Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Meet the Nicaraguan Staff

This post is written by Trent Shelton, PHPG's Program Coordinator for the Granada region.

PHPG is run by both Nicaraguan employees and by volunteers. The Nicaraguans are the heart and soul of the operations of the organization. From the loan collections in El Pantanal every Monday and Friday, to conducting potential loan client interviews, to doing quality of life evaluations, the team does it all. The team includes Juan Carlos, Juan Carlos Jr. (Juan Carlos's son), and Tatiana. Both Juan Carlos and Tatiana live in El Pantanal and are both well-known in the community. This is easy to see as we walk the loan collections route; most of the locals stop to say hi to either Juan Carlos or Tatiana. Having this local team from El Pantanal has great benefits for the organization.

The employees also have many benefits with the job. Not only are they giving back to their own community, but they have the chance to learn about micro-lending, business practices, accounting, and what it takes to be an entrepreneur. They get to see, up-close and personal, what is working and what is not working with many local businesses in their community. They also gain valuable work experience in a economic development organization.

Without further ado, here is our Nicaraguan team:

Juan Carlos Ruiz


Job Title: Head Loan Officer (full-time)

Lives in: El Pantanal, Granada, Nicaragua

Outside of PHPG: Runs a business out of his house in El Pantanal as a Big Cola distributor, selling gas tanks, and selling Movistar cell phone credit. 

Interesting Fact: Juan Carlos was drafted into the Nicaraguan national army during revolutionary war in 1983 at the young age of 17 years old, where he was based in the northern mountains near the border of Honduras. Juan Carlos has lived in El Pantanal for over 15 years but also used to work as a fisherman in Lake Nicaragua. 

Tatiana Arias Mondoy


Job Title: Loan Officer (part-time)

Lives in: El Pantanal, Granada, Nicaragua

Outside of PHPG: Works for La Esperanza Granada, a non-profit providing teachers and volunteers to local schools. Tatiana splits her time between teaching in schools and working in the Esperanza office. Tatiana is also studying Business Administration at the Hispanoamericana University (UHISPAM), attending classes on Saturdays. As if that wasn't enough, she also helps run her family's pulperia, a corner store selling everything from bread to laundry detergent.

Interesting Fact: Tatiana's mother, Ana Mercedes, is one of PHPG's loan clients and a perfect example of the type of client PHPG looks for. She has already completed two loans, using the money to invest in her pulperia. The loans have allowed her to buy inventory in bulk, giving her a cheaper purchase price which gives her a higher profit margin. She has also been able to purchase other types of products in her store which draws more customers. The cash flow from the loans have been critical in helping her grow her business. Ana Mercedes has used her family's increased earnings to make improvements on their house, including raising their roof 3 feet with bricks to provide better ventilation against the heat.

 Juan Carlos Ruiz Jr.


Job Title: Loan Officer (part-time)

Lives in: Masaya, Nicaragua

Outside of PHPG: Studies at Colegio Cristiano Restauracion (Christian Restoration High School) with a focus on pharmacy. 

Interesting Fact: Juan Carlos is already showing his entrepreneurial spirit, as he breeds and sells rabbits as pets. He currently has 8 rabbits used for breeding. He sells the baby rabbits to friends and family for $4 each. Juan Carlos makes the trip from Masaya to Granada to work for PHPG.

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