Arnulfo Lopez has lived his whole life in the agriculture region of Huehuetenango, Guatemala. He is a strong, dedicated, and hard-working farmer. His father was a farmer, as was his father, and so on. It is all they have ever known. Education was never a priority for his family growing up. They couldn’t afford the fees, and they needed the children to help run the family farm. Working alongside his father, Arnulfo learned the skills of cultivation and harvesting produce. After several years of working with his father, he inherited a plot of land of his own.
Arnulfo and his wife Lilian began to grow cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower. As they were able to sell their products and save some money, they started buying cattle, which they raised to sell. Little by little they were able to move forward in life. Often their business felt stagnant because of all their expenses and the loss of crops due to weather conditions. Arnulfo was concerned that it was too difficult to provide for his family’s education, food, and shelter. He was looking for a solution to his difficult circumstances when he met Mentors Guatemala.
Arnulfo was surprised with how much he and Lilian learned from their mentors. They were finally learning the financial skills to run a successful business. With their first loan of about $525 USD, Arnulfo invested in his crops and began to save their income so that they could purchase more land.
Among Arnulfo’s business plans for growth, was to plant and harvest a greater variety of vegetables and to have Lilian plant flowers. As their family business moved forward, Arnulfo was able to purchase a truck to carry his vegetables, and he has become known for his variety of produce. Lilian sows, cuts and sells the flowers at the market. Their business continues to grow and they have hired employees to help in the harvest and the planting of produce and flowers. Arnulfo has a new goal of adding fruit to his variety of produce.
He recently received another loan from Mentors Guatemala in the amount of $1,500 USD. He invested in an irrigation system and new tires for his truck. Arnulfo and Lilian have been very disciplined with their savings and have gone from an adobe house (straw, brick, mud and a metal sheet for a door) to a blockhouse in which they are more comfortable. Arnulfo is still saving for another house, one in the center of the city where his children will have more access to education and employment.
He and Lilian’s children are Rene, 21, currently living in the United States, Lidia, 19, graduated and working as a nurse, Morelia, 17, currently studying eleventh grade, and Franklin, 11, who is in the fifth grade. Arnulfo says that the help of Mentors Guatemala has had a strong impact on his business and personal life, but most importantly his family life. He and Lilian have been able to give their children opportunities they did not have themselves.