Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Presenting our new clients in Matagalpa

Last week we enlarged our list of clients in Matagalpa by a new group of four ladies. They call themselves “Omega” and their story describes well a hard reality of living in Nicaragua. Andrea, Ethel, Belkis and Dori all work at a local university, Unival, and have been sharing the same office for almost five years. Unfortunately even though they all have a steady job, their salaries are so low, that they have to look for other source of income outside the university in their free time. 
Andrea, Ethel, Belkis and Dori from "Omega"
Apart from working as administrative assistants Andrea, Belkis and Dori sell cosmetics to their relatives, friends and neighbors and Ethel opened a beauty salon business in her house where she works in the afternoons and Sundays as a hair stylist, make-up artist and manicurist at once. 

Friday, February 19, 2016

Do you like “raspado”?

Raspado/Shaved ice is a dessert that got its name from the Spanish word “raspar” which means “to scrape”.  In Nicaragua it is sold by street vendors who move around the city with their carts carrying a block of ice. They use an iron brush to scrape the ice and then they add flavored syrup preferred by a client – for example sweetened condensed milk. I know it is still winter in U.S. but here in Nicaragua we are dealing with incredibly warm weather. Raspado is the most refreshing thing you can get in Nicaragua that makes the heat little bit more bearable so let’s visit one of our clients who sells raspado!

Lesbia Guadalupe Rivas Morales, age 52, lives in Pantanal, Granada. She was one of PHPG´s first clients. She recently cancelled her third loan and is going throw an application process to get a new one. She wants to use the money to get her cart painted again because it starts to look old.  She herself can’t go to sell raspado, but she sends her adult kids. Selling raspado is their only family income. They have to keep walking with their cart around Granada whole day because Lesbia doesn’t have money to pay a fee for staying at one place - for example at the center of Granada where she could possibly sell more. Although Lesbia admits it is very hard to make enough money to support her whole family, she is at the same time grateful for being part of PHPG´s microlending program. She says that it has been a great help and without it she can’t even imagine her life.