Had a great visit to some Banco FINCA Ecuador clients yesterday in Otavalo, a beautiful town in Northern Ecuador. We met at the house/factory of one of the clients who produced panchos and other woolen goods. When our host first started working with FINCA nine years ago, she employed only a few family members to help out. Her first loan was for $400, which she used to buy raw wool, sheared from sheep grazing on the slopes of the spectacular mountains overlooking the town. Today, she employs three full time people, and is borrowing $2,600. She produces 7 panchos per day, which she sells wholesale for $30 a piece and retail for $35. It’s great to see microfinance working as it should, creating jobs and helping people to a better life.
She treated us to a demonstration of the entire process she follows in producing a pancho, which begins with her producing a single strand of white yarn, followed by braiding it to another strand, and then boiling and dying the yarn, and finally weaving it into the finished product on a handloom, operated by one of her employees. I will put up a video of the process later this week.
It’s off now to a fun day buried in a windowless conference room where we will hold our Audit Committee! Want to join? No?