A loan of $1,600 helped to purchase tools and work equipment.

Ramon Bartolome's story

Ramón is a man of advanced age; he is 63 years old and nostalgically remembers his childhood with his family, when he was able to complete primary school. He is married to Bella, who is 59 years old and works selling cosmetics from catalogs. Together, they have shared the joy of watching their son—now an independent adult with his own family—grow up. Ramón lives with his wife in the Río Verde parish of Santo Domingo, a city in Ecuador that has become one of the most important inland commercial hubs, as it is where the coastal and mountain regions of the country meet. As such, it is where a wide variety of different kinds of products are exchanged, from tropical fruits to fresh seafood brought from the ocean. Because of this opportunity that the city has, many families have gone out and earned a living through small businesses within different industries such as fishing, banana farming, manufacturing, agriculture, and livestock production. In addition, they take advantage of the flow of national and international tourists to develop the tourism industry with extreme sports and treks to landscapes of incomparable natural beauty.

Ramón is is part of this group of enterprising families, as he inherited his family's hardworking spirit. In addition, a friend taught him the business of selling fish, which he has done for 24 years; he had to work starting from childhood to contribute to household expenses. This young-at-heart man invests eight hours of his daily life to selling his product. At dawn he goes to the ports to get the fresh fish to take it immediately and with the necessary hygienic measures to his sales stall, located in his house. As one might expect, he sells all the fish each day; otherwise, it must be frozen at extremely low-temperature so that nothing spoils. Now Ramón needs a loan that will help him to acquire work tools and equipment to keep his assets in good conditions. Then he will be able to store more product and buy a variety of fish at a greater discount in order to offer his customers a more competitive price. That will generate greater profits, which he can put into savings to provide for the health and living expenses of his golden years with his wife.

Ramón is grateful for every grain of sand that is contributed from any part of the world through Kiva so that he can grow his business, because despite his age, nothing has stopped him from striving every day in his work. He is also grateful to Fundación Alternativa, from whom he has received support, trust, and flexibility—which are lacking in many financial institutions—to increase his working capital.

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Translated from Spanish by Kiva volunteer Holly Torpey

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