Carmen owns a Colmado. This is a shop where she sells such commodities as colored candles, bread, chips, sweets, cherries, gum, spices, matches, and chocolate cake by the slice, and other goods like rice, beans, oil, sugar flour, etc. A friend told her about microfinance, and how she could get a loan to invest in her business. Carmen got her first loan to buy more goods and improve her inventory. Now, after 7 years as an Esperanza client, she is receiving her 9th loan. She is married and has five older children.
This Esperanza associate is an example of the dedication and effort that is possible to progress and improve oneself, her family and others. Her story is representative of her group and of Esperanza's Haitian and Dominican clients (many of whom recently emigrated to the DR from Haiti). The rural area surrounding Hato Mayor, is an agricultural area. This area, like nearly all impoverished areas of the Dominican Republic, suffers from unreliable electricity and running water (none of which is potable).