We have now been in Peru for over a month and it has been a fantastic experience so far. Our project is moving well. In the last week, we visited quite a few cooperatives which are providing credit to farmers. Some of these cooperatives have up to 2,000 farmers and the model is working quite well. We visited some in Lama, Saposoa, Moyobamba and JuanJui. We’ve learned that it is important for a farmer cooperative to be well managed and well organized. We learned how many cooperatives have gone bankrupt due to bad management and bad coordination. We also spent some time analyzing other financial institutions and the reasoning behind why farmers cannot have access to them.

This week we also met Drew and Gustavo, our PIMCO colleagues who recently joined us in Peru, in Tarapoto. This was the first time that the full team was together, and it was a great opportunity to share ideas about the project. We went to Moyobamba together with the TechnoServe team to meet some coffee and cocoa farmers.

Nicole and I had the great opportunity to go to Cusco, Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu on the weekend. It was short but an unbelievable experience to see one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Cusco, capital of the Inca Empire, has a lot of charm but is also very touristy. The weather was cold (between 5 and 15 degree Celsius) compared to the 35 degree weather in Tarapoto. We learned about the history of the Spanish colonization and the Inca people.

I took advantage of Cusco altitude (3,500m or 10,000 feet) to do my jogging and run to an altitude of 4,000m (12,000 feet).

We have been in Tarapoto for three weeks and we are getting quite used to the Amazonian food and slower pace of life. Except for the noise from the “moto taxi,” we are starting to like Tarapoto. The weather is hot and humid but sunny most of the time. Next week we are back in Lima.

The Volunteer

Alain Mandy

SVP, Shareholder Services & Funds Administration

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