A loan of $1,000 helped to buy a dairy cow.

Danny Villalobos's story

Danny Villalobos R. is 31 years old. He lives in his own house with his wife. They do not have children yet. His family has had cattle for many years, for both milk production and meat production. He has followed the same path and now has a farm that helps him to get ahead.

The community where Danny lives is called El Sauce de Santa Teresita de Turrialba. It is a small, rural town of two thousand inhabitants. The people of the town work in milk production and coffee farming. The topography is hilly and most of the area is maintained as tropical rainforest. The town has very picturesque landscapes that combine the tropical forest with pretty ponds, coffee plantations, and dairies. El Sauce is located approximately one and a half hours by bus from Turrialba, the closest center of commerce. Even so, several times a year the road becomes impassible because of the rains. This is, without a doubt, one of the biggest challenges for the community. When there weren’t many jobs, many people chose to leave to look for work in Turrialba or in banana plantations located on the Atlantic coast of Costa Rica. Lately the prices of coffee and milk have improved, so now people from the area are looking for ways to invest in projects there. Two years ago a cheese processing plant was started by the Milk Producers Association of El Sauce. Because of this, for the past two years Danny has been specializing in producing milk that he then sells to the cheese factory.

The cheese from the region where Danny lives is famous throughout Costa Rica. It is a fresh cheese that is traditionally known as “Turriabla Cheese.” Ticos (a nick-name for the people Costa Rica) like to buy Turrialba cheese to eat it at breakfast, along with tortillas, rice, beans, and eggs. This is why the market for the milk that Danny sells, which is then made into cheese, is very good.

Danny hopes to obtain a micro-loan to buy another dairy cow so that he can increase the milk production. He knows that having another cow is a big sacrifice and will require more work, but he says that if he wants to help his family get ahead, he’ll have to work hard to produce more. Danny says he will take out this loan to improve the quality of life for his wife and himself right now; if the years pass and there are children, he hopes they will have a better quality of life and maybe they can have the opportunity to study that he didn’t have.

Currently, Danny milks by hand in a small wooden shed that he set up as a milking room. If his production increases, he hopes to construct a better building and then, in a few years, be able to buy a milking machine. He would also like to improve his pasture with varieties of grass that are better suited to milk production and in this way have a farm that will allow him to produce more.

Danny is a client of the Producers Association of El Sauce, a local partner organization of the microfinance organization EDESA. Because of his ties to this organization, he has received 5 micro-loans and he has repaid them satisfactorily. The amounts have increased from US$300.00, to US$430.00, to US$500.00, to US$600.00, and to $700.00. Danny now needs a loan of $1,000.00 to buy his dairy cow.

Translated from Spanish by Kiva volunteer Jennifer Day

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