Lately, things have been quiet here at the Gringo house (Mike, Dan and Pat’s house/ UMF HQ). Yet, although we don’t have piles of loan applications and lists of fertilizer distributions piling up everywhere, lots of exciting stuff is going on around here.
This week is our third round of loan collection meetings and so far it seems our selection process has paid off. One of my daily jobs is to enter in all the loan repayments. Entering numbers into an excel sheet may sound like a boring task, and it usually can be rather tedious. However, it’s turned out to be kind of fun to follow the results of the daily village meetings. We selected farmers based on their need for a loan and their level of responsibility. So far, the farmers have come through and proven that they do take these loans seriously and are very responsible. Of the 118 farmers, we’ve had less than $3 in late interest- and all late interest has been paid in full by the next meeting. What’s even more encouraging than the on-time payments is that farmers have been paying early! Right now is a time when these impoverished farmers have the least money. For this reason, they are only expected to pay interest now and later. During the harvest when they have more money, they will pay the capital. Instead of waiting until harvesting season though, many farmers have started to pay off their capital early. One farmer paid six times as much was due.
We’re excited. It seems the farmers are excited and I hope you are all excited too about how successful the loan repayments have been. Let’s hope this is just the beginning of many successful loan cycles!
Just keeping you posted,