By Ellen Willems, KF13, Ecuador
Riding a bus in Guayaquil can be pretty crazy, even scary sometimes. Cars, buses, motorcycles, bicycles, pedestrians, everybody fights for his place in the street. And on top of that the buses fight for passengers.
The bus drivers don’t own the buses; they pay about $100/day to use them. The driver’s income depends on the number of passengers he picks up, so when two buses of the same line meet, the race is on and the already pretty crazy bus ride turns into a scary roller coaster ride.
Every second counts. To safe time the driver forces new passengers to run along with the bus and jump on. The same for the ones getting off, he never fully stops the bus anymore. Zigzagging from left to right, he barely avoids crashing into the other cars and buses. Furiously honking his horn he scares away people, dogs and anyone else who happens to be in the way. There is no time to lose, if he does not keep up with the race he will lose the passengers, their $.25 and his much needed income.'
These are the buses the loan officers at D-MIRO take every day to go and visit their clients. Most of their clients live in poor, marginalized areas with a high delinquency rate. The loan officers avoid taking a car or a motorcycle into these areas out of fear of being robbed. They prefer to take a bus to the neighborhoods and conduct the client visits on foot carrying only a pen and a piece of paper.
The loan officers have to choose between the risk of having their car stolen and the fear of getting into a roller coaster bus ride.
Luckily you don’t have to make that choice to help one of Fundación D-MIRO’s hard working clients; just click here and start lending.
You want to meet Kiva borrowers and you love going on roller coaster rides? Apply for the Kiva Fellows Program here.
Posted by Ellen Willems, KF13, currently working at Fundación D-MIRO in Guayaquil.