Couldn’t stop crying
Meet Remedias Mendez. She lives at the end of a windy muddy path in a maze of huts in among the fertile rice paddies of the province of Nueva Cija. She welcomes us to the “shed” where she lives, with fresh coconuts and fried bananas. It has a corrugated iron roof and chickens run around, and it is clear that despite her modest surroundings, she takes pride in her home. The space where we sit has no walls, but there is a tablecloth with some fresh picked flowers on it.
With a micro-loan of 5000 pesos ($125), Remedias started a business selling pressed meats from her bicycle. She bought some pigs (with a pen as part of her living structure0 and now has two breeding sows and a healthy income. She sent her children to school.
Get this: Her oldest daughter just graduated from Ohio State University in the US, Magna Cum Laude in Computer Science and Maths. Power of education!
Meet the Kalasag Onion Co-op. Once, “poor simple farmers”, these entrepreneurial hard working knockabout lads got production loans to build their co-op farmers enterprise.
I couldn’t stop crying when I heard their story. Or maybe it was that they are now producing 200 metric tonnes of onions, sold exclusively to Jollibee (Filippino McDonalds).
Meet the rice farmers of the awesomely named Salvacion 2 village. We were guests at a community meeting in a thatch hut where they prayed, had bible inspiration, testimonies and stories all in Tagalog.
Their loans allowed them to start small businesses, send their children to school, make improvements to their homes. Hanging out with these guys is “fun”. They are very funny people who love to laugh and rib each other. They have a joy of life and of each other and a sincere faith which I find invigorating.
Tomorrow we fly on a small plane to the island of Panay to visit microloan clients in Iloilo.
Prayers?: Small plane to Filipino island. What do you think?