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Gregoria is a dedicated micro entrepreneur in the department of Choluteca. Gregoria produces and sells ¨golosinas¨ or popular snack foods, such as chicharron (pork rinds) and nuegados (fried yuca dumplings). Since receiving her first loan from Adelante over four years ago for L 2500 or $132, Gregoria has diversified her business to sell a greater variety of snacks and has invested in raising animals, especially pigs and chickens. Currently, Gregoria is paying off a loan for L 6 000 or $316, and plans to continue growing her business with Adelante, commenting, ¨It’s a big help, with every loan I am able to increase profits, which allows me to support my household.¨
Gregoria is a single mother and has six children, but three of her children are already independent and live apart in the same community. Gregoria is still responsible for her two youngest, ages 12 and 18 years old, but also has a son who shares a small house on her property with his wife and three young children. Thanks to the increased income earned from her micro enterprise, Gregoria’s 18 year old recently graduated from secondary school, and she intends to send her youngest next year. Gregoria has also made several improvements to her home over the years, but there are still renovations that need to be undertaken. She hopes to secure a Home Improvement Loan from Adelante in order to replace the roof and redo the kitchen. In addition to enhancing her family’s overall quality of life, Gregoria’s micro business enabled her to overcome great adversity when her property was flooded by the torrential rains that caused a state of emergency in Choluteca last October.
Gregoria and members of her assembly group live in a community that borders a lagoon near the Pacific Ocean. Last October, several days of torrential rains caused the lagoon to overflow, flooding the entire community. Adelante reported on the impacts of the relentless rains in Choluteca, noting that clients like Gregoria would be given extra time to make payments on their microloans. Remarkably, the women in Gregoria’s assembly group returned to their businesses as soon as the flood waters receded, requiring only a 15 day extension to get back on track with their loan payments. Gregoria accredits her ability to recover from the flooding disaster to the success of her small business, which allowed her to accumulate savings and afforded her income to rebuild and clean up.
Gregoria’s property flooded with over 4 feet of water from the lagoon, and her kitchen, which also serves as her snack preparation space, collapsed. She was fortunate to get her animals to a safe, dry location, but she and her family had to sleep in a shelter for two weeks. Each day they would return to check on their animals and belongings in order to prevent further damages. Gregoria’s daughter-in-law, who is also a client with Adelante and lives on the same land, explains, ¨Every year there is a little bit of flooding, but this year it was like nothing I had ever seen before… it’s especially dangerous for the animals because of the spreading of disease.¨ Maria Doris, another member of Gregoria’s assembly group, was not as lucky; she lost 41 chickens and 21 chicks to disease. Another client, an elderly woman named Marcos, opted to stay at her home rather than move to a shelter. She recounts, ¨I had to go out to the highway, waste deep in water, in order to collect food and medical supplies from relief efforts.
Amazingly, these resilient women in Choluteca bounced back from the damages they incurred and did not get behind on their loan payments. Gregoria, like many others in her assembly group, is thankful for her small business, which has provided her a stable source of income and thus the ability to recover so swiftly from the worst floods to have hit Honduras since Hurricane Mitch in 1998.