: Colombia -
: Services
: $225
: Opportunity International

Eduardo Melendez Almanza lives in the small town of Gameiro an hour outside of Cartagena. Just four years ago, this town endured guerrilla and paramilitary violence. Many people fled the town but Eduardo has never for a moment considered leaving his home. He has spent his whole life in Gameiro raising his family, and now he runs two businesses out of his home.

As a dental mechanic, he works with porcelain to make molds and actual teeth for clients in his community. He studied at the University of Cartagena for 3 years and has managed this business for the past 16 years. His weekly sales amount to 1,200,000 pesos.

Loans from Opportunity have helped him maintain this dental business and also initiate a small variety store. In his seventh loan with Opportunity he is requesting 400,000 pesos to buy raw material for teeth impressions and a plaster material to make teeth.

Through these businesses he is able to provide for his family. Eduardo has two sons who he hopes to enlist in the Colombian army: Luis Antonio, 18, and Luis Eduardo, 3. He also has big dreams for his only daughter Julieta Carolina, 11, who wants to be a lawyer.

Tue, 2011-11-08

The rainy season in Cartagena has made doing business difficult for Opportunity clients in Cartagena. When it rains for several days in a row, the dirt streets in the small towns turn to mud. This complicates the transportation, electricity, and running water facilities.

Three weeks ago a bridge that connects to Eduardo´s town, Gameiro, collapsed due to the rain. In addition, his cell phone is out of service. This made it difficult to get in touch with Eduardo. However, his loan officer reports that his business is going well despite the low season in Cartagena.

Eduardo also has a Home Improvement loan with Opportunity International to provide a cement floor and bathroom to his house. He manages both of these loans responsibly so that even when business is low, he is always able to pay back his loan. Despite the problems, his town has encountered, he has continued to make his loan payments each week.