When I went to visit loan applicants in Kabugwason, the home of Michelle (26) was the last in a row of houses and it gave a good impression. It is on the upper side of a slope near the river bank. The bamboo walls were neatly arranged, her kitchen had a long clean counter made of bamboo and her native cooking stove was well maintained. There was a blanket of round leafed grass at the front, and a huge mango tree in the yard with a bamboo table and chairs under the shade. It was clean, cool, and peaceful.
Michelle has been living in Purok Lopez in Kabugwason since she was a child. She ﬁnished high school and then started a family with her common-law-husband Bernie (28). They built their house with his earnings. The couple’s ﬁrst child was born prematurely and tragically died because they did not have the money for medical care. It was a very painful experience so when Michelle got pregnant again she was determined to take the best care that she could. Her daughter Nicole, now 6, is attending a free preschool at a Christian church in Kabugwason. Michelle prepares Nicole for school every day, even on Sundays, because through this program she has begun to attend church regularly.
Bernie is a sugarcane worker earning a monthly salary of 3,000 pesos ($65); he also does construction jobs that pay 120 pesos a day when there is no work in the ﬁelds. As for Michelle, she does her aunt’s laundry for which she gets paid 300 pesos a week.
Michelle has often dreamed of having a small business of her own to earn some extra income so when she heard we were holding an orientation in her village, she came along. She was excited to learn that she could avail of a loan to give her some working capital to start a small business selling native snacks. She is keen to cook native snacks such as caramelized banana cue, sweet potatoes, Filipino pancit noodles or bihon and other native delicacies. She plans to cook these after lunch when Nicole is in school, carry them in a basket, and sell them in her neighborhood, at the preschool and in the sugarcane ﬁeld where Bernie works.
Nobody else in her neighborhood is selling home-made snacks so Michelle believes her snacks will be popular. Michelle hopes to make a net daily income of 130 pesos ($3) a day which will enable her to save some money to meet Nicole's future needs. The PSHF is happy to help Michelle start this business that will be new for her and appreciated in her neighborhood.
Lanie De Leon
Michelle (26) with her daughter, Nicole (6).