I had signed up for a tour by En Vía to its new locale, Diaz Ordáz. We were three women: Cynthia from the US, Junko from Japan, and myself. All of us had already spent some time in Mexico and weren’t new to the idea of microfinancing, but none of us had ever been to this little town. We were going to meet the women who had requested loans and hear their business proposals.
|Our tour group of Cynthia, me and Junko with
prospective borrower Estella and her son
Even in April, it was already hot at 10 a.m. when we got to the house of the first prospective borrower, Estella. Mother of a nine-year-old son who stood shyly in the doorway, she told us that she had learned to embroider last year in a state-run course and now made napkin and tortilla basket covers to sell locally. She buys the printed cloths and thread at a close by market, Tlacalulo, and thus far she makes a profit margin of just a few pesos per napkin, but is she excited to be creating her own income for her family.
|Raquel making bread in her family’s bakery.|
|Evailda with her son and husband, discussing
plans to sell chickens.
Then we were solemnly invited to drink hot chocolate (a local specialty) and sweet bread at a large home gathering, which turned out to be a funeral reception for Evailda’s mother. We ate, drank and had a long conversation about the burial customs overlaid by Spanish conquistadors on the indigenous culture. We were strangers made friends, welcomed into the open arms of a grieving community.