Thursday, August 13, 2009

Business Problems

So I have water and the week has gotten better, just as I had expected.

Desiree and Brad are in full action here. Desiree has been going out with Tula, our health nurse/facilitator, to visit our families in the countryside and do in-house interviews. Brad is hanging out with me and we have been visiting women's businesses and doing informal interviews to get an idea of their business problems and struggles to help us form our business workshops for next week.

I have been surprised to learn about the struggles of some of our women. Charo, who operates a small sewing business out of her living room, has recently decided to stop her sewing business and buy clothes from the Coast and sell them here in Cajamarca. People in Cajamarca won't pay the higher price for a better finish that she can offer. She can make more profit if she actually buys the clothes already made than buying material (more exensive in Cajamarca) here and making the clothes herself. She loves sewing and I was shocked to learn this and a little sad for her. However, she doesn't have enough capital to buy the amount of clothes she needs/wants to start her business and rent a space. She makes jewelry with her girls in the meantime to have some little income.

Then we visited Lizeth while there was a jewelry class going on in her patio. Lizeth has a small little tienda with limited things. Her problem is that she doesn't always have cash on hand to buy merchandise and she buys a lot of things on credit. Her customers will come looking for something in her store and she doesn't have it. So they go elsewhere. She loses businesses. Plus, she has a little two year old that takes crackers and lollipops from her store and eats away all her earned income.

Finally, we visited Nancy. She makes fried chicken in the afternoon. She wants to buy a big stove to be able to produce more chicken and she has been saving for it. However, an emergency comes up and all her business savings for the stove go into emergency hospital bills, house repairs, etc.... Her house last was destroyed and currently Nancy lives above her fried chicken business in a little room made out of scrap pieces of metal and plastic. It would break your heart to see it.

These are just some of the issues. There are also the reoccuring themes of husbands out of work, never-ending debt and children's school and household costs exceeding income gains. Life is hard.

So that is the mid-weekly update. Paz ~ Nora

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