Friday, August 20, 2010

Meet Hope

I can't even begin to tell you how excited and proud I am. Today was the start of the 2nd loan cycle for Strength and Blessings. They elected a new Directive to lead them in their 2nd loan cycle. So, new secretary, new treasurer and new president. The new Directive will be fabulous, I just know it, but I am especially excited about the new president. Her name is Esperanza (translated from Spanish is Hope) and she is dynamic. You can not miss her laugh and her energy when you are in the same room as her. She jokes and motivates. She pushes her fellow loan recipients, "Neighbor, you can work with more money. I know you. You are a hard worker. Take out s/600 in your loan, invest it and you will make more. s/400 is nothing for you."
Esperanza is special not only because of her incredible spark, but also because she has been a dedicated literacy student these past 3 months. Esperanza never finished elementary school so when her village bank formed and she had the opportunity to attend literacy classes in her community she signed up. She has learned how to write her name and basic numbers. This month she started her 2nd literacy cycle, together with her loan cycle.

Strength and Blessings is one of our village banks that is located in the countryside. As I got on the combi to head to the countryside this morning I spotted Esperanza. We rode together to the village bank meeting. We stopped in the dirt road next to the river bridge to walk the rest of the way together. Esperanza had two big heavy (30 lbs.?) bins filled with "dirty water" (pig food, but often called agua sucia here in Peru, easier to say than restaurant leftovers) She travels into the city daily to gather 2-4 dirty water bins for her pregnant pigs. Together her two pigs consume at least 2 full bins of dirty water daily. They will give birth soon and soon she will need to increase their food availability so that the piglets grow big and strong and ready for market. Since her husband works and her kids are little, she doesn't have anyone to help her. She travels daily, sometimes waiting long hours for a combi that will take her and her bins close to home. Not all combi drivers want to take her bins on their short-of-space minivan. Sometimes they charge her 50 cents a bin, and that is after she pays s/3 a bin for the restaurant leftovers. Esperanza carrys these heavy bins on her back, daily. I couldn't even lift one.

So, these are just a few reasons why I think Esperanza will make a great president. Yeah for Hope!

Paz ~ Nora

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