A loan of $1,100 helped to buy soft-drinks, water, juice and foodstuffs.

Lelia Orfelia's story

The “María Auxiliadora” communal bank meets every two weeks in La Sequita Parish in Montecristi, a canton known for the famous straw hats that are highly regarded both within the country and abroad.

We met Leila, 72, here. She’s been separated for several years but she had 7 children who are all now independent adults. She’s been in the communal bank since the beginning and likes it because her fellow members are like family to her because they are always there when she needs them.

Several years ago she opened a small pub at home where she sells water, soft-drinks, energy drinks, ice and beer, among other beverages. She’s currently also making turnovers and “corviches” [Dough made from grated plantain, deep fried and stuffed with spicy fish or minced meat, topped with salad, mayo, chili] to sell along with her other products. She takes advantage of the fact that folks interested in playing sports gather in front of her house every day because there are soccer fields and volleyball courts there. She also makes delicious fruit ice-cream and has been in business more than ten years.

She is repeating the loan and will use it to buy soft-drinks, water, juice and other foodstuffs to make her food. She tells us that the loans have made it possible for her go get ahead by herself and that thanks to them whenever she needs something she doesn’t have to go ask anyone for help but can use her profits to cover expenses. She was also able to use her previous loan to sell turnovers and corviches besides beverages which produces additional income that suits her quite well.

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Translated from Spanish by Kiva volunteer Polliz

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