A loan of $800 helped to buy clothes for which she has orders and cylinders of gas to supply restaurants.

Maria Ester's story

María Blanquécet lives in Cartagena. She makes 'chicha' (a soft drink made from corn) and soft drinks in general. She also sells various merchandise and cylinders of gas which she provides to restaurants and housewives. María started out selling various merchandise such as clothes and costume jewelry which she currently sells directly. She also makes 'chicha' which she distributes through two people who sell her product in all the surrounding districts in Nelson Mandela neighborhood of the city of Cartagena where she lives with her husband and four children aged 19 to 30.

María is very much aware of opportunities and as she saw that natural gas doesn't reach these areas, she started selling cylinders of gas so that when housewives find this product, which they use every day, has run out (a cylinder lasts about a month), they come to her to buy more. They bring empty cylinders and María gives them full ones. In this way, the housewives don't have to stop preparing meals for their families. She also supplies small restaurants and fast food places who already know of her business.

This is María's fifteenth loan from Fundación Mario Santo Domingo and she will use her Kiva loan to buy merchandise for which she has orders from her customers in this end-of-year season and also cylinders of gas because, as is the case every year, during this season they are in short supply since Christmas parties mean that a lot of food is prepared. She has many orders which restaurants have already made with her in advance.

Since she joined our organization, María has managed to use her loans to increase her work and responsibility and to buy her own house since the one she lived in before was rented. She now dreams of improving her home, providing it with better building materials. She also has a future goal of opening a soft drinks store to make more income although she still doesn't have the working capital that this requires and she will need to work to achieve it.

Translated from Spanish by Kiva volunteer Linda Oxnard

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