Yordan is a 35-year-old Roma living in Sliven, Bulgaria. For the last 10 years, Yordan has supported his wife and two children (aged 14 and 17) by his work with walnuts. Yordan drives around Bulgaria buying walnuts in their shells by the sack. Upon his return to Sliven, he weighs the sacks and gives each to one of his independent contractors. The contractor removes the walnuts from their shells and returns the shelled walnuts to Yordan. Weighing the sacks before their distribution lets Yordan know approximately how many kilos of shelled nuts should be returned, to prevent his contractors from siphoning off his nuts. Yordan provides work for approx 50 people for 5 days when he brings in a load of nuts to be shelled. Yordan then sells his walnuts at the major nut markets in Sofia and Burgas.
Currently, Yordan can afford to buy 2,000BGN (1,300USD) worth of walnuts at a time, which he sells 10 days later for 2,500BGN (1,625USD). After salaries and expenses (gas for his van to drive around Bulgaria buying and selling the nuts), Yordan nets approximately 200BGN (130USD), which he can do every two weeks or so. This loan will give him the capital to increase the amount of nuts he can buy at a time (nearly double), employing more people in the Roma ghetto of Sliven.
The Roma, commonly referred to as gypsies, is a severely marginalized social group in the Balkans.