Microcredit Loans  >  Interviews with our Borrowers
 Interviews with our Borrowers Minimize    
Edline Benjamin is 29 years old, married with two children from the chapel of Savane Rouge.  A self-taught entrepreneur, she has been receiving loans since she was 16.  Her first loan for $50 was to buy some rice, beans and soap to resell in the local markets.  She now sells a larger variety of goods in markets as far away as San Rafael (14 miles) and travels there by donkey which she bought with a $125 donkey loan.  With her profits she has also bought land, a goat, some chickens and a pig.  Two years ago she received a 3 year loan of $350 for a cow whose milk she sells at $2.50 a gallon.  The cow has recently had a baby (a male) which she plans to use in the future to plow for her, so that she and her husband can plant corn, a valuable commodity in Pignon.   She is so busy that she now occasionally hires someone to help her, thereby giving some needy person employment.  Her oldest child goes to the Catholic school in Pignon as it is “the best school”, and she can now afford it. 


Antoinette Gerbier from the Town has been blind since she was 13 and walks with a white stick, often accompanied by her 12 year old son.  Her husband died a long time ago and to support herself and her son she took her first loan for $50 nine years ago.  Her most recent loan was for $100.  Her loan provides her with enough capital to buy in bulk in the Saturday market ( soap, spaghetti, bread, rice, sweet potatoes and beans) and resell it for a small profit from in front of her home during the week.  Nowadays, her son goes to the market for her.


Mme Boutus Charles is married and has 5 children (3 are living) and 13 grandchildren.  She lives in the Town of Pignon and received her first loan for $75 in 1995, the first year that our program gave loans.  With the profit from 17 years of successive loans she has been able to build a house, send her children to school and afford to travel to Port au Prince and Cape Haitian to stockpile supplies to resell on the remote Grande Plateau towns surrounding Pignon.  She sells whatever is in season.  “I used to be a farmer, but that work is now too difficult for me, and so I sell in the markets and have a small depot in back of my home,” said Mrs. Charles.  Asked to what she owes her success, she pointed out, “I have 2 hands and a head to think, and I know how to do business.  For example, I know to dry corn before storing it.”


Mme Gladys Nicola lives in the town and has 8 children and a husband.  She received her first loan in 1995 for $25. She has had many loans including a donkey loan for transportation.  Her most recent loan was for $350 for an ox.  Her present business is “alcohol”.  She buys sugar cane in Savanette which her ox grinds into “sirop”.  She then takes the “sirop” to a distillery in her ox cart where she pays to have it turned into “clarien” (a powerful local alcohol drink),  which she takes to Port au Prince where it is made into the famous Haitian rum, Barrancourt.  A barrel of distilled “sirop” worth $62 can be sold in PAP for $250.  When asked to what she attributes her success, she remarked, “Everybody’s different, but in my case, I had no one to lean on, so I have had to make it work.”


Venold Toussaint, the delegate from Savane Rouge to our microcredit committee, has a wife, 2 children, 12 and 13, and a baby on the way.  His children, Franzi and Venande, walk 2 miles to school and back each day, so they can go to a good school.  We have known the enterprising Venold for 15 years as he built up the chapel of Savane Rouge, first advocating for a chapel and then a grammar school which meets in the chapel, and more recently organizing their microcredit program for 429 people.   He has had three loans for $100, $250 and $450, and a donkey loan for $125 which he has paid off.  With the donkey he walks 20 kilometers once a week to buy beans which his wife resells at the Saturday market.  He has paid to have his donkey bred, and now has a second donkey.   His ox, from a 4 ½ year oxen loan, he rents out to farmers to plow their fields.  In his side yard, he is experimenting with a nursery for trees.  He knows deforestation is one of Haiti’s most serious problems.   What would he like most, we asked him. “I would like a class for delegates so that they can learn something about how they can help other people,” said Venold, and then he also asked for some help with a school sponsorship for his youngest child.  We promised to take care of it.


Elifide Dorsenville is from Savanette.  She has 4 children who go to the Baptist Pastor Caleb’s school.  Her business in Pignon is selling kitchenware.  Every week she buys vegetables in Pignon, then takes a bus to Port au Prince (PAP) and sells the vegetables in the market there.  With the money she takes in, she buys kitchen ware which she takes back to Pignon to sell at the market in Pignon.   In December she does this every other day because of the holiday season.  It takes 2 or 3 hours on the bus each way.  She received her first loan in 1996 and she pays back a quarter plus interest every three months.  Her first loan was small for $50, but now she has bigger loans, and she is able to send her children to school. Along the way she got a donkey loan and recently an oxen loan.  Now she is able to grind her own sugar cane and not hire an ox to do it.  It is much more profitable this way.  Right now she has 10 barrels of syrup ready to sell to the local depot that takes it to PAP for her.  When asked to what she attributes her success she said, it depends on what kind of person you are.  Everyone is different, but you have to be intelligent and not spend the loan on something else.  Also, she has a lot of encouragement from her family.   She says she now has her own house; she used to live with her mother.  She said please be patient with us.   “People have to love each other”.
Adeline Saintvil – is from Fontaine.  She has had 4 loans since 2009 for charcoal.  She buys the charcoal and on Sunday takes it to the depot in Pignon where the bus driver picks it up and takes it to a depot in Port au Prince (PAP).  On Mondays she takes the bus to the depot in PAP and sells the charcoal on Monday, Tuesday and  Wednesday and then she comes back to PAP.  I asked her where she stays in PAP, and she said in the Depot.   Evidently they have rooms for the rural merchants.  She is happy that she makes enough money to send her son to kindergarten and to pay her bills. Her husband died.  When asked to what she attributes her success she said that she has a good business sense that some other persons don’t.  She is the mother of a group of five who all pay her two days before the money is due, and she gives it to Berteau (the Microcredit Manager) immediately.   “People should help each other out”, she says.  “If one of the group of 5 are in trouble, we try to help out.”


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