Petrona M. C. is 28 and earns her living by buying new clothes in the nearest major city and selling them in the local market in her small town. In December when the workers return from the United States to see their family she also buys and sells fruit, since there are many people in the town with money to spend. She knows that the many people returning home miss the wonderful fresh fruits grown in the fertile lands of Guatemala. She will use this loan to buy inventory to restock her stall in the lowlands of Guatemala. Early this year Petrona's husband died after an 8-month-long serious illness during which he could not work. She somehow managed to take care of him and their 5 young children. It has been a very hard struggle. At the end of the day she has very little energy left after tending her business and taking care of her children. The older three are in school for now but she worries she can not afford the cost of schooling for all five. They wear used clothes or "American clothing", hand-me-downs from the US sold here in the markets, but they are clean and well mended. She does the best she can with the help of her sister and her strong faith. She also gets emotional support from her Friendship Bridge women’s group named "Luz en el Desierto" or “light in the desert” Currently Petrona's dream is to make it through another day and heal from recent the death of her young husband. She has says she has to fight the fight for the kids. She is putting her life back together bit by bit. The help from Friendship Bridge is essential to her survival.
About Friendship Bridge
This loan is administered by Friendship Bridge (FB), a nonprofit, nongovernmental organization that empowers thousands of impoverished Guatemalan women through its Microcredit Plus program. The program combines small loans averaging US$350 for four-to-twelve month loan terms with non-formal, participatory education.
As FB clients, women start, expand, or diversify their businesses and learn practical lessons on topics including business, health, and self-esteem. FB’s clients borrow as a group, forming Trust Banks (groups of 7-25 women who serve as co-guarantors of the loan and act as a self-regulating support network).