Día 68, 10/9/2010
This has been an intense week, doing lots of traveling in lots of vehicles to meet and talk to a sample of clients within Kiva´s program. Although Eastern El Salvador is pretty small, it´s transportation options are a little less developed, and it can take a while and a lot of trouble to get around. Every day on my way home I think about what I´ve done over the last four years, and sometimes it´s hard to reconcile the memory with the current reality, spending the day with people who work incredibly hard and have an incredible responsibility to sustain others around them, regardless if they´re 18, 35, or 60. No one ever complains, and the creativity required to get things done is many times really really impressive. These were two of my favorite new friends –
Veronica lives in a super fun and isolated community, and has been raising chickens in her parent´s back yard for three years. She´s 19, and lives with her boyfriend, two-year old son, 299 nice chickens, and one mean chicken. From starting with three hens, to selling eggs to her neighbors, to now having a big enough pen that she can sell defeathered chickens for cooking every week and still maintain her “flock.” Veronica´s business had been so successful that she´s been able to involve family members in need of work, and it´s growing more and more all the time.
Maria lives outside of Gotera, and the only access to her house is on a road with a bridge that often floods in the wintertime. She makes comales, big clay griddles that everybody uses to cook everything, and is an expert comale-crafter. Wintertime (rainy season, now) is tough for her business. Besides problems with the bridge and transportation, the comales dry in the sun, and there hasn´t been very much sun for a while. Maria dries her griddles in a large wood-fired oven sometimes, but this makes them a lot more likely to break, and uses up a ton of firewood. But Maria is working on some solutions, including building up extra inventory in a storehouse during the dry season, and is making due as best she can with the stormy weather.