At 4 pm Carlos, Emily, Elizabeth, Anni and I pack into the car and head an hour east outside of Oaxaca to the small village of Díaz Ordaz. For the first time in two years, we are expanding outside of our first village, Teotitlán, and bringing our micro-lending program to a new village. Until now, En Vía has focused all of its energy into growing a successful micro-lending program in Teotitlán. The ability to expand outside of Teotiltán is an incredible step for us, and all of us are buzzing with the possibilities, the frustrations, and the unknown stories that are sure to unfold.
Our program, like in Teotitlán, is delivered by word of mouth around the community, and women of all ages and trades have made their way over on this sunny afternoon to the house of Wil Frida, a baker that hopes to buy a new fridge with her potential loan. Soon after we arrive, the house begins to fill up with enthusiastic women: a grandmother that sells atole (a traditional drink made of corn) and primarily speaks the local indigenous language of Zapoteco; a taco-making mother-of-two – loud and boisterous – is looking to take on the world; and a quiet young mother wishing to increase the variety of items in her small tienda. They are all here ready and willing to welcome change, and even though they are unsure of what’s ahead they seem unafraid of the challenge.
This Thursday we will take our first tour group to Díaz Ordaz, so we spend the evening running through the program with them one more time…
As we prepare for our first tour with Díaz Ordaz, we have many questions… What will this new town hold? Will the learning curve for understanding the loans be different? Will we make a positive impact? How will a smaller market and fewer opportunities for sales affect the borrowers? Will the women require more resources from us? How will we need to adjust or change our program to fit this town? With much to learn and many questions to be answered, we know it’s time to get started.
Our borrowers are ready, and we invite you to join us on our new adventure in Díaz Ordaz!
by Samantha Wattson – Volunteer, Program Manager