Ernesto was needed in the fields to help his father plant, cultivate, and harvest their fields of corn, beans, chipilin, cauliflower, and berries. Even though Ernesto had to drop out of primary school in his third year, he looks back on his youth with gratitude towards his father. Through example and working side-by-side Ernest’s father taught him dedication, hard work, and how to master agriculture.
Due to the remote life and customs where he lives at the age of 16, Ernesto married Alejandra. They were blessed with five children. Together they cultivate the land and grow corn, beans, and chipilin. With their growing family, Ernesto needed to increase his crop yield to obtain a greater profit.
He borrowed about $65 USD from a family friend and invested it in the purchase of chipilin and pumpkin seeds. Unfortunately, because of excess rains that year his entire crop was ruined. Ernesto is an honorable man so he sought other ways to repay his friend. That was when he learned about Mentors International from a friend. Ernesto started working with our mentor Venancio.
Venancio mentored Ernesto in both financial matters and business principles. Utilizing Ernesto’s vast experience in agriculture he invested his first micro-loan of about $260 USD in seeds to plant two additional acres of chiplin and 3 acres of tomatillos. With Ernesto’s efforts and dedication, his harvest was a success. Not only did he pay back his micro-loan from Mentors International, and pay back his friend, but he had a net profit of $131 USD. Encouraged by this experience he returned to Mentors International and applied for another loan, this time for $327 USD. With this loan, he expanded his agriculture enterprise by planting more and adding broccoli to produce.
This time after paying off his load he made a profit of $262, which led to the purchase of his first acre of land.
Ernesto remembers that when he met Mentors International, he had a debt of $105 USD and no savings. Thanks to the support, training, and advice received, Ernesto no longer has personal debts and has been able to save $118 USD. This has also brought a better quality of life for the whole family, but especially for his children who have been able to continue studying in school.
Ernesto’s goal is to keep investing in the land so that one day he is completely planting on his own property and not renting. He wants to leave a legacy for his five children.
With emotion in his voice, Ernesto expressed his deep graduate and thanks to everyone involved with Mentors International, especially his mentor Venancio. For taking the time to teach him how to improve his financial situation. For making it possible for people like him and his family to get ahead and enjoy life.