A loan of $1,175 helped a member to buy ingredients to make obleas (round sweets made with two thin, wafer-like sheets with filling between them).

Geranios (Flat) Group's story

GRUPO GERANIOS (FLAT) is located in Amilcingo. Amilcingo is in Temoac municipality (in the state of Morelos). It’s population is 3195 and is at an altitude of 1500 meters. The meaning of the word “Temoac”, which is the municipal head, is “Place where the water comes down from.” Temoac, “bujak” from the heights “water” and from ko, the adverbial form of “place” which means “in lower water” since the teocalli (a pyramidal mound on which the Aztecs celebrated their sacrifices) that possibly exited where there is now a Catholic church was on a hilltop. Other localities near Amilcingo: Campo Santa Lucia, el Puente Nuevo, Huazulco. Well, on this occasion we will speak of the GERANIOS (FLAT) group which is made up of four persons: ROCIO HUMBERTA R. N., EDITH R. F., CELIA F. R., and CLARA ANTONIA R. R.. We will now speak of Mrs. Rocio R. N.. She is from Amilcingo and is 24 years old. She, like so many others, does not know the meaning of her name. She finished third grade at GENERAL EMILIANO ZAPATA elementary school. The funds requested from Fundacion Realidad will be used to buy sacks of flour, paint, plastic bags, cooking oil, adhesive tape, sandpaper to make obleas (round sweets made with two thin, wafer-like sheets with filling between them). She and her companions learned that Fundacion Realidad offers group loans to groups with few members at the beginning and that they charge affordable interest rates and have easy payment plans. They decided to participate because they liked the way they would work with the methodology of the fundacion and because the qualifying requirements are few. That’s what they told us. Rocio is the most enthusiastic group member. Her mother-in-law, Clarita, is a senior citizen and she’s very serious, by the way; she sells peanuts and pottery. Celia, who is the most talkative of the group, has a snack stand and Edith also makes obleas. They believe that the help they get will allow them to see their businesses progress. Rocio in interested in staying the longest because she wants to buy another oblea-making machine so that her production will increase. She makes obleas, which are a typical sweet of this region besides the palanquetas (a type of brittle) which are also made in this region. Obleas can be filled with pumpkin seeds in honey or plain. By the way, they are delicious! Rocio shares with us her method of preparing her oblea mixture: First, she pours water into a 19 liter container. She adds two small buckets of flour. The flour and water are mixed for about 10 minutes and the coloring (two tablespoons) is added. Finally, she adds about 2ml. of cooking oil and she leaves it mixing for 20 more minutes. Then, when the temperature (of the oblea maker – similar to a waffle iron) reaches 30 degrees she places a large spoonful of the mixed dough. The mold is closed for 2 or 3 minutes maximum and the cooked oblea sheet is ready. They continue this way until a sufficient number of obleas to fill several bags has been produced. (More or less they make about 10 bags in 5 hours because their machine has 4 molds available.) Her business doesn’t have a name because her locality is well-known for making this particular sweet; she has had this business for 3 years. She learned this skill when she was 16 years old. She worked for some neighbors on her street that had the same kind of business and she was inspired to open her own business. She married LUIS ALBERTO R. R., who used to be a police officer. However, when he saw that his wife couldn’t cope with her work alone, he joined her and together they run the microenterprise that his wife started. Their factory is located in their own home because they haven’t been able to buy or lease a place that they can equip as a factory. However, he took on the task of conditioning a room in his home from which to work. It is very important for her to see her business succeed because it is their source of income and they have been able to do well with their sales. She is very proud that she has been able to do well with it and that it provides for her family’s well-being. She is proud to have been able to purchase her machine, which is her primary work tool, to produce her merchandise. Every week she provides two buyers that take 50 bags each full of obleas of different colors. Her greatest challenge is that most of the inhabitants of her locality are involved in the production of this very same sweet and because electricity costs are very high. To make matters worse, there is only one electric transformer on her street and it often shorts out. Rocio thinks it’s necessary to install another one so that there will be enough electric power for everyone. In addition, prices of her raw materials have risen. She would like to grow more, have a good supply of raw materials. They need their profits not only to reinvest into the business but also to buy the food they eat and their clothing. She would also like to have a larger space so that she can get newer machinery and that the fundacion continue to support her with loans to increase her production. She has two sons: the elder is LUIS ANTONIO R. R. and is in first grade, and the youngest, whom they call Lupillo, is JOSE GUADALUPE R. R. and is in pre-school. He is very little but very restless. Also living with her are her mother-in-law, who is also a group member, her father-in-law, and her sister-in-law, who is studying to be a teacher. Rocio’s hope for the future is to provide her children a quality of life better than the one she had and to provide them with enough education since she was unable to continue with her schooling. She is happy with this financing because they don’t charge high interest rates and she already saw that the fundacion does, in fact, help out with loans. She feels proud, but nervous at the same time, because now everyone will know who Rocio R. N. is and what she does. She is grateful too to Fundacion Realidad for the support it gives by granting the loans. In her own words she says: “THANK YOU FOR THE SUPPORT YOU HAVE GIVEN US. WE WILL FULFILL OUR OBLIGATIONS WITH THE REPAYMENTS. WE WILL NOT LET YOU DOWN.”

In this group: Rocio Humberta, Clara Antonia, Celia , Edith

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Translated from Spanish by Kiva volunteer Polliz

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