After my second full week in Tingo María, I finally felt like a full-time employee and resident of the city. I have met a couple of the local business
owners, and have become friends with several of the locals. One of the people I met is Ronaldo, who is the local bike store owner. Every day, as I pass by
his store on my way to the TechnoServe offices, we give eachother a friendly wave and a smile, often sharing a couple of highlights from our weekends or
discussing his favorite places to buy coffee.
Eric and I logged another week of hard work in the books, as we met with representatives from Agrobank (a local bank that gives credit to producers) and
Alto Huallaga (a cooperative), and scheduled interviews with several farmers in the region to analyze the current financing model. After our first few
interviews, a particular problem that seems to consistenly come up is that farmers are using the proceeds from the loan for personal uses rather than for
investing in inputs, such as fertilizer. This is an area that our project will likely focus on and attempt to address.
As for the weekend, Eric and I hiked to a couple of other beautiful waterfalls in the local national park. The two main highlights from the outing, besides
the incredible landscape and time spent with the locals, were: 1) After hiking two hours into the jungle, we came upon a house, where a family lives. They
were incredibly kind and gave us a couple of fresh oranges to enjoy on our hike up to one of the waterfalls. Whenever this family needs anything from the
town (a couple of times a week), they make the two hour steep climb back to the road. 2) I saw more insects on Sunday than I see in two months combined in
Newport Beach. The insects ranged from big, colorful butterflies to persistent mosquitoes. I only partially succeded in not getting bit, and the adventure
would have been worth several more.