The most common question I get when it comes to expeditions with Mentors International goes something like this: “What do you actually DO when you are on an expedition?”
In this 3-part blog series, we will share the client visits, the sights, and the food to give you a look into a Mentors Expedition by sharing our most recent trip to Peru.
Our absolute favorite thing about the countries we serve in is OUR CLIENTS! Our clients are hardworking, inspiring, and a joy to be around. They have great relationships with the mentors and they have the most inspiring desire to run successful businesses. They are the reason we do what we do, and the reason we have expeditions in the first place.
While each expedition is uniquely tailored to the individuals traveling, the common thread through them all is our desire to connect with our clients. For the first half of the expedition, we visit our clients’ shops, get a tour of their farms, speak with them, and learn of their stories. If expeditioners specialize in their type of business, they are able to provide on-site mentoring and assistance that will help the business owner. By using your specialties to grow the businesses of our clients, they are receiving unique training that will help their business succeed.
Ana Lucia and her children stand outside their home and business. She started her business because when she went to go buy school supplies for her children, the prices for basic items were unjust. She decided she would start a good honest business to help others in her area by providing school supplied, copies, and calling cards. Ana Lucia recently graduated from our financial literacy program. Her daughter said, “My mom works hard for me and my brothers. I want her to succeed.” Seeing her mom work hard and achieve things has expanded her horizon to do the same. At school, she said the person that gets the highest grades in English this year gets a trip to Canada. It excites her to think that she could be the one to travel there one day!
Olga cooks wonderful meals for her clients at a government-subsidized rate. She is grateful that through Mentors Peru she has been able to purchase a blender as it has greatly helped her business. With her business, she is able to provide a university education for her daughter.
Zenon and his wife Josefina live on the top of the hill where they operate their jewelry-making business. Because of the success, they have recently seen, they have been able to expand not only their business but expand their home! As we visited, we watched as workers chipped away into the mountain for their expansion.
Rebecca owns a flower shop outside of the cemetery. Her husband, a taxi driver, takes her every morning at 4:30 am to the wholesale flower market to sell at her store. The lessons Rebecca learns from her mentors she says help her become a better entrepreneur.
Marta has a beautiful flower farm overlooking the picturesque cliffs along the coast of Huaral approximately 47 miles north of Lima. Marta speaks Quechua and as we were walking and talking with her, she stopped to share some of her native tongue, “Greetings and thank you. We are very happy. We have a good time with [you]….and are very appreciative of your help. We are very happy.”
Our clients teach so much about work ethic and determination. They will do anything for their families and their drive and sacrifice is admirable. In Peru, the traffic demands hours for commutes, but you will see our clients travelling to our office for their financial literacy graduation or for business training classes. This represents months of studying and learning to better provide for their families and for most of them, this was the first type of certificate that they have received post-high school. We commend them for their hard work and achievements!