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A loan of $800 helped to purchase 4 washing machines in order to increase his weekend rentals.

Humberto's story

In a neighborhood very close to the industrial area of Barranquilla, where there is a great festival in the period of Carnaval, lives Señor Humberto Pabón. Humberto is a very hard working man who is such a business expert that he has been able, through his business activities, to acquire 2 houses. At his 74 years, he has 14 children between the ages of 18 and 44.
Humberto makes his living renting washing machines. His business is a product of his long-time enterprising capacity that began in the year 1972 when he starting selling merchandise in Maicao, a town in the Department of Guajira, in the north of Colombia. At that time, he had a shop in a mall. He closed it when it was affected by the devaluation of the Bolívar, the currency of his country, which borders Venezuela. Because he lost a good part of his capital with that initial business, he persisted in opening a restaurant in the location where he had sold merchandise. It lasted 3 years. But since he didn't fulfill his expectations, he moved to Barranquilla and started his washing machine rental service.
In the beginning, he had only 2 washing machines to offer as rentals in the community, but he expanded to serve more than 5 nearby neighborhoods. Humberto tends to bring his machines to whomever requests his service by himself in a hand truck. He transfers them very carefully, which is why they are still in good condition. Likewise, because he is very organized and responsible with his customers, his business constantly flows. He has 16 regular customers. Offering this service is his only source of income. He says that his business has been a great blessing for him since it allows him to clear all his expenses and to live comfortably in his improved his dwellings. He is a hardworking and honest man. He enjoys great success with his customers from the different neighborhoods where he offers his services.
He was punctual with the re-payment of his previous loan. He is currently requesting a second loan from Fundación Mario Santo Domingo in the amount of $1.500.000 COP ($800 USD). With this financing he is going to purchase 4 more washing machines. The ones he has are insufficient to meet the demand, especially on the weekends when housewives have their day off and spend their time taking care of this chore, which is left undone from their work days.
Through his first loan, he was able to add more machines and gradually increase his earnings. His goal is to have additional capital available to him so that he can start selling merchandise again. This is an activity in which he has experience, and he would use the housewives he currently rents to as his main niche market for this new business.

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Translated from Spanish by Kiva volunteer Marni Siegal

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