Monday, July 20, 2015


St John's University GLOBE Student Fellow, Chinyere Ukaegbu shares her thoughts after visiting PHPG in Matagalpa.

Today's adventure was especially gratifying (and that's an understatement). We met with an amazing non-profit called People Helping People Global. Though they have a couple of locations where they operate here in Nicaragua, we visited their base in Matagalpa. Before getting into the intricacies of the visit, let me begin by offering the cultural scene of Matagalpa. Lined by beautifully painted edifices, Matagalpa stands as this magical, mountainous town who's hilly ups and downs are similar to Montparnasse in Paris. People with joy in their eyes were sprinkled across the streets. Everyone from school girls to men buying food stuffs from pulperias said hola to us as we smiled. But unlike Paris, I felt a strong sense of community in Matagalpa.

We met with two representatives from PHPG: Berly and Martha. From our conversation, we learned a great deal about their organization and even developed some ideas for GLOBE based on what we heard. They explained to us that they give micro loans out with 0% interest because they are all about helping the people (hence their name). I paralleled this with GLOBE because we have very low interest rates and the interest we do collect goes back into helping the communities in which we serve. They also explained to us some of their methods, like checking receipts of borrowers for accountability, that could be used by GLOBE. But the most fascinating tactic they used was their training programs. They provided business training and psychological training (I.e. Counseling). This was especially important because it shows the holistic approach helping a community help themselves. Perhaps GLOBE could provide training and even incentives our borrowers to train other borrowers once they master their successful businesses.

Speaking of businesses, it was also a joy to visit the borrowers from PHPG and see them breaking the cycle of poverty. One borrower, 
Irene, stood out. She makes and sells tortillas (that are delicious might I add) and the loan that PHPG provided allowed her to expand by employing a helper. Now the over 500 tortillas that she makes on a interesting makeshift, firewood stove become a little less of a burden. It was a joy speaking with her and learning how she make the tortillas. I was at awe at how hard she worked. Waking up at 3 in the morning daily to start her work, she was the epitome of hard work and dedication. It made me reflect on my life and how much I have compared to her one room home filled with 5 children. Humbled, I smiled as she stood strong and proud of the tortillas she handed is to eat. 

Until next time,

Chinyere U

This blog was originally posted on GLOBE Student Fellow's site, here.

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