Yvrose, Right after Graduation

Yvrose graduated from the CLM program at the end of January. In December, when she was evaluated for graduation, she had accumulated 82,000 gourds of wealth, over $630. That is a lot for a woman who had reported owning nothing less than 18 months earlier.

When she joined the program, she, her husband Jean Gaby, and their three kids had been living in the kitchen of a church that had been built on her family’s land. Seeing her situation, the church’s pastor eventually threw up a shack for the family, built of old roofing tin and wooden planks that no one wanted.

Her case manager, Figaro, told her that she’d have to have a dry, secure home to graduate from the program and that the program would help her. She answered that there was no way that she and her husband would be able to do so, even with CLM’s help. She now looks back at Figaro’s response with a smile. “What do you want me to do?” she says he asked, “Kick you out of the program because you can’t build a house?”

“If you start, you’ll finish,” he added. “Just start.”

Figaro was right. Few families have succeeded more dramatically in their effort to build a new home than Yvrose and Jean Gaby did. Typical CLM members’ homes are two rooms, built of palm wood planks or rocks and dirt, but Yvrose now has a solid three-room home of cinder blocks. Jean Gaby brought down the cost somewhat by collected the sand they’d need to make the blocks for construction from the local riverbed, bucket by bucket. But the home still required a lot of expense. It involved taking out and then repaying three loans from her savings and loan association, worth a total of 45,000 gourds in all.

The results of her efforts are clear for anyone to see.

The new house on the left, the old one on the right.

But 45,000 gourds was a lot of money to borrow and repay, and Yvrose had to start generating income to repay those loans. The CLM team gave her two goats and a small package of poultry, and she succeeded to a degree with both, but neither would help her manage those construction costs or, for that matter, her family’s daily expenses.

So she also borrowed money from her savings and loan association for commerce. She took a loan of 15,000 gourds — about $115 — and started buying plantains and other produce from farmers and others bringing them to market. Her home is right along an important dirt road that leads to downtown Laskawobas from farming areas to the east and south. She would just wait for sellers to pass by. Many were happy for the chance to sell to her. They carry their merchandise to market themselves, balancing it on the head, and are happy if they can get rid of their load early.

She would sell the produce to wholesalers, who would bring it for sale to Pòtoprens. “I try to avoid having to bring it to Laskawobas myself, too, so I won’t have to pay a motorcycle.” She waits for buyers coming up the road just as she waits for sellers coming down it. She makes her money by being in a good spot and by negotiating prices skillfully.

But the unrest in Haiti has made it almost impossible for buyers to reach her from Pòtoprens. She had to give up that business.

Fortunately, she had another option prepared. The CLM team tested a new kind of training workshop for her group, and Yvrose was excited to participate. She learned to make different snack foods out of plantains, peanuts, and coconut and to package them for sale. It is a way to make higher-mark-up items out of commonly available ingredients, and it can be more profitable than mere trading is. By then, Yvrose had built her business capital up to 30,000 gourds, and she put all that money into her new snack business. The business is now growing. Her products are popular. More and more people hear about it. They come to her home to buy.

And Yvrose has a plan for her next steps. She wants to add another room to her house to give her children more space, and she wants to build up her assets though investments in livestock so they she and Jean Gaby can buy more land.

Yvrose and Jean Gaby

1 thought on “Yvrose, Right after Graduation

  1. Anne

    Sounds like a real success story — especially in terms of “never giving up” and creativity in solving each new problem. On the other hand, did she really pay back all her loans at this point — i.e., is she debt free? Would love to know or to know how much she still owes.
    Very nice story either way.

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