Friday, June 29, 2012

Microloans 100 Pounds at a Time: The Distribution Process through Pictures

Introduction by Ben Finan
Photo Journal by Natalie Clark
Photos by Lennie Zhu and Heather Farrell


May 23, the first day for the newly imported interns in the Honduran UMF office. As became a common occurrence, Patrick began talking coffee even before we walked through the door. We quickly learned the importance of proper fertilization, and the massive role that we would soon play in the distribution of microloans to our clients. 

Within the week, we would begin calculating qualifying loan amounts for clients and processing the nearly 200 requests for loans that we received from the twenty-three aldeas surrounding La Unión. By June 1, we had approved 171 clients for a total of 1156 bags of fertilizer. Personally, I had no idea that there were nine different types of fertilizer for coffee, let alone the exact names of them. 

By the following week, I had become intimately familiar with all of the bags, with five of us carrying each of the one hundred pound bags off of the delivery truck and into the warehouse that would become our new center of operation for the coming two weeks. In a blur, the countless names that the four interns had become so familiar with while processing the mountain of paperwork became living, breathing, inevitably smiling (and sometimes quite entertaining) clients sitting in our office, signing paperwork and loading their yearly supply of fertilizer into their pickup trucks. 

We watched them drive off, trucks buckling under the weight of the fertilizer, heading out to work on the coffee that we will soon enough begin to process at our beneficio and some of which we will purchase in six short months. Thus far, UMF has exhibited a forty percent increase in microloans from 2011, with more loans still to come. It has been a whirlwind of a week for the interns, but we are looking forward to more to come!

The pictures below follow the distribution process, capturing the intern experience and just some of the people and paperwork (there was a lot) involved. 


Photo by Lennie Zhu

Fertilizer loading and unloading is an all-hands-on-deck sort of process. Between the UMF staff, interns Ben and Dillon, and occasional paid hands at the rented warehouse, 1156 bags of fertilizer were unloaded from the semi-trucks and stacked in the warehouse. A certain rhythm developed, as one person would help the other flip the bag onto his back. Lennie and Natalie kept busy documenting the process with pictures and keeping count of inventory.


Photo by Lennie Zhu
After plenty of sweat, dirt, and an injury or two, the bodega (a warehouse) was filled. Seeing so many stacks of bags and knowing that each would have to be distributed and accounted for impressed upon us all the immensity of the task ahead of us over the next two weeks.

Photo by Heather Farrell

The first step of our fertilizer distribution process began in the office with computers and piles of paperwork. We had spent the past few weeks assembling our client’s paperwork and calculating loan approval amounts. Ben has become the master of the spreadsheets and is an integral component of the process, checking each farmer’s order request and qualified loan amounts against our inventory totals.

Photo by Heather Farrell

After checking totals on the computer, there is (of course) more paperwork. A libreta (a small booklet) is filled out for each client documenting this loan of fertilizer. The clients then bring their libretas with them to each loan meeting in order to track repayments and attendance through the twenty-three meetings over the next ten months. 

Photo by Heather Farrell


For those clients who are unable to sign their names, a fingerprint functions in its place. Literacy is an issue in many of the aldeas, with the average education level of our clients being completion of the third grade. Here the client displays his ID, presses a finger to the ink, and signs the paperwork via fingerprint. 

Photo by Heather Farrell


With paperwork complete, albeit temporarily, our clients pocket their libretas and drive their trucks across the street to the front door of our bodega where the fertilizer bags are stored.

Photo by Lennie Zhu

We take security seriously here in La Unión. The bodega is guarded by a huge, terrifying dog constrained by a thick chain during the day. There was a funny moment the first morning as Gilberto, one of UMF’s Honduran employees, growled and grabbed Lennie’s ankle. She screamed and jumped a foot. One thing is certain, nothing is getting past that dog. 

Photo by Lennie Zhu

Martir, one of UMF’s Field Officers, seems to be everywhere at once throughout the distribution process. Martir, Gilberto, and Pedro alternate helping to fill out loan paperwork with clients in the office, checking orders with them in the bodega, helping load fertilizer into trucks, and keeping tabs on our inventory totals. Here, Martir balances amidst the fertilizer stacks, recalculating inventory amounts. 

Photo by Heather Farrell

Reinaldo Mejia Hernandez, a fist year client from Gualciras, displays his libreta as his fertilizer order is loaded. Clients use their libretas to confirm their numbers with our paperwork, ensuring that they receive the appropriate type and quantity of fertilizer. 

Photo by Heather Farrell

Pedro Mejia, a prominent second year client and coffee producer from Gualciras, carries one of his bags of fertilizer to his truck. Everyone lends a hand loading fertilizer for the clients, as Natalie keeps track of inventory sheets, checking that the fertilizer leaving the bodega matches what is listed. 

Photo by Heather Farrell

After the fertilizer is loaded, Natalie confirms the fertilizer totals with each farmer, assuring that they receive exactly what was ordered, and finally the farmer signs to mark the order complete. 

Photo by Heather Farrell



Angel Hernandez, a second year client from Gualciras, puts on the finishing touches, packing down his fertilizer as he prepares to depart. With many a “que le vaya bien,” we wished him well on his way and watched as he drove off down the dusty dirt roads with a truck full of fertilizer and full of energy and enthusiasm for his coffee harvest. 





7 comments:

  1. Insurance can be in type of land, bonds, gold, car, stocks and so on... The rate of premium rate is same for the whole time of advance, which secures bank from vacillations in business sector. In any case, same can end up being disservice, as there may be drop in ROI however not permitting you to change to lower rate. Cash Advance

    ReplyDelete

  2. So, aback you accept a abundance of bills to pay one day and no acclaim band or banknote accessible for accomplishing it, accede accepting a payday loan. It is usually a acceptable advancement action for you. However be amenable with account to advantageous it off on time, otherwise, you will appointment big accuse and ability get the adhesive end of the stick. Recollect payday loans primarily in some cases of abrupt emergency, not whenever you feel like purchasing a new designer's clothing or jewelry.

    payday loans chicago

    ReplyDelete
  3. Yes, auto credits can help you get the auto you had always wanted speedy and simple. Be that as it may, it would be an insightful choice to go for an auto that is down to earth and reasonable one that addresses all your issues in an auto yet is likewise simple to pay back. In the event that you live on a shoestring spending plan, it's strange to go for a Mercedes Benz. You will most likely think twice about it later on. https://www.usacheckcashingstore.com/costa-mesa

    ReplyDelete
  4. There is no other preferred choice for you over this. Also, when you set off to purchase an auto with no credit at a purchase here pay here auto parcel or even private gathering, it is yet your initial move towards reconstructing your record of loan repayment. check cashing

    ReplyDelete
  5. Get together Bill 233 is a bill with the objective of understudy obligation alleviation as a primary concern. To place it in clear terms, this new bit of enactment tries to bar the usage of compensation garnishment orders on defaulted understudy advances which were not requested or ensured by the government of the United States. cash advance

    ReplyDelete
  6. Once the land proprietor or rich individual had secured a ship entry or bit of land for a person, that individual would then need to work off their obligation through the span of quite a while... shockingly, ordinarily the land proprietor was exceptionally exploitative and would significantly expand the obligation or would keep on adding arrangements to the obligation long after it had been reimbursed. payday loans

    ReplyDelete