On Friday, Parker and I boarded a plane and flew out to Lima, our time in the field complete. I can’t believe that the two months are almost over! Next week we will put the finishing touches on our presentations and meet with USAID and Agrobanco to present our findings. In both cases, we found that the farmer financing programs TechnoServe has helped sponsor have been effective, however we were able to find a number of tweaks to further reduce risks and allow for their continued expansion.

The majority of our last week in Tarapoto was spent working in the office, putting together our presentation and discussing our final conclusions. Like in Tingo María, our TechnoServe officemates have been enormously welcoming, showing us around town and giving the local color that I’m sure the few tourists that come here miss.

Speaking of being tourists, after landing in Lima, Parker and I had an opportunity to explore the city over the weekend. Lima is a fascinating city, about 30% of the country’s population live here, and the various districts vary wildly from a socioeconomic standpoint.

I spent the two days walking though the Miraflores and downtown districts, visiting museums and landmarks, learning about the history of the city. A highlight was the ruins of Huaca Pucllana, a large pyramid located in the middle of the city; this was largely used for religious regions, including human sacrifice.

Since we can’t get enough of chocolate, Parker and I also took the opportunity to take a chocolate making class, where we were able to take cacao beans and turn them into chocolate bars. While we’ve become experts at farmer financing, it was really interesting to learn more about the second half of the process, transforming the beans into delicious dark chocolate. My favorite was a chili/coffee flavor that I made; while it might not have looked like a perfect candy from a store, it was delicious!

The Volunteer

Eric Gross

Associate, Client Facing

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