This week was bittersweet, as it marked the end of our stint in the Emerging Enterprise Program. It’s time to head back to our desks, enjoy the AC, and
open up our imploding in-boxes. But before the fun begins, we still have our final presentations to hand in and souvenir-buying to do. I made sure to stock
up on as many of our clients’ products as possible: Nativos chocolate bon bons, Orquidea chocolate bars, and various jungle beverages. These items are my
precious cargo, as most of them are only available in Tarapoto!
On Tuesday, Abhishek and I accompanied some TechnoServe (TNS) staff members from the Washington, D.C. headquarters to several small pueblos in the Huallaga
district. It was a great chance to squeeze in another field visit during our last week, but that trip was possibly my downfall as I contracted my 2nd
intestinal parasite in Peru. The water in the maracuya juice was contaminated, and within hours, I felt stomach cramps.
Fortunately, I was able to finish my presentation slides and go through a revision with a translator. Because I made it a “one-stop shop,” any TNS client
or entrepreneur can pick it up and read through it to look for financing options. I made sure to add several diagrams on how social investment funds work,
and my translator was an excellent guinea pig to test the effectiveness and clarity of my presentation. To this date, none of these funds have reached
Tarapoto yet, and in the past two months, I have created a bridge with three of them.
I had a phenomenal time working with TNS and their clients during this program. Initially, I was worried about the entrepreneurs warming up to me and my
assistance in such a short time frame, but was completely taken aback by how welcoming they were. I’ve been whole-heartedly spoiled with chocolates, side
kisses, hugs, handshake, and beaming smiles. Each time I meet TNS clients, it’s like it’s my birthday or I’m an American Idol winner. It’s going to be an
adjustment to go back to London where the weather is gloomy and I’m just another passenger squished up against a window on the Tube, but I’ll always have
this wonderful experience to think about when I get caught in the sporadic rain without my “brolly.” Thank you, PIMCO, for organizing this wonderful
program, my managers and team for their full support, and to my readers who appreciate a good story!