focus to the aforementioned paneton as well as ice cream. She is separated and must care for her two young children, ages six and two years. She knows that the economic situation in Peru and the world has been deteriorating over the past few months, but she has taken it as a challenge to make sure her beauty salon will remain an attractive place to visit this upcoming summer (the Southern Hemisphere is in summer when the Northern experiences winter). Thank you for your loan; it has allowed Giovanna to invest in traditional snacks and ice cream that may prove to be an income smoother as income from her beauty salon business may falter in the months ahead. With her access to credit, she will be able to ride out the economic storm a little bit easier than she would have earlier.
54. Name: Mily Caronila Cordova Espinoza Date Interviewed: Friday, November 27th, 2008
New Business Profile:
Mily Cordova Espinoza is a 22 year-old entrepreneur who sells salchipapas (Peruvian dish consisting of hot dogs and french fries) from a cart on a highway near her home in Carabayllo, a northern suburb of Lima, Peru. She is requesting this loan of 600 soles to help expand her business; she wants to be able to offer a wider variety of food options, to have a covering for her cart, and to add lights to it as well. She will pay back the loan over a period fo four months. This married mother of two – ages 5 and 2 – works from 5pm to 10pm every night at her salchipapas business and has been doing so since the age of 14. She views this loan as the first step to achieving her greater goals. One day she hopes to convert her salchipapas cart business into a restaurant. Then she wants to have her own house and be able to have enough room in it to open a weekend retreat hotel. While the process to achieving her dreams is likely to be a long one, this loan will help her take the next step in it. She believes she already has part of her dream achieved by owning her own business, however small it may be.
55. Name: Carmela Gutierrez Date Interviewed: Friday, November 26th, 2008
New Business Profile:
Mrs. Carmela Gutierrez is requesting a 500 sole loan to help grow her wholesale vegetable business in Carabayllo, a northern suburb of Lima, Peru. She has only been in this business for four months and her first loan with EDAPROSPO played a big role in starting it. She buys vegetables such as lettuce, onions, rabishes, and celery wholesale and sells them in smaller quantities for a profit. She has three teenage children – ages 18, 15, and 11 – and one of the main uses of her profits will be to convert their house from adobe to concrete. Her immediate goal for her vegetable business, and one your loan may assist her in achieving, is to get her own stall in the market (she currently walks around selling her vegetables).
56. Name: Lourdes Conovilca Date Interviewed: Friday, November 26th, 2008
New Business Profile:
Lourdes Conovilca is a loving mother and an ambulatory entrepreneur who sells vegetables in a market in Carabayllo, a northern suburb of Lima, Peru. She is requesting a loan, paid back over 4 months, of 500 soles to buy more vegetables for her to sell. She has been working for 10 years but only a recent participant in microfinance; this will be her second loan with EDAPROSPO. Lourdes buys vegetables wholesale and sells them in the market from 4am to 10am every morning. With her current level of sales, she makes around 200 to 300 soles in profits a week. Her dreams rest on her two year-old son. In the short-term, she hopes to make enough to build her house and buy clothes for her son. Her life’s dream, however, is that she can work hard enough so that he won’t have to work in the market like her but instead can go to school and become a professional.
57. Name: Janet de la Cruz Date Interviewed: Friday, November 26th, 2008
New Business Profile:
Mrs. Janet de la Cruz is a married mother of two (ages 7 and 4) who sells mazamorra morada (a Peruvian breakfast dish) in her neighborhood in Carabayllo, a northern suburb of Lima, Peru. She is requesting a loan of 200 soles to be paid over 4 months in order to buy more ingredients for her mazamorra. She has been in the business for the past six months, selling two sizes of mazamorra for 50 centavos and 1 sole respectively from 3pm to 6pm every day. Her goal for the business is to expand it a little and use the profits to buy shoes and school supplies for her two children. While she entered the business because she sometimes did not have any food when her children would ask her and she hopes to end her business in many years with them becoming professionals and having better lives.
58. Name: Elizabeth Cordova Espinoza de Fuertes Date Interviewed: Friday, November 26th, 2008
New Business Profile:
Mrs. Elizabeth Cordova Espinoza de Fuertes is a recent mother (2 month old daughter) who wants to begin raising animals at her house. Now with a baby, Elizabeth is requesting a loan of 600 soles to be repaid over 4 months in order to buy piglets and ducklings to raise for resale. She is in the final year of university and hopes that this business (and loan) will help her realize her dream of graduating and becoming a professional. While her dream is to become a professional, she is also hoping the piglets and ducklings will grow very large, large enough to drop the suffixs and be just pigs and ducks (and fat!). With a very cheerful demeanor, she is tackling her motherhood and education with an entrepreneurial response.
59. Name: Jenry Omar Cordova Espinoza Date Interviewed: Friday, November 26th, 2008
New Business Profile:
Jenry Omar is working his way through university and with his childhood dream of becoming a professional now within reach, he is asking for a loan of 400 soles to pay his upcoming school fees. Jenry has always wanted to study to become a medical technician but has also always had to work. From a very young age when he worked in a bakery, he has been in a number of odd jobs. Currently, Jenry works as a cobrador (in Peru’s informal transportation business, buses and vans have men who tell the driver when to stop to pick up passengers and when to go, announce stops, and collect passengers’ fares. They are called cobradors) three days a week. He wants to be licensed as a medical technician, however, and to do that he still needs to get his título or certificate, which takes a year. He plans on continuing his transportation job when he’s a medical technician but hopes he’ll have enough to own his own car and run it as a taxi when needed. With this loan Jenry Omar will be one step closer to his life goals of owning his own house, business, and working as a licensed medical technician.
60. Name: Neiva Carmita Rodriguez Castro Date Interviewed: Friday, November 26th, 2008
New Business Profile:
Mrs. Neiva Rodriguez is a hardworking mother of four who owns her own restaurant in Carabayllo, a northern suburb of Lima, Peru. She is requesting a loan of 200 soles to be repaid over 4 months in order to grow her restaurant’s business a bit more. Neiva is married with four children – ages 20, 18, 16, and 11 – and also works as the treasurer of her banquito (‘little bank’ lending group at EDAPROSPO). She started her business in the market but after two years has now moved into a rented indoor space. She works from 5.30am to 4pm everyday selling breakfasts for 3.5 soles and fixed menu lunches for 4.5 soles. Her dishes include ceviche de pollo (a twist on the classic ceviche which is raw fish soaked in lime juice and served with onions), spaghetti, aji de gallina, and pollo a la cerveza. She sells about 40 to 50 lunches a day and comes out with a daily profit of around 50 soles. As she accumulates more capital and gains more experience, her dream is to study to become a chef (which is expensive in Lima, the culinary capital of South America) and learn how to cook international food.
61. Name: Gladis Espinoza de Cordova Date Interviewed: Friday, November 26th, 2008
Mrs. Gladis Espinoza de Cordova is a lighthearted mother of seven with a husband who works in the mines in Peru. Gladis originally lived in the Junin province but now lives in Carabayllo, a northern suburb of Lima where she has her own artesanía (traditional crafts) business. She is requesting a loan of 300 soles to be repaid over 4 months to buy a machine for her business so that it can grow. Mrs. Espinoza de Cordova sews in her house and every 15 to 20 days travels out to the provinces to sell her handicrafts; all of her goods are made to order. Her dream, she says with a laugh hiding behind her eyes, is that her many children (5 girls and 2 boys) will do well and specifically that her son (Jenry Omar, who is also raising a loan on Kiva) can become a professional.
62. Name: Ysabel Guevara Date Interviewed: Thursday, November 27th, 2008
Ms. Ysabel Guevara is an extremely outgoing businesswoman who always keeps her focus on customer service. Ysabel sells salchipapas (cut-up hotdogs and french fries) and hamburgers outside of her house in Comas, a northern suburb of Lima, Peru. Her house has an excellent location on a corner just outside the local outdoor market, a highway, a church, and a busy bus stop. An example of her attentiveness to her customers is that she sells her meals outside of her house from a cart rather than opening up the front room of her house as a restaurant. She tried the latter a while back but found that people were scared off, thinking that because it was a sit-down food establishment, the prices would be higher. She has had her own business for 8 years and been a client of EDAPROSPO for the past 2.5 years.
Ms. Guevara uses her profits to buy sodas, jellos, sweets, etc., and used your loan to increase the rate of her investment. As Christmas season is here with its attendant increase in spending habits, Isabel’s build-up of non-perishable foodstuffs will serve her food business well. Isabel does not limit her offerings to salchipapas and hamburgers, but instead will make anything the customer asks to eat. She also switches around her menu frequently because she believes people do not like to be bored. After her lesson with indoor seating led her to offer her dinners outdoors, Isabel has recently bought a tent, table, and chairs for people eat under outside. In the mornings, she prepares the food that she will sell that night. She has her cart and tent out from 6.30pm until 12.30 or 1am every night. With her current prices and number of customers, Isabel makes about 30 to 35 soles in profits a day.
Isabel has three children – an 18-year-old daughter, a 17-year-old son, and a 21-month-old daughter. Her goal is to work hard so her children can study; after they have finished, she can have a break. Until then, she wants her business to continue growing and changing so that it won’t get boring for either her or her customers. Isabel Guevara’s business motto is “Charisma Sells” and charisma is something she has in abundance. Thank you for investing in Isabel’s business.
JOURNAL UPDATES for Microfinanzas PRISMA
63. Name: Oswaldo Meza Date Interviewed: Tuesday, December 16th, 2008
Mr. Oswaldo Meza farms in a valley about an hour outside of Tarma with his extended family. With your loan, Oswaldo bought three cattle to augment his family’s income from farming. These three cattle are the first he has ever owned. In four more months, Oswaldo will sell the three cattle for about 1500 soles each and realize a profit of 1500 soles in total. If you look in the photo below carefully, you can see one of the cows grazing on the edge of his family’s fields near the river on the left (the other two were further to the right of Oswaldo). His father, himself, and several other family members work in their fields growing vegetables and flowers (they were harvesting potatoes and lettuce at the time of the interview and planting more flowers). Your loan is the third loan that he has received from PRISMA, which is also his first experience with microfinance. He told me that things are going well and that he has enjoyed his relationship with PRISMA. In the photo, he is with his four-year-old daughter named Rosario. He and his wife are considering buying their own land in Palca (a village down the highway) or even a car. Currently he works on his father’s fields and their families all live together. While his normal workday is from 7am to 5pm, he moonlights as a driver and assistant on a nearby truck route from the jungle to Lima. When he goes on one of these trips, he can be gone for half a week to a week. Thank you for being a part of Oswaldo’s first venture into owning cattle.
64. Name: Gloria Meza Lobo Date Interviewed: Tuesday, December 16th, 2008
Mrs. Gloria Meza Lobos works with her extended family in a farming community in a valley about an hour outside of Tarma, Peru. She used your loan to invest in this season’s harvest. Every 6 months, Mrs. Meza and her family harvest a variety of crops including potatoes and carrots. At the time of this interview, Gloria’s mother and several others were busy harvesting their potato crop, loading it into sacks, and placing them in stacks near the roadway to be picked up by a truck. This loan was her third loan with PRISMA and she says the experience has been a good one; the extra capital has allowed her family to increase the size of their sowing.
The capital injection you provided with your $25+ works like this for Mrs. Meza: Gloria uses the money to buy sacks of seeds for the upcoming growing season. In her area, Gloria and other farmers rent their land by the number of seed sacks they use, not by square meters. To rent the land for each sack of seeds planted, Mrs. Meza pays 25 soles for the season. Thus, as Mrs. Meza planted 2 sacks of potato seeds for this growing season, it will cost her 50 soles to rent the land for the next six months; this sum she pays up front. For an example, a two-sack field of potatoes is the size of the brown field behind Gloria in the picture below. In addition to the land rent, Gloria has to buy the sacks of seeds, which for potatoes cost 50 to 60 soles a sack. Having a ready supply of capital to cover all of these upfront costs allows Gloria to buy more sacks of seeds and thus reap a bigger harvest (and profits) in the months ahead. When the harvest comes, about half of the revenue goes to cover the costs of growing the crops and the other half is profit. At times her loan may not always fit exactly to the growing season at which time she buys animals to raise alongside her crops; in the (two-sack) field where we interviewed Gloria, there were two sheep tied up as well. Gloria lives with her husband and her two children, ages 10 and 6. The ten-year-old, Herson, is pictured here with her. Thank you for your ‘seed’ capital to Gloria’s agricultural endeavors; may you reap what you sow.
65. Name: Saturnino Quispe Soliano Date Interviewed: Wednesday, December 17th, 2008
Mr. Saturnino Quispe Soliano is a potato farmer in the small village of San Juan, a three-hour bus ride away from Tarma, Peru. His village sits on the ridge of a farming valley that gradually descends from the sierras to the beginnings of the jungle at La Merced. Saturnino has the fortune of not only owning a house that sits a hundred meters from the village plaza but also having his field located right next to his house. He used your loan to buy fertilizer when he planted his latest crop of potatoes; the fertilizer ought to help improve his yield. Saturnino owns his field and pays a minimal 28-30 soles in taxes a year on it; his house is likewise his own and he has lived there for 30 years. Mr. Quispe Soliano has a 22 year-old son who also lives with him. Saturnino works from 8am to 5pm in the three hectares that he owns. During planting and harvest seasons, he often hires 4 or 5 peones (day laborers) to help him. He pays them 15 soles a day and their work is usually needed for 2 or 3 days at a time. Each potato crop brings in about 8000 soles in profits from the 15,000 kilos it yields. His next harvest comes in March/April. Thank you for supporting Saturnino; if all turns out well, the capital you lent should lead to a bigger harvest for him in the months ahead.
66. Name: Teodolinda Magdalena Galarzo Espinoza Date Interviewed: Wednesday, December 17th, 2008
Ms. Teodolinda Magdalena Galarzo Espinoza lives in a small village of Chires, a two-hour hike from the village of Huayahuasi, which is itself a 90-minute bus ride from Tarma, Peru. Teodolinda started a small store in her village with the loan that she received. Her best-selling products are small candies (golosinas) that sell for 10 or 20 centavos each. She buys these caramels, candies etc. every Sunday from Tarma and mainly sells to kids (her store is across the street from the village’s only school – an elementary). Teodolinda only has one competitor in the village and her store has been steadily growing. Ms. Galarzo Espinoza is a single mother with two children, ages 7 and almost 5. Her dream is to have nice things for her children because as of now, they do not have any. To this end, Teodolinda saves some of the profits from her store for her kids while the rest she reinvests into buying more candies and small goods. Her goal is to fill the store one day. In addition to her store, she has eleven cows – five of which are pictured with her. Thank you for your loan; it has been the start-up capital for her new store and hopefully a first step for achieving her dreams for her kids as well.
67. Name: Raul Galorza Alvarez Date Interviewed: Wednesday, December 17th, 2008
Mr. Raul Galorza Alvarez is a farmer in the small village of Chires, a two-hour hike up the valley from Huayahuasi, Peru. He and his wife, Mary Luz (pictured here), have three children ages 24, 22, and 16. They all work together in the fields of potatoes and albergha that they own. Raul had experience with the first generation of microfinance (government-subsidized agricultural banks) 18 years ago but has not reengaged in microfinance until now. This is his third loan with Microfinanzas PRISMA and he says that it has gone well. He used your loan to buy fertilizer for his fields in expectation that it would increase his crop yield. He told me that this is his first time using fertilizer; prior to your loan it was out of reach for him. He plants 35 sacks of potato seeds and typically harvests around 20,000 kilos. Because the price for potatoes fluctuates, he says that some seasons are profitable while others have no profit. During planting and harvest times, he often needs extra help; thus, he hires peones (day-laborers) whom he pays 20 soles a day. Mr. Galorza Alvarez dreams of having a house in Huayahuasi (town at bottom of hill) or in Tarma (a larger town of 10,000 about 2 hour drive away).
68. Name: Ulises Avilcar Llasca Date Interviewed: Wednesday, December 17th, 2008
Mr. Ulises Anilcar Galarza Llasca used your loan to buy 25 sacks of potato seeds for this season’s planting. Your loan marked the third time he has received loans from Microfinanzas PRISMA and his experience with this Field Partner has been a good one so far. He has been working in his fields for 20 years now but now with the loans his situation is slowly improving because he can spend more in the planting. While he normally works alone in his fields, during times of need (ie planting and harvest) he typically hires one or two helpers who he pays 20 soles a day. He is married and has four children ages 3, 4, 6, and 8. Pictured with him is his son Richard Jose. Ulises wants to build up enough capital so that he won’t need loans. Right now, he uses loans because it allows him to build up his equity capital faster than before. After the potatoes have been harvested, a merchant in Tarma (a town of 10,000 about three hours drive away) determines the price he’ll pay. On average, Ulises gets about 80 centavos for each kilo. With his typical harvest of 8,000 to 10,000 kilos, Ulises makes about 1,500 to 2,000 soles in profits (the typical growing season is 5 to 6 months). Thank you for your loan.
69. Name: Silvestre Isidro Chuquín Date Interviewed: Wednesday, December 17th, 2008
Mr. Silvestre Isidro Chuquín is a potato farmer in Chires, a very small pueblo in the sierras of Junín Province, Peru. Your loan marked the third loan that he has received from Microfinanzas PRISMA. A community leader, Silvestre has worked with several NGOs throughout the years on environmentally sustainable projects for the area. His dreams include reforesting 24 hectares of the community with pine trees and creating an local industry, with an NGO’s help, to export mushrooms that grow under and around the trees. He worked for the Peruvian government eight years ago.
With a good sense of macroeconomics, Mr. Isidro Chuquín told me that he uses the loans to support him and his family throughout the year. The potato and albergha harvests every 6 months and 1000 soles now may not be worth the same then as now. (sidenote: Peru in the late 1980s and early 1990s suffered hyperinflation and this memory is strong in the area. Indeed much of history weighs on the residents; initially many villagers were afraid of me [until they heard I was with PRISMA] because a gringo had taken pictures of kids in the ‘80s and they’d then been targeted by Sendero terrorists) Silvestre has a large family – a wife and eight children. His fields are next to his house and he does not use any workers because he has his own irrigation system. He owns two hectares that produce about 2400 kilos from 40 sacks of seeds. Thank you for your loan.
70. Name: Susana Aida Alay Buendia Date Interviewed: Wednesday, December 17th, 2008
Mrs. Susana Aida Alay Buendia owns a store (the largest in Chires) in her pueblo in the sierras of Junín Province, Peru. She began the store with her first loan from Microfinanzas PRISMA and with her fourth – yours – she has invested more in the store and in her potato fields. Mrs. Buendia’s husband works in the mines and her four sons attend school both in the pueblo and in the nearby town of Huayahuasi (Chires only has a primary school, two attend that; Huayahuasi is a 90-minute hike away and the other two go to high school there). While Susana attends her store, she has three full-time employees who work the family’s four hectares of potatoes and are paid 20 soles a day each. During harvest-time, this number expands to 15 or 16 workers. The store helps her pay for lunches for herself and her kids and a few extra luxuries; the real family income comes from the potato fields.
Susana specializes in selling potato seeds rather than just the end crop. She sells the full-size potatoes at the market in nearby towns while the seeds she sells to businessmen from Arequipa in the south. Her next harvest will come from January to March. Each hectare of her fields requires 20 sacks of potato seeds so she reinvests 80 sacks a harvest back into her own fields. The land itself is rented from her grandmother. Susana’s dream is to leave the small pueblo and move to Huancayo (a town of 350,000 people with a university) so that her children will get a good education. Her oldest is wanting to study heavy machinery in an institute.
71. Name: Adelio Alejandro Amancay Soto Date Interviewed: Wednesday, December 17th, 2008
Mr. Adelio Alejandro Amancay Soto works at his liquor store and harvests potatoes from a section of communal land in his pueblo near Huayahuasi, Peru. He plants 40 sacks of seeds and the cost of renting his 2 hectares of the communal land is 200 soles a year. Pictured with him is his wife, Senovia Tasa Puente, who tends the liquor store when Mr. Soto is out in the fields. Every week they go to Huayahuasi (hour drive down the valley) to restock their store. This is their first year with the liquor store. They use the loans to support themselves in between harvests. One day, they dream of moving to Tarma (a town of 10,000 about 3 hours away) with their seven-year-old daughter and buying a house there.
72. Name: Hernan Ricardo Hidalgo Pacheco Date Interviewed: Wednesday, December 17th, 2008
Mr. Hernan Ricardo Hidalgo Pacheco (pictured on the right) works for a company that specializes in building adobe houses and also has 2 hectares of potato fields. He has worked in construction for 8 years. When there is work, people will call him on his cell phone and he will have to travel to other cities for two to four weeks at a time. Hernan has a wife and five children aged 13, 11, 8, 5, and 2 respectively. With your loan, he has gotten a little extra capital to invest in his construction work and his fields. His next harvest is in March/April and at that time trucks will come to take his crop and pay him that season’s price for potatoes. His dream is to one day buy a house in Tarma, a town of 10,000 about 3 hours away from his village.
73. Name: Luis Tinoco Rodriguez Date Interviewed: Thursday, December 18th, 2008
Luis Tinoco Rodriguez and his wife Maribel live in the veritable artist colony town of San Pedro de Cajas in the sierras of Junín Province, Peru. The entire town has a well-earned reputation for tapestries and weaving; the trade and skills are passed down from generation to generation. Mr. Tinoco Rodriguez studied painting at the school in San Pedro and graduated in 2002. Luis had been living in Lima, pursuing his career as a painter, when one of his clients heard he was from San Pedro de Cajas. With this new business relationship, Luis moved back to San Pedro a year to a year-and-a-half ago to start weaving purses, tapestries, clothing, etc., of his own and bringing them (and some of his neighbors’ work) to Lima every week. The buyer in Lima then exports the goods to Argentina and the United States. Luis makes and buys around 500 bags a week to bring to Lima. For each one, he makes about 40 to 50 centavos in profit; the actual amount is determined by each bag’s color and quality. Everything in the picture was made by Luis in his workshop in the back of his house. He has three weaving machines of varying sizes and uses (ie one makes cloth to be cut into bags while another allows him to weave pictures into tapestries like those on the top left). His goal is to expand his business and export more goods; the pending Free Trade Agreement with the USA ought to help. Luis gave me a tour of workshop and attempted to teach me how to weave the cloth he uses for bags; I have included the video below (or will soon).
74. Name: Rosa Montes Vilchez Date Interviewed: Thursday, December 18th, 2008
Mrs. Rosa Montes Vilchez and her husband Victor Huaranga Rojas live in the artisan-populated pueblo of San Pedro de Cajas in the sierra Junín province of Peru. Rosa recently opened her own restaurant on the main plaza of town; the PRISMA loan officer and I were actually the first customers (though we didn’t know it at the time; we stopped for breakfast before heading out to look for the day’s clients…after we found her husband, he told us about the new store and we went back and had lunch). The husband and wife have a room in their house that acts as their tapestry workshop. Each has his/her own machine set up on either side of the room; although they’re positioned to face each other, Victor laughingly assured me it is not for competition’s sake. Victor is a well-known specialist in hand-stitching images into larger tapestries (only he and his brother know how to do this type of work. The life of a weaver here is a long one; they start work at 4 or 5am and end at 9pm. Creating a 1m10cm X 1m70cm tapestry takes a full day’s work. Victor works for a store in Lima; every Sunday a car comes and brings the week’s work there. A lady in Lima then adds borders to his work and sells it to folklore singers. The piece in the video takes two days to complete and costs 100 soles. Rosa’s father gave them the machines; the weaving tradition is likewise passed down from parents to the children at an early age, usually 7 or 8. Their dream is to work so that their children (Victor Lugo is 7 and Cesar is 5) can have better lives than them. And judging solely on the first day, the restaurant appears to be doing well. It was completely full when we visited; there was even a line at lunchtime. Rosa is the cook while Victor is the waiter. Thank you for supporting this family of weavers and now restaurant owners!
75. Name: Lucy Dania Castellanos Yarin Date Interviewed: Thursday, December 18th, 2008
Mrs. Lucy Dania Castellanos Yarin sews tapestries on request in the veritable artist-colony pueblo of San Pedro de Cajas in the sierra Junín province in Peru. She used your loan to buy a third machine that is smaller and more suited for her type of work; additionally, now her family has enough machines for her, her husband, and her oldest son – after school, of course – to all work on their own machine (in picture, son’s is on top left and husband’s is on top right). Lucy is famous in her town for her extraordinary ability to make complex tapestries completely from memory. Most artisans here tape a photo of the proposed scene on the top of their machine; Lucy thinks of an image and colors and just goes from that. Mrs. Castellanos Yarin makes her tapestries on request: a client will say certain colors or type of scene and she will make it. She makes one tapestry a day and sells it for 11 soles to an intermediary in San Pedro. With the third machine that your loan allowed her to purchase, the family’s profits have increased since no one ever has to be idle (ie if son has to leave his work unfinished, it does not affect Lucy’s ability to start another tapestry). The tapestries are made of wool. Lucy has what looks like a stick covered by blue jean material that she uses to press the wool so it won’t disintegrate when she weaves it. The machine bought with your loan was made by a local carpenter and cost 240 soles; the rest of the loan went into materials, etc. Mrs. Castellanos Yarin has four children. The oldest is 15, the next- 13, Emily is 3 (peeking behind machine), and Lady is 1 year old.
I took a photo of Lady that I thought some of you might enjoy. Although it is obvious Lady doesn’t actually slave away on a weaving machine like her mother, brother, and father, the tradition and skill of weaving IS passed down from generation to generation in the town of San Pedro de Cajas. Another entrepreneur who I interviewed in San Pedro told me that kids can usually operate the machine by the time they’re seven or eight, and work after school starting in high school (~14). San Pedro’s municipal government has invested the state’s resources in furthering this artisanal tradition by opening a School of Fine Arts (it’s a post high school program… they call these institutes. my feeling is they’re like vocational schools or JuCos). But whatever the underlying social indicators in the photo, you gotta admit: Lady is pretty dang cute.
76. Name: Ever Rojas Quiquia Date Interviewed: Thursday, December 18th, 2008
Mr. Ever Rojas Quiquia is married with 2 children ages 6 and 4. He is a well-known weaver of flower (or flower-sellers) tapestries in the artist pueblo of San Pedro de Cajas in the sierra Junín province of Peru. He used your loan to buy more materials for his weaving business. In his house there are three machines: one for him, one for his wife, and one for a worker that he hires. Ever has worked as a weaver from 3am to 8pm, Monday through Saturday for 8 years. For the past three of those years, he has had a Bolivian buyer come and buy 12 of his tapestries every month. Each one of Ever’s tapestries sells for 90 to 95 soles; his wife and worker sell theirs elsewhere. It takes him two days to make one of his flower scene tapestries. They are large ones, typically 1 meter by 1 meter 90 centimeters. In addition to his weaving, Ever owns 48 sheep that his wife and mother take care of. He uses his weaving profits to buy more sheep that he then sells for wool (key ingredient in local weaving industry) and meat. Thank you for supporting Ever’s business.
77. Name: Mery Huaynate Oscanoa Date Interviewed: Thursday, December 18th, 2009
Mrs. Mery Huayanate Oscanoa raises cuy in the artisan-dominated pueblo of San Pedro de Cajas in the sierras of Junín Province, Peru. She used your loan to build bigger houses for her cuy (guinea pig) operation. She currently owns thirty ‘mother’ cuy that produce about four or five babies in each litter. From birth to sale, Mery spends six months raising the babies to full-size. She sells the full-grown animals for two soles a kilo. In addition to raising cuy, Mery also owns a store next door to her house that sells school supplies. In the accompanying photo, you can see she also sells yarn and other supplies for the town’s
well-known weavers at her store. Ms. Huaynate Oscanoa has a third income-generating business: she sews borders to cloths that most mothers use. Her style is distinctive and a peasant could tell by the edgework that she hails from San Pedro de Cajas. The black and white patterns as well as the use of wool are distinguishing marks. Mery is presenting a project to an NGO in the upcoming months in order to buy a machine to help her with her stitch work. Mery has seven children- five sons and two daughters. One of her daughters, Cecilia, is pictured with her in the accompanying photo. Mery doesn’t plan on resting anytime soon. She hopes to expand all three of her businesses as well as open a restaurant. Thank you for your loan.
78. Name: Carmen Montes Vilchez Date Interviewed: Thursday, December 18th, 2008
Carmen Montes Vilchez is married to Edward Rojas and has two children ages 10 and 3. In addition to the regular work as a weaver, Carmen and Edward run one of San Pedro de Cajas four radio stations out of their house. Edward deejays Radio Union 104.3 from 6am to 7pm everyday. They buy music cds, play fifteen songs an hour, and use the station as a platform for promoting local talent. They make 1400 to 1500 soles a month from their radio station, receiving monthly payments for reading advertisements over the air. Of this, around 400 soles are profit per month. In addition, the municipality sometimes pays them to read the news or public notices from time to time. Edward learned how to operate a radio station when he was in school fifteen years ago; the husband and wife have owned and operated their own for the past three years. They want to use their proceeds to expand their business (ie buy a bigger antennae and transmitter [now it is just a foot-wide circle attached to the top of a fifteen-foot pole on their roof]).
79. Name: Alfredo Leon Gamarra Date Interviewed: Thursday, December 18th, 2008
Alfredo Leon Gamarra lives and works in the town of San Pedro de Cajas in the sierra province of Junín in Peru. According to the season, Alfredo works as either a contract laborer for the municipality or as an independent artisan. From October to January, when demand is low, he works for the local government constructing houses out of lumber and concrete. Around May, there is an increased interest in artesanía and he sells his wares to clients in Lima. He has a 14 year-old daughter but her mother left them some years ago. To pay for your loan, he is using his earnings as a contract laborer. The hours for a government laborer are pretty good compared to the artisan alternative (ie rising before dawn and working ‘til sunset). A contract laborer works from 8am to 12pm, breaks an hour for lunch, and works again from 1pm to 5pm; they work Monday to Saturday. When he is working in artesanía, he makes small half-meter long tapestries and backpacks. He sells the tapestries for eight soles each and can make five a day. His backpacks cost eighteen soles and he can make eight of these a day. Alfredo’s dreams are for his daughter, Shirley. He wants her to finish school and go on to study in higher education. Thank you for supporting Alfredo.
80. Name: Florencia Ramirez de Lavado Date Interviewed: Friday, December 19th, 2008
Mrs. Florencia Ramirez de Lavado lives in the village of Tapo, located an hour away from the town of Tarma in Junín province, Peru. For the past 32 to 34 years, Florencia and her husband have run a butcher shop and business in their town. She sells beef, pork, and lamb. Her husband buys the animals in the ‘heights’ (the village is in a valley while the fields are scattered all around the sides of the valley and lower down near a brook) while she kills them at a place outside town and runs the actual stall in the market. Unlike another rural butcher I met, Mrs. Ramirez de Lavado does not have a machine to cut up the animals but rather uses a simple handsaw. Tapo has a two-storey building for their market with the second story opening out into the plaza (the building is on a hill). For the cows, the family buys one (typically 100 kilos) for 750 soles and sells it for 8.5 soles a kilo, a 100 sole profit; lambs are typically ten kilos, bought for 80 soles and sold for 100 soles. In a regular week, Florencia sells six to seven lambs and one to one-and-a-half cows. The majority of her sales go four or five butchers in Lima. She makes the seven-hour journey every weekend, selling her meat there on Saturdays and Sundays. The days before and after her journey to Lima are the days she sells at the market in Tapo. Two children live with her and her husband, a daughter who is 15 and a son who is 9. The son, as he was on summer vacation, later cheerfully led the Microfinanzas PRISMA loan officer and I around the village to meet the rest of the Kiva borrowers in the area. Florencia’s dream is to simply continue moving forward and maybe have a little more for her family. Because she conducts the majority of her butchery business in a second house outside of town, we took the picture at her house near the main plaza of Tapo.
81. Name: Juana de la Cruz da Galarza Date Interviewed: Friday, December 19th, 2008
Mrs. Juana de la Cruz de Galarza runs a restaurant at the indoor market off the main plaza of Tapo, a village in the sierra province of Junín, Peru. For the past twenty years, she has sold breakfast and lunch there, Monday to Friday. She wakes at 4am, begins preparing the food at 5am, receives her first customers at 7.30am, switches to lunches at 11.30am, and ends between 4.30pm and 5pm. She buys her ingredients twice a week, Thursday and Sunday, at the market in Tarma, a town about an hour away. Her stall in the market is wide enough for a table in the back, shelves for utensils and ingredients, and a sink and stove that end with a bar that faces the rest of the market. In addition, she shares about 6 picnic-like tables with tablecloths with two other restaurants on either side of her. Her breakfasts and lunches (a fixed menu) both cost 3.5 soles (~$1) each and she typically sells 25 to 30 a day. From November to January, demand drops but it picks up again during the harvest times. She used to rent a stall on the first floor of the market for 80 soles a month but now rents one on the second floor for only 30 soles a month. With all her hard work, she makes 15 to 20 soles in profits a day. While we interviewed her, Juana gave us coffee and a lunch. She is a very sweet woman who, when asked what her dream was, said it was that I’d “take her with me in my pocket [she’s maybe 5 feet and I’m 6’5”].” A more serious response was that she hopes to one day move to Lima with her daughters who already live there. She has two daughters, both in university, who are studying to become a nurse and a clothing designer respectively. Every two weeks, she makes the seven-hour trip out to Lima to see them.